Friday, June 21, 2013

How Does Your Flower Garden Grow?

 2013 Frugal Flower Gardening

My largest flower bed: approximately 3 feet wide by 25 feet long

So, I am having my annual battle with my front garden beds.

When we bought our house six years this past May we left the flower beds as they were.  The previous owners had some invasive green vine ground covering plant that grew in all four beds. (In hindsight they weren't gardeners and the vine thing kept out all other weeds-therefore the flower beds looked "good" from the road.  Plus there was little gardening maintenance that had to be done.) Since we spent the rest of the summer travelling/frantically moving stuff out of our old house we left the beds alone.  The next summer we were busy opening our business and I was 7-9 months pregnant with Katie-thus nothing happened with the flower beds.  Then for the past 3 summers I have been fighting the vine thing, weeds, poison ivy, thick shade from our giant maple trees, dogs and chickens to get some real flowers/plants in our flower beds all while being pregnant/nursing babies and my previous health issues.  Needless to say, the sad state of my flower beds is always a personal thorn in my side since I LOVE  flower gardening.

Of course this year our budget is even more limited than normal since we now have two kids with monthly orthodontist brace appointments/payments to be made.  I lucked out when I saw a friend post on facebook that she had FREE landscaping rock for anyone who was willing to haul it off.  (She had changed the rock over to mulch in her garden.)  Jason, the one man calvary unit, made two trips with his truck to bring it all home.


So, last August before my surgery I had managed to lay down leftover black plastic that was used when Jason's mom's double wide house had been moved in across the road.  While I know that black plastic can trap the water and lead to more mosquitoes the idea is to use what I already have as much as possible.  Thus we are leaving the plastic down to help keep the weeds out.  Then we will cover it with the landscaping rock.  Finally, we will try to poke holes in the plastic to help the water drain through.


I started putting the rocks down where I still had existing plants-in the case of this flower bed-only the center plants have survived.  I managed to buy 2 blue hydrangeas flower bushes at our local Aldi's for just $8.99 a plant to replace the two plants that I had planted last year that didn't survive.  (They were end of the year clearance plants that I planted just before my surgery.  They didn't have any follow-up care by the extended family-understandably....Jason and the kiddos were busy taking care of me and the babies while trying to homeschool.)  The two plants in front are both types of daffodils that voluntarily grew there by themselves.  At this point in the landscaping I had already used two bags of rocks for this 3 feet by 3 feet space.


 So, my goal is to slowly keep plugging away at just this flower bed.  The long green strip you see in front is one of those "roll out the mat and water the wild flower seeds" kits.  My sister had some of these last summer and I saw these two boxes on clearance last August.  Since I am trying to use what I had I thought I would try these out-of course the chickens have already attacked the mat. We'll see if any of these flowers actually germinate.  Unfortunately the seeds have been treated to be just annuals, but hopefully these will work until next year when I can plant some perennials.  The perspective of the above picture isn't the best, but we used two of those boxes so we have 20 feet of flower mat laid down in the front right and center of the flower bed.

In other farm news we are happy to be selling at our first farmer's market tomorrow!  The new market is located in Hopedale, Ohio in the local fire station's parking lot from 9am-12pm.  Unfortunately, we won't have any produce tomorrow since our kiddos are in a home school adaptation play of "The Taming of the Shrew"tonight, but we will have home made biscotti plus some crocheted cast iron handle pot holders by Jason's mom Debbie.

We do have the following growing in our garden for sale later this summer:


Peas growing up through plastic fencing to help hold them off the ground.

Jason's attempt at "survival gardening" using tree branches to tie his tomoto plants to instead of wire cages or sticks.

I know that Jason has way more planted than that, but you'll have to wait for weekly market updates.  My goal is to post every Friday what we will be bringing to Saturday's market.


Here's a picture of the volunteer daffodil growing off our back deck-doesn't that first bloom and the promise of more just bring a smile to your face?



These are my bright spot....I need to put more mulch over the plastic I laid down last summer, but I love my barrels.  Jason got them as an anniversary present three years ago.  This year we have a perennial ground cover plant (name unknown)-it's the bright yellow you see in the right barrel and extending over the side of the left barrel.  I just picked up some geraniums and begonias to add some color.  The two hostas plants in front have managed to survive all the "flower garden death" for the past six years.  I divided these plants from our the hostas plants at our old house and they make me so happy.  They help remind me to keep "plugging along" when I start to get down about the state of my garden.  Slow and steady will eventually win the gardening race:)

Wishing you a blessed summer solstice:)!

From the Sweetness of our flower garden to yours: Happy Gardening!

Always,

Stephanie

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1 comment:

  1. Good luck with your flower garden! I was in a similar position recently--I was pregnant three consecutive summers, so my garden turned into a big wild square of weeds. Fortunately if you can catch them before they go to seed and plant something strong that'll choke them out, it doesn't take long to repair that. Coneflowers are great for that--they have babies and are hardy, and draw bees and butterflies. Last year I had one black-eyed susan, and this year they've taken over. Perennials like those two are great for drowning out weeds. Then, when you're ready for something else, you can tug them out by the root (like weeds) and plant in something different, and it's still tight enough weeds don't get much chance.

    Also, your daffodil on the right is a Stella d'Oro daylily--you can divide those and get several plants (and really they like to be divided every couple years). End-of-season clearance sales at WalMart and local greenhouses are great, too. The plants look pretty sad, but usually just need water and root space. Good luck with the field bindweed (flowering vine). My mom thought it was pretty and planted it in the backyard once, and took her years to get rid of it! Shouldn't be that long in a raised bed. Looks like it's off to a great start!

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