Sunday, January 19, 2014

Plans for a Neglected Bed - Part 1

The last few days I have been contemplating re-doing one of my front yard beds. It was the first flower bed I made when we bought the house. It has since become neglected and a place for plants with no real place to go.

In those 12 years I know a lot more about plant placement and have some vague ideas on combining plants in contrasting or harmonious ways. I know a great colour combo when I see one but to put it together myself is challenging - kind of like shopping for clothes; I have great difficulty telling how the garment on the hanger is going to look on me. Usually I walk away from clothes shopping early on and I am afraid that is what I have done to this poor flower bed.

Apparently I have also neglected taking photos of the garden bed as a whole and instead have taken individual floral photos. No help to you at all.



I have a great magazine from Fine Gardening titled Plant Combinations which is quite helpful in trying to see the differences in colour. For example, the green family consists of dark green, gray-green, blue-green, pure green, yellow-green, and chartreuse. The colour green is important for me because I tend to ignore it and look instead at the colour of the blooms. I have obviously been missing out on some interesting combinations with foliage alone. The magazine also has numerous photos of plant combinations in contrasting and harmonious plantings. The only criticism I have is that they use mainly annuals in their examples. I am definitely a perennial gal.

So yesterday I started looking back at old photos and in my garden journal notes to pick out approximate bloom times for the plants in that bed. Naturally I could not just stick to that garden bed and ended up writing down every plant I have, which took a lot longer, but may be quite useful down the road. I have just completed an excel sheet listing the blooms by month and have even noted in some cases early, mid or late times for each month.


source: DK - Fresh Flower Arranging © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

My idea is not to totally re-do the bed by moving everything around (I have no desire to get the pick axe out to move the peonies), but hopefully switch  some of them around and maybe take out a few that don't really work in that space and possibly replace them with something else from the garden. Otherwise I can see the $$$ adding up pretty quickly!

As it is only January I have plenty of time to overthink this plan. What else is a gardener to do in a snowy winter?




16 comments:

  1. You are a had working girl making a list of all you plants. I am sure it will be useful I only wish I could find the energy to make up one of these lists for my own garden.
    I expect we all have one beds we would like to partly redo. Just like you, I realize that the majority of my photos are of individual plants rather than groups of them. It makes it difficult to use the pictures we have to assess the bed. In my case, a few years back I started some regale lilies from seeds and put a "drift" of them in the bed I want to improve. It did not do much last year as the lilies were not well established. I hope it works better next summer.
    Good luck with your planning.

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    1. Alain, In the back of my mind I am thinking making the list is the easy part. The actual re-do, if it happens, will be the hard part.

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  2. I've been in your same spot. My litmus test for how much a bed needs improving is my lack of photos showing the whole bed, as well as a feeling of 'ick' every time I walk by. I love the spreadsheet idea. If it weren't for all my photos, I'd forget when everything bloomed.

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    1. ick sums it up Tammy. I have made attempts now and again in this bed, but it truly needs a good think and some planning.

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  3. This is a good time for planning. Now that there is less to do in the garden. I made a list of all my plants last year. It was a lot of work and I only have 63 different plants. Good luck with the new beds. Have fun.

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    1. Hi Denise, Thanks, It is the best time to plan. I know 63 does not sound like a lot of plants but when you are trying to place them in the best spot in the garden, where they will look great with other plants, it is not that easy to do.

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  4. I am with you Patty as I will be redoing many beds after I observe them for a while.

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    1. Well then I will be watching to see what plant combinations you find work well. I can use the tips!

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  5. Hello Patty girl !
    Funny enough I also have to re-think and redo my front garden bed as well .. I played around with it a few years ago and really messed up .. then I became to centered on the back garden to think of the front one .. maybe on purpose because I knew there was a lot of work to be done?
    I jumped ahead of myself and posted a partial lust list .. so here I am getting more plants and not doing the RIGHT thing by planning what on earth to do with the front bed ... BIG sigh !
    Looks like there are more than a few us "renovating" our gardens ? haha
    Joy

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    1. Hey Joy! I guess it is the time of year that makes us start planning for the spring. I try to contain myself to one bed at a time, 'tho that's not easy. The planning part is also a lot easier than the actual doing, or re-doing! BTW, some of the plants I bought last year were ordered from Cannings thanks to you - no disappointments :)

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  6. Excel spreadsheets? I admire your organization Patty! I am embarrassed to admit that I apply a much more slapdash approach to mixing colors according to bloom times. I get it wrong as often as I get it right! I shamelessly move things around all the time- although maybe not the peonies. They are not the easiest things in the world to move on a whim. I look forward to seeing how the front bed redesign goes.

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    1. I have tried the slapdash approach too Jennifer, and I am hoping this will work out better in this case. Once I can take a few photos of that bed (and who knows when that will be) I hope to be able to give a clearer picture of the plans - when I figure them out :)

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  7. Wow, you are really organized! And I love that DK wreath. What a great idea to see the color wheel in action! I'll look forward to seeing what you end up doing with that garden bed.

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    1. That wreath is really lovely isn't it! Inspiration for spring.

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  8. It is funny you said, "What else is a gardener to do in a snowy winter?" I just had a reader say my blog is becoming a bird blog and that was kinda my answer back. Not much is worth attention right now so I have to keep busy with the birds that visit. I love that wreath of flowers showing the color wheel. It is a great idea. I have all those colors in the garden, but not all blooming in the same season to make a wreath. Funny too your comparison to clothes shopping. Clothes shopping is the bane of my existence, but shopping for flowers I love. Good luck in your garden makeover. I am sure you will have it just the way you want it.

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    1. Thanks Donna, obviously we are two of a pair. I will meet you at a garden nursery any day!

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