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The Fun Begins!

CAP Flower Bed Project — Phase 3

I would like to thank everyone who stuck with me through that last post. The rest of this will be much more fun!

So, to remind:

I got rid of all weeds, cultivated the soil, raked to even (and to turn up hidden weeds, rocks and plastic army men), then laid out my weed-blocking fabric & stapled it down.

The worst is behind me. Now I get to play with flowers! YIPPEE!!!

Heh, heh, heh — I’m gonna plant you, my pretties!

I also picked up some flowering vines to climb the lattice behind the flower bed. Last year I tried this by planting a single packet of Morning Glory seeds in a ceramic planter & setting it near the lattice in the back left corner of the bed. Then, shamefully, I pretty much ignored it.

It BLEW UP anyway, climbing not only the lattice, but up into the porch railing too. It was gawh-juss, dahling.

So, this year I decided to plant 2 packets of Morning Glory and 2 packets of Nasturtium. If all goes well, the whole front of our porch will soon be covered in climbing flora. I. Can’t. Wait.

But, of course, I don’t want to run off half-cocked. So, I got my excitement in check and created a flower layout.

(below)

The little white impatiens will actually surround the whole bed (except the back), but I would have had to climb up the stairs to get them, and I had the camera in my hand already… and, meh. I was feeling lazy.

Anyway, you can try to visualize the rest of them there now, or scroll down to the “after” shot if you’re the impatient type. (Impatient for impatiens! Ha! OK … groan.)

I kept the perennials toward the back because I plan to fill in the bed with flowering ground cover. Probably a different variety of Morning Glory. Sue me, I like ’em.

I’m also going to add different levels/focal points by strategically placing some ceramic and terra cotta planters filled with pretty annuals inside the flower bed. But more on that later…

Once I arrived upon a planting arrangement I thought would work, I started cutting holes in my weed-blocking fabric.

WHAT?!?!? AFTER YOU YELLED & YELLED AT US ABOUT WEEDS, YOU GO AND RIP APART YOUR WEED BLOCK FABRIC?!?!?

Yes. But only in the places where I need to put my plants.

To accomplish this, the manufacturer suggests using a pen knife. Again, that would have involved me stopping my digging in the dirt to dig around in a toolbox. And I don’t have all minute. So instead, I used my trusty all-purpose scissors.

Rental House Rule #4: Only grandpas and contractors always have the right tool for the job. Don’t sweat it. Improvise.

Then I began digging out appropriately sized holes to house my plants.

Tip: Keep the containers your plants come in nearby. As you remove the plants, use the now-empty containers to collect the dirt you scoop out. A handy receptacle and a simple way to pour the soil back in around the base of your plants to secure them. Plus, this trick makes hauling away/disposing of the leftover soil a breeze.

It was at about this time that the sky turned menacing. I knew I had to work fast or I’d have to quit halfway through my planting process. Oh, HELL no.

So, I don’t have the great pics I’d like  of the perennial planting or the spreading of the mulch. (To further inhibit weed-growth and to obscure the weed-blocking fabric.) But, that’s what I did. And it’s hardly brain surgery.

Just dig some holes, making sure you leave enough room around the plants’ bases to fill in with loose soil. Then take your plants out of their plastic pots & drop ’em in the holes. Next, fill the gaps with loose soil. Don’t pack the soil too tightly, but do fill it in & pat it down well enough that your plants will stay planted through strong winds/rain, etc until their roots take hold. I call it “tucking in” my plants. Gentle but secure.

Next, scatter mounds of mulch throughout the flower bed and carefully spread them around with the back side of your rake until you get an even layer that completely covers your weed-blocking fabric. If you used it. If not, you don’t have to be so meticulous about your mulch.

That sounds weird. “Are you meticulous about your mulch?” “No, I’m not a meticulous mulcher. But my mother mulches meticulously.” Hee, hee.

(What this post lacks in planting photos, it makes up for in stupid jokes.)

Tip: Mulch comes in many varieties & colors. Check out the selection at your gardening store of choice — it’s awesome. It stinks, but it’s awesome. You can get black satin mulch, red pine mulch, cedar bark mulch… the list goes on & on. Just remember to keep in mind the color palate of both your house & your flowers.

We chose a nice blond Cypress mulch. With the color of our porch, red would have been too much and black would have made it look like we were perpetually celebrating Halloween. Plus, I want the flowers to really pop, so I thought a continuation of the mellow, neutral colors of our house’s brick facing would help everything blend.

Here’s a pic of completed phase 3. I took it literally seconds before the sky opened up and dumped an insane amount of water on my newly planted flowers 🙂

If you are not expecting rain, like immediately, finish off this phase of the process by “watering in” your plants. Just soak ’em with the hose. Make sure the water gets all the way down through the root system of each plant & go ahead & soak the surrounding area for good measure.

That’s it. We’re in the home stretch now.

Here’s a closer look at the bed.

(And don’t worry about the edges of the weed-blocking fabric you see sticking out. I’ve got fancy plans for them.)

I know it still isn’t wildly impressive, but don’t lose faith now. I didn’t have time to get properly alluring photos this time. Plus, I still have a border, climbing flower vines & color bowls to add. Trust me.

Next post: Putting in flowering ground cover & installing a border!

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