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Flower garden renovation

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Flower garden renovation

Post  Kate888 on 3/13/2013, 2:16 pm

I need advice for a flower bed in my yard. It was an existing bed when we bought the house. I had no idea what I was doing with gardening then, and lots of little ones to keep me from spending much time on it. So after a few years, although it still had lovely flowers in it (daylilies, daffodils, hyacinths and more), it was also overrun with weeds. I have tried to keep it nice the last few years, but there are just too many weeds. Also, it is next to the house with a sidewalk around it and is level with the sidewalk and the plants spill out on the walk. It tends to make the walk look messy and it gets stained.

Here's what I'm wanting:

~ A new start without weeds and a way to keep the weeds down in the future. I thought of just putting down a layer of cardboard and then make a raised bed on top of it with topsoil, but don't know if that's the best way to go. (yes, I know mm would be better, keep reading)

~ A way to do this without spending a fortune. I calculated the cost to make a raised bed with cedar and filled with MM and topped with cedar mulch and it would cost nearly $200 without the plants. While that isn't really a fortune, money is tight and I can't justify that amount unless I'm getting food out of it.

~If not a raised bed, it needs to have some kind of edging. I like plants spilling down the sides fine, but don't like them on the actual walk.

The bed is about 6' deep by 14' long
Any suggestions are much appreciated!
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Re: Flower garden renovation

Post  camprn on 3/13/2013, 2:56 pm

You want to rehabilitate this perennial bed.
I have to do this too this year...

My suggestions:

Do a bit of research on the web and youtube.

Lift all the flowers and bulbs from the bed and place them on a tarp or in buckets. (see youtube about lifting).
Lift all remaining weeds and any root systems.Throw them on the compost pile.

what you have left is dirt and no plants.
DO A SOIL TEST!!

If you want to install 'edging' at the walkway, now is the time to do it. If you choose to not use an edging material, you can always use an edge cutter throughout the season, to keep things trimmed.

No need to use cardboard.

Add peat moss and a variety of composts right to the dirt, there are other things you may want to add like bone meal, dried blood, green sand, gypsum, etc. Do the research on these and others. and add if the soil test indicates it will be beneficial.

Mix it all together, Split and replant the plants you removed and add new ones... do not plant too thickly...

Mulch.

Done and enjoy.

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Re: Flower garden renovation

Post  plantoid on 3/13/2013, 3:05 pm

Before I discovered Mel's SFG ( early books ) on the several times I moved homes once I'd seen what came through and decided what I wanted to keep I marked the plant with a small cane and tied it to to the cane with a garden tie .


When the plants died down for winter I edged the flower gardens all round with 12 " long strips of 3 inch wide x 1/2 " thick tongue and grove planed stained wood hammered down in the ground to about four inches deep after using a spade to make the guide slit for the wood go into .

Then I filled the area with neat peat to a depth of about six inches and pulled the weeds out as they broke throught the surface or gave them a wipe with a weed pen that killed the plant systemically .
Most of the smaller corms bulbs and tubers also still came through and were easy to identify early on from the weeds .
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Re: Flower garden renovation

Post  quiltbea on 3/13/2013, 3:09 pm

I've got to do the same this year so I've been reading up on it. Due to health issues, I neglected my flower bed all last season and its a mess with weeds taking hold and Japanese beetles destroying my rose bushes.

As I've read, I understand the best thing to do is first remove any plants and weeds that you don't want in your bed.

Next, add layers of cardboard covered with 3-4 sheets of newspaper.
This is intended to keep down any more weeds from popping up.

On top of that you want to add compost, compost, compost, at least 3 inches of the good stuff.
Homemade is best, but toss on some different types of store-bought bags if that's all that's available.

You are supposed to be able to plant your transplants right in the compost and sow your seeds on top. The roots will eventually find their way thru the newspaper and the cardboard as it disintegrates.

When the plants come up, and the ground has warmed mulch with straw or even bagged wood chips, to keep down new weeds, keep the soil moist after rains, and generally look neat.

I think its worth a try. Anything has to better than my flower garden as it is. Ugh.
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Re: Flower garden renovation

Post  camprn on 3/13/2013, 3:17 pm

@quiltbea wrote:
I think its worth a try. Anything has to better than my flower garden as it is. Ugh.
+1

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Flower garden renovation

Post  Kate888 on 3/14/2013, 7:45 pm

Thank you to all of you for your help! I haven't decided yet exactly what I'm doing, but you've given me lots of ideas to achieve it. Very Happy
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Re: Flower garden renovation

Post  landarch on 3/15/2013, 12:59 am

Kate, I'm a landscape architect and I can help with a few things. 1) working compost into your existing soil would be beneficial. 2) a successful flower bed depends on choosing the right plants for the soil type and location. 3) even with a weed barrier, weed seeds blow into the bed throughout the season and will eventually start to grow unless a) you provide a little maintenance and pull them when needed, or b) choose a flower variety that is so aggressive or has a growth habit that makes it very difficult for weeds to compete. Keeping weeds and grasses out of a lily or iris bed can be difficult and time consuming if you don't want to take the herbicide route.

I am going to redo a flower bed at my house this spring and go with Walker's Low Catmint...it spreads to about 3' in diameter so planting about 18" from the edge of walk should keep the plants from encroaching on the walk...it rows thick enough that once established the weeds don't have a chance (bees love the flowers).
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Re: Flower garden renovation

Post  Kate888 on 3/15/2013, 8:40 am

Thanks, landarch. I do know I'll have to do some maintenance, just need a clean start. I had to look catmint up - it's pretty, looks like the Munstead lavender I had looked at. I plan to do some herbs along with the flowers. Most of the things I'll replant in my huge flower bed that needs plants, but I have a Stella D'oro Daylily I may replant there.
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Re: Flower garden renovation

Post  Kate888 on 3/15/2013, 8:41 am

camprn, I was thinking about your suggestion and wondering if I might not get a lot of weeds from seeds that fell last fall, but that are so small now that I won't get them. I have a lot of grass in there and some of it did go to seed.
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Re: Flower garden renovation

Post  camprn on 3/15/2013, 8:56 am

@Kate888 wrote:camprn, I was thinking about your suggestion and wondering if I might not get a lot of weeds from seeds that fell last fall, but that are so small now that I won't get them. I have a lot of grass in there and some of it did go to seed.
Yes this is always something that you will be up against. With my suggestion you remove everything visible (grass, weeds, roots) loosen the dirt beneath, add your amendments and then mix it with a tiller of a fork. Any seeds left in there will either be too deep to be viable or smothered when you apply the 2 inches of mulch after planting your new plants. Any of the few that do sprout up would be easily removed.
Rebuilding these types of beds is labor intensive. Maintaining it after should be relatively easy, but you will need to give it some attention.

____________________________

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http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-weeks-until-frost

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books



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