However, today is rainy, extremely windy and cold, so I'm taking a break from working outside and can post an update. I don't even know where to start (please forgive the length of this post)....
I'm not sure if others feel an occasional panic when walking around their gardens, but I know I had one the other evening. Several of my borders have serious issues dealing with invasive plants that require the Nuclear Option: a total clearing out and Rounding-Up of the borders.
My Front Border, shown in the above photo one week ago, is one example: It has been taken over by the flagrantly-named Obedient Plant, which is anything but well-behaved. (I had the white variety for years without any issue, so I decided the pink kind, Physostegia 'Vivid', might look nice too -- and it did, but it's apparently a near-invasive cultivar, something that only now is noted on the plant tag, I noticed the other day in the plant store.)
And I thought the Obedient Plant looked so great in the Front Border that a year and a half ago I moved a couple clumps to the Pink Section of the Rainbow Border too -- great thinking! I've been re-designing the Rainbow Border to shorten the length and to mix up the colors more, but there are a couple of sections in it that also need the Nuclear Option:
|Here's the Pink Section of the Rainbow Border in late May last year.|
One more area that needs a total rejuvenation is the pond and pond gardens. First, last year the edge of the pond collapsed and we had to shore up the sides with a 6"x6" lumber frame, but now the liner is too small in the corners and leaks water there. So I ordered a new liner, which is sitting in my garage. I'll have to drain the pond, put the water lilies in a tank of water, remove the (very heavy) liner and replace it, and then re-level the edging stones -- all with the help of my long-suffering husband, because of the heavy nature of this work.
Then, the four L-shaped beds surrounding the pond will need the Nuclear Option: grass has been invading the Dianthus surrounding the edges for several years now, and it has gotten so bad that I can't even laboriously pull it out as I have done every spring for the past few years. So after the Dianthus are done blooming, I'll trim all ~150 of them back and move them to a holding area until next spring, along with the phlox. I'll dig out the declining tulips, but leave the boxwoods and roses in place, and we'll spray the grass, more than once if necessary. I'm thinking about installing metal edging around the pavers to try to keep out grass in future -- any recommendations for metal edging?
On a more positive note, the garden areas that I planned to change this year are progressing well.
First, I've moved nearly all the plants out of the old part of the North Border into the new curvy section in front of it. Then, the heavy infestation of creeping charlie will be sprayed (I assure you, we don't usually use this much Round-Up, but things are pretty desperate this year). I hope to be able to start planting the purchased evergreen trees and shrubs that are accumulating by the side of our house by the first week in May.
|The North Border last May.|
Also, the new Iris Bed that I made adjoining the Peony Border is coming along nicely. I transplanted iris clumps from the North Border and other areas, plus I purchased several new varieties. I also moved many of the Asiatic Lilies from the North border for later summer flowers, and planted some poppy plants that I purchased, plus I'll move some alliums from the Purple Section of the rainbow Border that I'm reducing in size.
I hope that there will be a good late May show here next spring when the peonies bloom.
|The new Iris Bed next to the already-existing Peony Border is coming along well.|
Finally, I'll share a few photos of things that are actually flowering this year, so that this post isn't just dreary scenes of post-Nuclear-Option beds and half-constructed new planting areas:
|Spring bulbs in front of the our addition. This has been a beautiful show this spring.|
|Orange tulips 'Ballerina' in the Orange Section of the Rainbow Border.|
|The Yellow Garden is starting to come alive with golden hues.|
|Grape hyacinths and 'Ollioules' tulips next to my east patio.|
It's a lot of work, but I've been reading a book about Giverny, Monet's garden in France (Monet's Garden by Vivian Russell), and it makes me feel fortunate in my own garden work load to read about how much work the gardeners have to do there every single year (to spectacular effect, of course).
I hope spring in your gardens is filled with lots of beautiful color (and no invasive plants...). Thanks for reading! -Beth