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Monday, February 1, 2010

The Little Path to Nowhere

When our new house was landscaped, one of the main features was a large foundation bed, containing a row of hollies, some African Lily, some Indian Hawthorne and some Dwarf Yaupon.

Since we moved in, I've noticed two things -- the row of holly closest to the house just isn't doing well at all and the bed is too wide to work in without trampling all over it.

I was in bed sick this weekend, but last weekend I was able to take advantage of some nice weather and get outside to work in that foundation bed.

It didn't cost much either.  A trip to Lowe's with a vague idea of what I wanted netted me some decently priced paving stones, and since I wasn't really building a path but some literal "stepping stones" to stand on while I weeded and mulched etc, I didn't have to buy many of them.

A short hour or so, leveling and laying, and I was done...

And while I was out there in the middle of the bed, I noticed that some of the daylilies are putting out new growth.

And that's not all - I spent a few minutes trimming back the garden mums  and discovered a crown of healthy green growth underneath last year's dead stalks.

Now I just have to figure out what to do about the holly up against the house. I'm debating whether to amend the soil around the existing, sickly, plants, or to rip the whole lot out, dig bigger holes and amend the soil in them before planting new, healthy, plants.

I suppose it depends how much energy I have once I get over my cold.

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.


Kyna said...

I like your solution to the too-wide garden problem. Looks great with the stepping stones! My back porch garden is a little too wide for me to get into easily without some plant trampling, but it's raised, so I can't put stepping stones into it :(

If it was me, I'd rip the bad stuff out. I've been known to do that. I do feel some triumph when I save a sickly plant, but I'd rather have things looking better quickly :D

noel said...

wow you did that in an hours time...well come on over to my plot, i have alot of fun projects in store :)

Grower Jim said...

Hard to tell what kind of holly that is but it may get too big for under the windows anyway. Also holly likes an acid soil and with them planted that close to the foundation you're going to get some leaching of the concrete making the soil more alkaline. You'd fight a long (and probably losing) battle to keep the soil acid enough for the hollies.

Jayne said...

Haha noel -- I have plenty of projects here to keep me busy.
Grower Jim - I thought the same thing about the hollies being close to the concrete of the foundation, but the weird thing is that there are others, one in between the driveway and path to the front door, and another on the other side of the driveway, that are just as close, but are doing much better.

Kathleen Scott said...

Hi Jane, great idea to lay stepping stones. It's a nice look as well as being handy.

Hard to tell what the problem is with your holies, but if some are doing well and others aren't, the issue may be the way they're planted--either too deep, located where they get too much water, or maybe the ground isn't good beneath them. Sometimes builders push rubble up against foundations...

I'd find out what kind of hollies they are before ripping up. Do you know what kind of soil you have (pH and textural composition)? Match those two pieces of info & it may give you the answer. If they're not right for your soil type, rip 'em out.

If you do that, you might see if dwarf barbados cherry would work in that location. It's a southern Texas native that brings butterflies and has berries for birds. You'd want to make sure you got the dwark variety to stay low. Here's the Lady Bird database entry:

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Jayne,
I like your stepping stones. If that was my yard, I would have loads of perennials and some annuals in that area, as I am a plant collector, and not good at growing bushes. I have planted a few in the last couple of years, but they are plopped here and there, and not part of an attempt at landscaping. Time will tell if they grow well.

Thanks for your comments on my kitchen. I'm glad we were able to find a spot for the hoosier.

Jayne said...

Hi Sue,
Thanks for stopping by. My plan is to grow perennials and annuals around the bushes. That's why I wanted the stepping stones, so I could tend the flowers without trampling on them.