The pink garden

The raised bed is on the side of the house where the neighbors tend to see it more than I do, since it abuts their driveway.  It’s been sort of a mess over there – scraggly grass, bulb cutting garden that soon flops over, self-sown datura and more recently bronze fennel that gets out of control.  But since I installed the ‘Antony Waterer’ spirea to complement the dark pink crepe myrtle that hangs over the fence to the back yard, I’ve thought of it as the pink garden and have begun to proceed accordingly.

The spirea is now accompanied by a variety of sedums, including ‘Autumn Joy’ and ‘ Matrona.’  I’ve also planted several dahlias, my experiment this year in doing it right.  Six of the nine I planted seem to be thriving (the other three, I think, were planted too shallowly).  Otto’s Thrill, Park Princess, Fascination, Lambada and Renoir are planted here and on the edge of the sunny garden.  Here’s someone else’s picture of the latter:dahlia RenoirSo far they are just sitting there, awaiting their stakes, which of course I should have inserted at planting time, but one does what one can.

The other part of the so-called pink garden is the raised bed I put in a few years ago.  I’ve had pretty good success but it tends to get out of hand at the height of summer, particularly since I’m inclined to let self-sown plants have their way.  This year I vowed would be different:  orderly rows of vegetables, bordered by flowers that would bloom all summer.

Here’s a look at phase one, two rows of Tuscan kale (from seed smuggled in from Florence), plus arugula and lettuce, a few chives, and some self-sown potatoes that I can’t quite let go of.  Discipline is already failing…  DSC00975But the rest of the story is the scraggliness of the grass in that corner.  I had been planning for some time to lay weed block cloth and cover it with mulch, and I finally did.  In the course of this project, I also moved the edging rocks and made the garden beds just a few inches deeper.  It may seem contrary to eliminate plants (grass) for mulch, but see how much better it looks already?  Here’s the before:

DSC00976Note that the dahlias have not yet been planted, and the perennial pea vine is running wild.

Here’s the after:

DSC01003A few weeks ago I planted marigolds and zinnias along the edges of the raised bed.  The arugula is already going to seed, as is the cilantro in the whiskey barrel.  There’s a tomato in there that will take over soon.  The green pot is for the squash seedlings, if they are still alive in a few days.  Need more potting soil first.  And I’ve moved the two blue glazed ceramic pots to the mulched area with some idea of planting something in there.  A work in progress, the pink garden, but looking better and more intentional already.

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