Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Flower Garden Tour, Late Winter 2018

Welcome to an exhaustive tour of my flower bed. This will show the whole garden on a cold, dreary winter day so the rocks will be visible. Progress is slowly being made to clean up the beds before Spring arrives. Common wisdom touted in garden books says to first design a bed by drawing a diagram then plant according to the map. That has been impossible for me. There are countless Rocks in my Neighborhood and yard which can't be moved.  My home is surrounded by many rock quarries.  The boulders in my front flower bed were originally hidden under the soil.  I quickly learned if I did not dig deep to discover what was below before I planted, things would die.

This is the view from my swing on the front porch.  The garden is HUGE!  It wasn't supposed to be this big but has slowly expanded.

This is the left side which backs up to the field fence and is shaded by large cedar trees.

My whole yard has hard clay soil which becomes soggy when it rains and then dries as hard as a brick.  Dragging a garden hose way up here to water is impossible since it is about 150 feet from the house.  Anything up against the fence has to be tough to survive.

So many rocks...visitors always ask where did I find so many?  My standard reply is, "Just stick a shovel in the ground and they will appear."

 At present, the hellebores are blooming and will be followed by columbines.

Moving a few feet to the right is a bed of pachysandra, yuccas, and heucheras.  

Even further to the right are more yuccas and other plants which never bloom. The shade is too deep, the ground too dry and there is not much soil around the rocks.

In front of this back fence, are more columbines and beside the rock steps, is my oldest Helleborus. It has dropped seeds and sprouted two new little plants down the side of the steps.  I am thrilled.

This next area receives a little more sunlight in the late afternoon. The iris growing here did not bloom last year. Some of the tree branches above have been trimmed to let in more sunshine so maybe they will bloom this year.  If not, they must be moved.

This is the back corner and the large post leaning toward the fence is for support since the field previously held cattle and goats.  The two big pots are a discarded metal barrel cut in half.  All last year they were used as a dumping spot to hold pulled weeds which saved me a long trip to the compost pile in the backyard. This year they have decomposed so I will be planting flowers in them.  The long log is a cedar tree we cut down and are using to hold the soil back from eroding. This time of the year there is sunlight here but as soon as the oak tree located to the right leafs out, it will be in deep shade.

These are the three stumps moved by Dustin and Reese when they were Chopping Wood.

Next is the area immediately under the big oak tree.  The forsythia is attempting to bloom but it does not get enough sunlight.  I knew that when I planted it but it filled an empty spot with very little soil between big rocks. Nothing else would live in that spot.

Easily seen in the background are the cedar trees which surround the sinkhole which Scooter believes is an entrance to a wormhole to outer space.

In front of the oak tree is an area on the to-do list.  It is impossible to mow so I plan on thining the monkey grass and continue spreading it over the whole area.  The large rock in the lower center was a Mother's day gift from my sons two years ago.  The rock was not the present, digging it up and moving it into this spot was the gift - a labor of love.

Either my boys really love me or they wanted to give me a gift that cost them no money.

Dustin, Reese, and Joshua moving the rocks on Mother's Day 2016
Sitting on one of the moved rocks.
Beside the trunk of the oak tree on the right are four rocks I brought from my flower bed at our old house when we moved.  Bill was NOT happy when I asked him to lift these rocks into the moving van. He balked and said there are plenty of rocks at our new house, why take more?  These were different I argued.  They are volcanic, full of air holes and are surprisingly lightweight (compared to the other rocks). He was not persuaded.  A rock is a rock. He moved them once but has stated he'll never move them again...we'll see.

To the right of the volcanic rocks is one last cedar tree against the fence. This begins the sunny area and also the perennial bed.

The perennial bed is in full sun so daylilies and iris love this area.  Scooter is sniffing around to see what scurried past during the night.

Two chairs sit in another corner under an arch which is a round hay bale holder.  It was left broken in half and rusting in the field by the previous homeowner so we turned it on its side to make an arch.  The smaller half of the circle was placed in the back.  Each year I try growing a different vining plant in an attempt to cover it.  I have never had any success because it is hard soil on top of rocks and is too far away to haul water.  This year I will try planting moonflowers and a new morning glory flower.

The forsythia is not blooming dramatically because it is shaded half of the day.  At least it lives without needing to be watered.

The long straight bed up against the fence is the newest addition. It was created three years ago but has made the flowerbeds too big for me to handle comfortably.  For two years I planted beans in this spot just to have something other than weeds growing. The walkway is in desperate need of mulching.  Bill cut back trees in the field that shaded this area which caused powdery mildew on my zinnias.  Last year I Searched for the Elusive Perfect Zinnia and learned they might do better with more sunshine and less shade. I bought some new zinnia seeds this past winter in hopeful anticipation of success.

Just to be clear -  Bill did not trim the trees in the field to help my zinnias grow better.  He did it to make room when the Bush Hog comes to visit.

I have perennials planted around most of the big rocks.  Sometimes it is too harsh for annuals to survive - rocks heat up, water runs off instead of soaking into the ground and this rock forms a bowl beneath the soil on the left.  There is nowhere for roots to penetrate.

