Wednesday, April 6, 2016

tulips hate me

I've struggled with tulips at my house, but last year I thought I finally got it right.

 They were beautiful.

I even fertilized them.

And this is what I get.
  A single flower, and a mess of foliage.
Tulips, I'm done with you.  Next year I'm trying hyacinths.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

hostas and ferns

Ever wonder what your go-to plants are when you life in the woods?  Hostas and ferns.

I have one guiding principle when it comes to my yard: if it was happy in my yard when I moved in - plant as many as you can!  Since my yard was fairly neglected before I moved in, this translates into drought tolerant natives, and southern standbys.  For example, I had one beautiful azaela when I moved in, now I have 7.  I also had a bed of miniature hostas, and a few wild wild ferns scattered about.   Enter the theme for this spring - hostas and ferns EVERYWHERE!

I have wanted to edge one section of woods for a while, and this is the spring to make it happen.  The vision is complete in my head - it's just a matter of finding time to make it happen.  My hope is a fairly naturalized look.  No formal edging, a variety of plants, spaced fairly far apart, following the natural curve of the treeline.  I started a couple of weeks ago by transplanting a few clumps of daffodils, and finally planting my Amber Gem hellebores.  Sunday, I added miniature hostas and two types of ferns, leaving room for larger hostas, more ferns, and possibly some additional hellebores.  The minature hostas are divisions of a 15+ year old hosta, so one plant became 10.  The ferns are a mix of cheap Autumn ferns & about 6 smaller, wild ferns from around my blackberry fence.

I've stolen from this minature hosta bed by the woods twice.
I'm hoping to find some new varieties to fill in the holes.

Because I had extra divisions, I took what was going to be a one area project, and doubled the scope into an area that has potential, but has been on the back burner for a while - expanding the bed along the driveway/rock wall.  I've always planned to widen this bed, and now is the time to do it.

This area looks great in the spring when the daffodils are blooming, but after they're done, there's nothing but moss.  I'm proud of the lack of ivy, but it's nice to have something to look at along the driveway when I come home.  So I sketched out what I hope to make as a swoosh-y the shape of the bed, and got to work.  The ground is not so bad on the top layer, but the clay starts about 5 inches deep, so planting was a process - breaking up the dirt, watering the hole, digging a deeper hole, mixing in soil conditioner, watering again, and finally planting.  With some supervision, I spaced out the plants and got it done.

This bed is going to be gigantic, and I probably filled in 15% of it.  I just have to decide what will do best here...probably more hostas and ferns, but maybe a balloon flower and some fall blooms.  I do know one thing, this is an area that needs some soil work, so it will get heavily mulched in preparation for whatever finds its way into the ground.  All in all, I could plant another 30 hostas this year, and still have room left over.  SOOOOOO, if you or anyone you know have hostas that need dividing, and/or a new home.....let me know & I'll do the digging!
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