Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Gettin' Dirty With It

We gave our flowerbeds a full 365 days (plus more, since that year started at the end of November, there really wasn't much we could do outside other than shovel anyhow) to show us their stuff before deciding to work on getting rid of shrubs, trees and plants that weren't really our taste.  It was a good idea to do this, so we could see what bloomed when, what color the blooms were, and what we just couldn't stand.  The previous homeowner really liked her plants, and because she was older, probably grew to not be able to care for them like they needed. Many of the plants have been reproducing like crazy (iris, day lilies, daffodils) and others are just overgrown and need to be reeled in BIG TIME! I am all for the "natural" approach to gardening, you know - like English cottage style, if it is done well, but right now, I just want to clean things up and transplant some of what we already have back into the garden and go from there. Start from scratch, so to speak. And actually be able to see what is planted and mulch around them...

Our first nice spring day was last Saturday, and the re-landscaping mayhem began! There was a bed in the back that needed to be regraded away from the house (so that water flowed away from the foundation instead of toward it) - so this was the first project we tackled. We took all the plants out of the bed and dug up grass so that we could till, add soil and peat moss, and make it level before mulching. We decided that we would do this, and then replant.

Part of this planning involved a trip to our local garden center, Achin' Back (love the clever name!) for the first time. I like local nurseries, and have always wanted to stop by this one.  AB is family-owned small business, and their staff have been so helpful so far in our past two visits. If you're in the Chester County area, check them out!

One of the services they offer, in addition to great advice for problem areas, is landscape design. For free. We met Matt, our new friend at AB (hopefully he doesn't get tired of us and our silly questions), on our first visit and he explained that if we took pictures of our house and brought them in, he could help us to design our vision, help us select plants that would work in certain locations around our house, etc. After getting the basic idea for what we have and where we'd like to be at the end of our project (with a new patio outback and moving the front walk and front flower bed, widening and reshaping beds, etc.), Matt walked us around and showed us different plants and trees and figured out what looked best and fit with our tastes.

Here's the preliminary sketch Matt made:
And my updated color version that includes other trees, etc. that we already have and are planning to keep and use:

And so you can get an idea of what some of the plants are (and to help us remember what we ended up choosing - for now at least), I have included some pictures of the new plants/trees we're planning to plant!

What are your thoughts on our picks so far? What's your preference between the Weeping Redbud and the Snow Fountain Cherry?

Be back soon with our "in-progress" pictures.