|Photo taken in December 2014 after the lawn was removed, the flagstone path was laid, and the front beds were planted. I covered the entire area under the Magnolia grandiflora with mulch for lack of a better idea.|
My husband subsequently built a bench surrounding the tree to occupy some of that bare mulched space but I always thought that I'd attempt to plant at least a portion of it someday. What better time than when I'm stuck at home during a pandemic? My original thought was to replace the mulch with more creeping thyme but I couldn't really get excited about that, and then the start of the summer season isn't great for establishing thyme plugs anyway. So, when my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I suggested three half barrels - and that's just what he got me.
|In addition to the three barrels, he bought planting soil specifically made for large containers and raised beds. I played around with alternative placements for the barrels before deciding to line them up along the western edge of the mulched area.|
Thursday morning, I grabbed my face mask and made a trip to my local garden center, which reopened its doors to customers on May 1st after shutting down for over a month. I spent the entirety of a gift card given to me by a friend and more on plants to fill the barrels and got to work. In addition to the bagged soil my husband had purchased, I mixed in compost and a dry slow-release fertilizer.
|I filled one half-barrel mainly with vegetables, a second with flowers (heck, you really didn't think I was going to change my stripes completely, did you?), and the third with mostly herbs|
|This one has buttercrunch lettuce, Swiss chard, carrots and sweet alyssum. I also sowed baby carrots here.|
|The purely decorative flower barrel contains Gomphrena, Prostanthera ovatifolia 'Variegata' (aka mint bush), a Penstemon mexicali, three Scabiosa columbaria 'Flutter Rose Pink', a burgundy-flowered Pelargonium peltatum, and more sweet alyssum|
|The third barrel contains sage, three kinds of basil, and a chocolate-colored pepper plant, as well as alyssum|
I'm hoping this area will provide enough sun for these plants despite the partial shade offered by the Magnolia early in the day. At least the gopher (still here!) shouldn't be a problem. The raccoons pulled one plant during their overnight visit but they don't usually make a habit of poking around in raised planters here, and I'm hoping that'll remain the case. The peacock that popped in the week before last hasn't returned, which is good news for my new plants. However, some new visitors have made an appearance.
|The first tiny bunny showed up in the back garden this week. As long as he limited himself to the weedy yellow-flowered Cotula lineariloba and the rampant Gazanias I'm not too worried.|
|Baby doves showed up in my cutting garden yesterday but, seemingly ignored by their parents, I think their main focus is just staying alive|
We've been lucky to have milder weather than projected this past week. Forecasters are saying June is likely to be toasty but my fingers are crossed that the marine layer we've had in place most mornings this week will continue to keep our daytime temperatures on the low side. I can hope that, anyway. May your weather be more pleasant than anticipated as well. When the daily news brings nothing but sorrow and grief, we all need as much time in our gardens as we can get.
All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party