A New Side Bed

A photoAfter several weeks of pondering and puttering, I believe I’ve finished installing a new bed along the south side of the back yard. Plants are planted, irrigation is in place, and the lights are connected and softly illuminating. Aside from digging the bed itself — rather shallowly, I’m afraid, since it lies atop the laurel hedge’s roots — the most arduous task was distressing the bricks I used for edging. Since the other beds are edged with brick reclaimed from the chimney rebuild, my stock of crisp, new bricks looked horribly incongruous. Many tedious hours were spent in smoothing off corners and edges, pitting surfaces and generally wearing the new bricks down. I have to say that it worked quite well — there’s so much more warmth in a soft-cornered loaf of a brick than in a perfectly rectangular one.

The 12′ laurel hedge keeps the bed in shade except for a spot of indirect sun in the late afternoon, so plant options were somewhat limited. In back, there’s a row of ferns, sword I think, salvaged from beneath the deck. They’re not in the best condition — not sure how much of their root structure I was able to retain — and haven’t had much light for many years. I think they’ll be healthier for moving to good soil and a full day of light shade, but time will tell.

Next, a host of hostas. I’m cheap, and hostas are relatively expensive, so they’re all rather young plants of no great size, with the exception of a mass I lifted from a friend’s backyard in the course of doing some garden renovation for last weekend. It’s a bit mangled for the experience, and looks to be somewhat slug damaged, but as with the ferns I’m hopeful it will bounce back, since its size anchors the corner it’s in quite nicely. The rest of the hostas will just have to grow a bit. They’re good at that, though it will take a few years.

For short-term annual space-fillers, I’ve planted a few medium-sized coleus and small begonias here and there. It’s a bit chilly for direct-sowing these days (45° F tonight!) but I was feeling antsy, so this evening I sprinkled coleus, mimulus and impatiens seeds to be watered in by the night’s rains. I’m optimistic that enough will survive to germinate in the weeks ahead, and that by high summer I’ll have a veritable riot of growth in what has heretofore been a rather mossy, scrappy patch of lawn.

One thought on “A New Side Bed

  1. Wow. Were the hedges really a mere 12′ tall then? Heavens but they’ve grown in 3 years. I’m sad to say that the bulk of plantings in this bed failed over time… the ferns didn’t retain enough rootmass, and in the end, it proved too shady a spot for almost everything I planted. The hostas survive, and a few odd ferns, but in the main it’s a sad patch.

    Having the hedge pared back to a reasonable size should help considerably, though, both in terms of light-penetration and the ability to maintain it. When it gets as overgrown as I’ve allowed it to these past few years, the beds become fairly inaccessible, which means that they receive no love. 🙁

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