From Balloon Juice rescue angel and general favorite Satby:
On a previous garden thread someone mentioned making a hugelkultur raised bed. The idea interested me, so I decided to try a small version of one in the front if my house where I had overgrown evergreens removed. It’s a mini-hugelkultur bed, because I don’t want a huge mound blocking the porch, but it’s doing the job so far.
Tree limbs and stick base of the bed.
The next layer of mulch, grass clippings, and leaves.
Following that a deep layer of garden soil, roughly about 200lbs and 10 cf. I probably should put more, but it was just enough to get the plants in the ground.
The anchor shrubs (2 vanilla strawberry hydrangeas and a Rose of Sharon in the middle).
Top picture is the finished bed without the top mulch of cedar chips. I finished off the bed with summer bulbs and Lewisia ground cover. The canna bulbs are in the buried peat pots so that I can find them to lift in the fall. There’s also dahlias in there, but those were too huge for the peat pots.
If it all grows I’ll send a follow-up later, hopefully with flowers 😆
[I put in the hugelkultur link; if anyone’s got other recommendations, leave a comment!]
I’m sulking, just a bit. Last Monday, the one flower bed by the front door that I’ve rescued / revived this year looked amazing. Back in late April, after I removed two trashbins full of oak leaves and winter detritus, there were four gnarly, severely pruned rose stumps, and a few sad little clumps of green where the daffodils were dying and the daylilies & columbines were just re-emerging. I put down a giant bag of dehydrated manure and another of mulch, before shifting the old (not very) ornamental trellis/screen and putting in a prettier one. Then came half a dozen dianthus, some fancy old-fashioned violets, sweet peas, and some more columbines, plus sweet alyssum, blue-white-purple pansies, and dark-blue lobelia in the white planters along the front edge…
By the start of the week, the Zepherine Drouhan roses were lush and blooming pink, and the Don Juans dark red. The columbines (Nora Barlow, Songbird Blue Jay, Winkie blue) were blooming, the mini-roses in the big pots had reemerged, and cranesbill flowers in shades of magenta were nodding over rich mounds of crenelated leaves. The achemilla had grown from a fist-sized lump to a three-foot-tall near-shrub (completely hiding the sweet peas, but that’s gardening). The alpine strawberries in their big doorstep-side pot were blossoming, and because it’s been so damp this spring, even the pansies were still adding their color accents to the mix.
So I went to take some pictures… and, of course, the quick-pic idiot-proof camera had disappeared. Much later that night, the Spousal Unit unearthed the never-very-adequate second-best backup camera. The next day it rained heavily; the day after that was taken up by (another) health scare with the 17-year-old rescue dog; and the following two days were alternately cloudy and raining.
But Saturday was another lovely day! So I got out the camera… replaced the batteries, again… and took one fuzzy practice shot before it announced OUT OF MEMORY.
I decided I’d at least take some aide-memoir shots with my cellphone (we’ve never been able to transfer pics off my phone to my extremely homebrewed laptop, for reasons). Of course, two-thirds of the rose blooms had wilted, and the plants that really ‘popped’ in every shot I framed were the various weeds and woody invasives that had taken advantage of my inattention to re-emerge.
Good thing for the blog that I have you guys sending me pictures, because I think I’ve officially given up on visual documentation.