Friday, July 2, 2010

Our “garden”

Ok. So . . . I can raise kids. Keep them fed. Tend to their injuries. Teach them things. But plants? Yeah, I just kill them. But – I finally have a bit of a yard, including a small patch that is just perfect for a small garden.

My 2 older kids and I walked to a nearby Menard’s (it’s a Chicagoland Home Depot sort of place) just to see what they had – I expected super high prices which would discourage me from jumping into gardening. I was so excited to find that everything was . . . DIRT cheap. *snort*

Now – I realize that I should have done some research, figured out what the best plants and planting techniques were. But I was just in the mood to DO, so we DID.


Everything in this cart – around 10 plants, a bag of soil, a bag of rocks and a little hand shovel – all came to about $13!

Now I’ll show you my next-door neighbor’s setup, which has me GREEN with envy. *snort*



They also have a pretty hanging plant in a basket from their porch roof, and a nice little add-on patio which extends their small porch over to behind their little garden. You can see a bit of those patio blocks at the top left corner of the 1st pic above.

And now for our “before” pics:


Yucky dirt patch with old plastic lining which is no longer covered, and the straggling rocks which hung around. No idea what this looked like when it was first landscaped, this was the condition when we moved in a month ago. UGLY!


Dirt patch to the side of our small porch. This is the area where our neighbors put down pavers to extend their porch. We may or may not do the same – we really like hanging out in front on breezy evenings, but our porch is tiny.


First attempt to fill in the rockbed. I thought I might want to use this area to plant, but after pulling out the plastic, I could tell that this area wasn’t going to be great for planting. I think I’d rather make it look pretty and low, low maintenance. So I went with rocks – Western Sunset, to be exact. This is one bag’s worth – thankfully they’re only $3 a bag.


After 2 more bags worth of rocks. I want to get one more bag to fill in all the thin spots, like around the edges. I’ll likely put down a potted plant or two, copying the neighbors. And I even have an idea of what I’d like – some striking grass, like this:

Or this:

There’s a low potted plant just like this at Menards that I could go buy a couple of. I think they’d stand out really nicely against the red rocks.

Moving on! Here’s what has been planted so far, following the line where our grass meets the dirt section next to our porch. Don’t ask me what plants these are – some are Salvia, some are Zinnia, the others . . . I forget. I know, bad plant mommy!





There's some empty spaces on the left - flowers were planted but they have no blooms right now, hopefully they'll turn into something pretty soon.


So! Hopefully I won't kill them. I was smart enough to tell the kids they need to water the plants every day . . . they're eager and don't forget. I have to remind them not to drown the poor things.

I'll post updates once things begin growing . . . or not.


Aunt Snow said...

The ones with the wiry little leaves are portulaca, also called, for some unknown reason, moss roses.

They're drought tolerant once established, so if the kids forget to water once in a while you should still be OK.

Tell the kids to be sure to put the water on the soil - the roots are what's important, not the leaves!

The zinnias are a little more thirsty than the moss roses, but this isn't a bad mix. All three plants like some sun. Give them a couple of drinks of fertilizer regularly - you can get the kind of plant food that mixes with water. Be sure to get the kind that says it's for flowers - the other kind won't hurt anything, but the one for flowers has an NPK mix that will promote blooms instead of just green leaves. When the flowers fade, pinch or clip them off so the plant wants to grow more buds.

Next time you go back to the store, buy a bag of mulch - bark or even manure - and pile this on top of the soil, keeping it open around the crown of the plant. The mulch will help hold the moisture in the soil.

You can also mulch with stones, if you like the look of stones.

Good luck with them!! I hope they thrive.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I know I waste too much money by just buying what I like the looks of, but when I want it, I want it.

One thing I've learned is that when you see a great looking pot at Costco--grab it. They have the best deals and a great looking pot is perfect for a spot where nothing will grown in the ground.

Ashley said...

Aunt Snow, you're right, now I remember! The hand-written sign said portulaca but the little plastic piece stuck in the soil said moss rose, and I wondered why.

Fertilizer - good tip, I hadn't thought of that. Do I clip them at the stems or do you mean that I pull the petals out?

Is the crown of the plant where the stem meets the soil, or up where the flower starts?

Thank you!!

Ashley said...

Jenn, I'll keep an eye out for good pots. I'd like to find a nice big one for the red rocks area. And then some for inside.

Caro said...

I kill plants too! It's bad. I need like a 911-Extreme Makeover- Plant Edition in my house. I don't even have the heart to buy plants anymore because I know they'll end up dead. Sad, huh?

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