Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hydrangeas and Peonies and Phlox, Oh My! when we last left off with our gardening adventures, we had just purchased a new hydrangea for our flower garden and moved some peonies and scoped out where we were going to put our raised beds.

Lots has happened since then. In early April, we finally built the raised bed...and by 'we' I mean: my husband and by 'built' I mean: we had Home Depot cut the wood for us and we ordered a kit to assemble them into a raised bed.

I also started some arugula, peas, basil and tomatoes in our basement around that time. I had been thinking I would just get plants that had already been started from our nursery, but since I had some seeds left over from last time, I threw all we-have-a-baby-and-therefore-we-have-no-time caution to the wind and started some seeds. It really took no time at all, so in the end I am glad I did it.

A few weeks later we headed back out to the nursery to pick out some new plants for our flower garden, to ask them about the hydrangea which wasn't doing much of anything, and to get some more soil to fill our garden bed.

Turns out, you can buy compost in bulk from the nursery, so we ordered some up and waited for it to be delivered. In the meantime, we headed home and put down sheets of newspaper in the bottom of the raised bed and covered it with our own compost pile. The compost wasn't fully turned into 'gold' but it was pretty close and according to This Old House magazine it is perfectly acceptable to use it as a base for a raised bed.

Can you believe that in just a few short, not to mention COLD, months all of our leaves and grass clippings and food waste and diapers* turned into compost? So crazy!!

We also took some time to plant our new items in the garden. The goal was to round out the garden a bit. Half of it gets full sun and half of it is shaded by the cherry tree, so we looked to find some shade-loving plants for the one side, and transplanted the sun-loving plants to where the sun actually shines. Our other goal was to have something in bloom through the whole summer, so we found a variety of plants in a variety of heights that will hopefully give us a variety of bloom time.

I am hoping that this Phlox will eventually grow over the rocks of the raised bed and be a good ground cover:

It is nice to see that we didn't kill off these plants like we did last year. Pruning tip: don't prune this plant all the way back in the fall...instead, prune the dead areas and let it go through the winter. I was a doubter, but they are so beautiful and healthy this year all because we didn't cut them all the way back in the Fall! Yay!!

The cherry tree is always so pretty in full bloom:

----- we are almost a month after all the planting featured above and as you will see our garden is doing pretty well. Sadly though, the original hydrangea we purchased didn't do so well, re: it didn't even get a single leaf, (I'm pretty sure we were slackers at watering it) so we went back to the nursery the other day and they were kind enough to give us a new one. We moved the original one near the house in one last attempt to get it to grow, but we're not holding our breath.

Here's where we planted the new can barely see it behind the OUTRAGEOUSLY HUGE lily!! I seriously need to divide that lily before it gets too big for its own good:

And our arugula and peas are coming up in the raised bed:

In the foreground on the right you can see the peas I started...they didn't survive once transplanted. Next to them are the peas I sowed directly in the ground and they are doing great!! Who knew?

Our peonies look like they're about to burst!! Although I have a sneaky suspicion that the Coriopsus that is ginormous is actually cutting out sunlight from the middle peony plant and that's why it is smaller this year.

And here's a shot of the flower bed with some of the newer things we planted starting to bloom:

Up front and center is a cone flower, the blooming red and white plants are Columbines:

Red Columbine:

And white columbine:

This is a Speedwell and will eventually grow tall, slender, fuchia spikes that will hopefully attract butterflies in the summer:

A view of our new hydrangea from up can also see from this picture that our transplanted Peonies aren't doing so awesome...but I have high hopes for them for next year:

And an overview of the whole garden. Oh how I LOVE sitting outside under the canopy of the cherry tree in the evening with our cafe lights on and enjoying a glass of wine. I will have to make sure I get to do that sometime this year as it isn't possible to do that with a baby. Sigh.

Fascinating stuff, I know. I will be sure to take pictures and keep track of the tomatoes and basil that are still in my basement under lights. I hope to transplant them in the next few weeks.

How are your spring plantings going? Please link to your gardens in the comments; I would love to check them out!
* just the pee diapers...not the poo ones


  1. Wow! That garden looks great! For us, hydrangeas are really sensitive the first year they are moved. We moved ours to a different area of the garden two years ago, and it didn't flower last year at all. This year, it's thriving.

    The only thing you can do is SOAK that plant. We water ours for a good 20-30 seconds, but I am in Louisiana and it's hot/humid down here. You might need less water.

    Just letting you know don't be discouraged if your hydrangea doesn't go nuts this year! :)

  2. You and D need to come over and rescue our garden stat. I can't believe how gorgeous your landscaping is, and how well your flowers are doing. Our front yard looks crazy.

  3. i am OHSO jealous!
    My garden is barely getting by (but we're also poor, renting, and started late)

    also: you can compost diapers? the disposable kind? I was totally unaware.

  4. Love your garden!!! It looks wonderful. Here are two pictures from mine. The first are tulips that I planted as bulbs last fall and came up nicely around my treee!/photo.php?pid=34191394&id=31404982&fbid=584548059155

    The second is of the window boxes I just planted this weekend. They get TONS of sun and the only thing that I have found that survives are gerbera daisies...This year I planted minis instead of full size and I think they look just as nice at about half the price.!/photo.php?pid=34291182&id=31404982&fbid=587790092095

    I've got hostas that are taking over the world in my back yard and I may transplant the big evergreen bushes to the back yard and put the hostas out front...any thoughts? Do y'all have hostas in the north east?

    Happy Growing!

  5. Katie - you can compost gDiapers which are a hybrid with a cloth outer and a flushable/compostable liner. I wrote about them here if you want more information.

  6. You should totally sit outside in the evenings with your hubby and just bring out the monitor. Adam and I do that all the time!
    Your garden looks awesome!!! Jealous:)

  7. WOW!!!!!!! I looks awesome. You must have the prettiest house on the block :)

  8. Hey Miriam,
    It's so great to see the progress. Things look fantastic! You can thin some of those lilies for your other garden bed. Dahlis make a nice filler to fill the void between other perennials blooming. I love your peonies! Hydrangeas can be finicky. I had one on the side of the house that I dugg up and moved. It didn't grow back along the old stems like it normally does but had all new growth from the base the following year.

    Peas need to be directly seeded into the ground as you learned. If you don't have time, just throw the seeds in the bed. I have found that everything will take its course and wonder if it's worth starting early indoors.