Cotton Candy mint is growing in the wash tub.  Nothing kills mint.  The rock to the right of the tub looks like a tombstone to me.  Wherever I put it in the garden, it looks like someone is buried beneath so I have it sitting on top of another rock.  It has been a temptation to not paint a name and date to see if any visitors notice.  

In the very front is an area under a large, bodock thorn tree. We hate bodock trees and plan on cutting all of them down.  Bill warned me this is the next one to go so I transplanted all the flowers beneath it this past winter. The trunks take FOREVER to dry enough to burn so we (my sons) placed the ones from the last tree they cut down throughout my garden for flowerpot holders.  I want to do something creative under this tree since it is empty except for mulch. I haven't decided what it needs. 

The above despised bodock tree has grown so large it now shades this area to the right.  It has become my herb garden because it is closest to the house. Nothing grows well in the shade, but it saves me many steps at harvest time.

It bears repeating, so many rocks.

These are the feverfew plants we use for medicine.  A few did not make it through the winter and I will need to start more.  Hopefully, some seedlings will appear when the weather warms and save me a little work.  I am hard on them because I keep harvesting so many leaves.

Oregano for pizzas, spaghetti and everything else!

All of these large rocks were originally under soil but did have small edges showing.  Every Spring more rocks in the woods around our house appear because the winter rains have washed the dirt away.  I keep digging them up and moving them to my flower bed.  Every rock I add is one spot not requiring weeding.

The center of the garden is a mixture of both sun and shade.  The mess in the lower right corner is where the rocks my sons moved for me on Mother's day were located.  It was originally a pile of large boulders left by bulldozers when the house was built resulting in an eyesore.  It's going to become a flower bed FINALLY this year; at least that is my plan. I bought seeds this winter.  That was the easy part.  I know, I know.  I should STOP making more flower beds.  I can't handle what I have already but it will look so much better.  That is my excuse and I am sticking to it.

More bodock tree stumps waiting for me to do something creative.

If you are wondering which spot of the whole garden is my favorite, this is it.  I would have more weeding finished if I stopped lingering in the swing.  Perhaps Spring will arrive soon with sunshine and warmth, the calendar says it's here, but the weather thinks differently.  I keep waiting.

All links mentioned above.

Rocks in my Neighborhood
Rocks, For Sale
Chopping Wood
Scooter, Where No Dog Has Gone Before
In Search of the Elusive Perfect Zinnia
A Bush Hog Came to Visit
Feverfew, Plants to Pills

Shared with the world on Wildflower Wednesday


  1. I know - because we had rocks in our Camps Bay garden half way up Table Mountain - that it is hard work.
    But it looks so good. We had a chunk of Table Mountain big enough to lie across with a pool for the birds.

    Have you tried spring bulbs in that bowl in the rock? I am amazed at the gardens I see growing in a spoonful of sand on the mountain.

    1. Spring bulbs are something I had not thought about! It might work. They would come up in the wet Spring and then be dormant when the rain stops in the summer. Oh that sounds perfect. I have some that need to be transplanted because they are now in the shade. I will be putting them here.
      Thanks for the good idea.

  2. You do have a lot of rocks! The hay bale holder made a beautiful arch!
    Happy Easter!

  3. Wow, those are some rocks! Fun tour, you have your work cut out for you. Love your recycled arch. Your post on Scooter is so sweet.

    1. I will pass the message on to Scooter. He loves attention.

  4. When I saw these impressive pictures of your lovely and peaceful landscaped garden, my first thought was: Never ending work! And as I know, you haven´t employed a gardener, I must say , this can be spine-breaking work. Stony ground surely is a challenge. Iris, day-lilies and tulips (also the many sorts of wild tulips) are ideal for these places. And many sorts of
    spring flowers that bloom before large trees give too much shadow. Sage, rosemary and the many kinds of lavender will surely love to grow in your garden. Have you ever tried to plant
    succulents on dry sunny places?

    kinds of lavender also love

    1. Before I started reading other gardening blogs, I did not care for succulents. I had only seen one or two in other people's gardens and they weren't impressive. After I began seeing pictures of the huge variety, I became very interested. I would very much like to grow some. They are not available around here - I don't know why, but I would love to get some. I think they would like my garden.

      I would love more Spring blooms and should plant more bulbs this fall. They are so cheerful when they come up in the bitter cold.

  5. Hi Jeannie, I enjoyed seeing your different planting areas. Wow! What a lot of rocks! Here in SE Nebraska, we have lots of clay soil, and no rocks in my yard, unless we put them there from other places. Thank you for stopping by my Wildflower Wednesday post.

  6. What a wonderful garden! I had to chuckle over your husband's comments about moving your volcanic rocks. I moved rocks here too and Hubby griped even though I told him they were special rocks.

  7. Replies
    1. Thank you! It was not my plan. I kept digging up a few more feet a little at a time and it has slowly expanded. Until I took pictures and loaded them up here, I did not realize how really large it is.

  8. The rocks add so much interest to flower gardens. Nice to have those big strong helpers! heehee! You have a LOT to work on! Happy Spring!