To all those flower lovers out there, I warn you, turn away. This is not a post for those who dream of well cultivated, picturesque flower gardens where flowers always bloom and vases sit upon the window sill, full of the latest cuttings.
I won’t lie – I love looking at flowers, and botanical flower drawings are some of my favorites to do. However, beyond rings of marigolds around my tomato and pepper plants, I have never grown flowers that didn’t have some medicinal purpose.
The flower beds that were here when we purchased our new home are beautiful. I must give my predecessor credit, so far there has always been something in bloom, and she had a nice mix of height and colors. But some of the blooms were short lived, like all the irises that were here one day and demolished the next after a bit of rain. The remaining clumps of leaves and stalks from all the varieties of flowers is far less appealing – they’re slumped over, turning brown or are just plain ugly.
I am a vegetable gardener, that is my passion. I also enjoy growing fruit (berries, mostly – so easy!) and of course, being a master herbalist, where would I be without my dozens of herbs! That being said, over the past few weeks I have started the labor intensive project of tearing out all the flowers and ground covers, and resetting the brick borders.
Before I show you the progress I’ve made thus far, let’s look at some Before photos.
I started with the bed in the rear right of the yard, against the house, as this will be the spot I plant the garlic this fall. It took me two afternoons to weed, dig up bulbs, cut down a bush and remove the stump, and finally to reset all the bricks.
The next day I started on the main garden, which was more tedious, even without any bulbs to dig up. The plants making up the ground cover have such tight root systems, it took a long time to dig them all up.
This bed looks so much smaller than it truly is because of all the weeds and large plant bunches. When creating my diagrams for next year’s garden, I realized I have plenty of space for all of my plants. The bed is 50′ in length, and about 15′ across at it’s widest point.
I stopped working on the main bed for the next few days because my husband was working on another part of the property, and had a stone wall that we wanted to use to edge the future herb garden. He couldn’t continue his project until the stones were moved, so I made the hill a priority. I spent the next day digging up bulbs again, tearing out weeds, fending off the insane amount of ants living along the wall, and cutting a nice new edge along the grass for the stones to go.
I would say I’m about 1/3 of the way done with these beds so far, leaving a ton of work still to be done. I feel like I’m progressing quickly though, especially considering I take 30-90 minute breaks every 1-2 hours to nurse and play with my 2 month old daughter!
The tricky part is where to put all these weeds! We don’t have a designated spot for a compost pile yet, but these weeds are piling up fast!
Stay tuned for part two, where I hope to have these beds done and looking garden-ready!!