Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, March 31, 2014

End of the Month View -- March 2014, The Bottle Tree Bed

It's time again for the End of the Month View, per Helen Johnstone's meme at her blog The Patient Gardener's Weblog. (Take a look at her post here, and don't forget to peruse the comments, where other bloggers leave links to their own EOMV posts). I actually have some changes to show this month, which I got done just barely in time for the end of the month. It's hard to get much accomplished out in the garden when it's raining so heavily. We broke records for rain in March this year, which is saying something for the PNW. I spent every dry and even dryish days (where it only sprinkled a bit) out in the garden, cutting back dead top foliage and pulling weeds. I try to stay on top of the weed pulling, basically making the entire rounds of every bed at least 3 and sometimes 4 times a year. I try to be methodical about it. If I can get to the shotweed before it seeds I am ahead of the game. I try not to overlook even the tiny ones, because tiny weeds eventually get bigger, and they make more of themselves.

Anyway, I managed to cut back and tidy all the dead foliage, and pull most of the weeds and pick up most of the debris left from our winter storms in the bottle tree bed.

On March 30, at the end of the day it looked like this.

Bottle Tree Bed, March 2014

Compare that to how it looked at the end of February, in last month's EOMV post, which you can read here.

Bottle Tree Bed in February, 2014

Tidy clumps of perennials

Mukdenia rossii 'Kurasuba' looking good, but slated to be moved to a new spot about 15 feet away in the same bed

A much tidier Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea with last year's old flower heads finally trimmed off

Emerging peonies are probably too far along for transplant, but I'm taking a shot at it anyway.  They'll survive, although it's possible they might not bloom.

Peonies that were just nosing their way out of the soil at the end of February are quite far along now.

Today, March 31, I put in a full day of work on the bed, digging up the hydrangea and all of the perennials in the bed. I then amended the bed with some lovely compost from my own compost bin.

By the end of the day on March 31, compost spread, Hydrangea and Mukdenia both moved, and Hellebore on the right has been dug and will be moved to that hole to the left of the Mukdenia

Various Verbascum phaeum grown from seed

Sheffield Pink mums and Agastache 'Golden Jubilee' dug and waiting

Hardy Geranium waiting to be divided and planted on either side of the Mukdenia, also four pots full of rocks unearthed while digging.

I've also started planting some of the perennials that I bought last year in anticipation of this project. I originally planned to do this bed renovation last fall, and collected plants all summer for that purpose. But my back had other plans, so I ended up putting it off till now. This morning I finally pulled all those plants out of my pot ghetto for an inspection. There were a couple that either didn't survive the winter in their pots, or are late risers. I haven't tossed them yet, I'll be keeping an eye on them for a bit.

Here's a list of what definitely survived:

Lamium orvala 'Silva'
Anemanthele lessoniana
Actaea 'Hillside Black Beauty'
Carex 'Banana Boat'
Amsonia hubrichtii
Paeonia ludlowii
Verbascum 'Clementine'

I have a plan for everything. The weather should be nice tomorrow too, which means that I'll be out there again hard at work. Check back when I do my End of the Month View post for April to see how it turns out.


  1. Despite the record breaking rains there you've managed to do loads Alison and the bed is looking so neat and tidy. Looking forward to seeing how that bed will shape up in the coming growing season!

  2. You are in the midst of spring! Wow...amazing to see so much out of the ground! I'm impressed by how much of your own compost you have...awesome! I also love your colorful bottle looks great in the garden.

  3. Beautiful! What is the size of your garden?

    1. Hi Phillip, Thanks! Our lot size is 1/3 of an acre.

  4. Looking great Alison, I miss read and thought you said , weeding 3 or 4 times a day, Which is believable this month !

  5. Lookin' good, Alison - and lots of hard work! Love me some reorganizing of plants....I feel the dirt beneath your nails.

  6. You go girl! Your bottle bed is looking terrific! It's great that you have a plan for everything!

  7. We're rock farmers around here, aren't we? I can't believe that I still find rocks in beds that have been dug and thoroughly picked-over several times. It's all looking so good and tidy!

  8. I can see the hours of work in the pictures, Alison. It's looking good! And here I thought I was the only one digging up mountains of rocks and pebbles with every shovel of dirt!

  9. The change is dramatic and gorgeous Alison. I'm a rock-nerd. I always have to keep the ones I unearth. Great post.

  10. Looking good. I rushed around last weekend so I has something to show,

  11. What a difference in just a few weeks Alison. I can see where all the hard work has been done.
    Don't tell anyone but I moved a peony yesterday, it's an early one and already has buds! I dug it out with a mammoth sized root ball and keeping my fingers crossed.
    We can compare what happens with our respective plants.
    I love Lamium orvala, now in its 2nd year in my garden and looks wonderful.
    Have a productive week :)

  12. Oh gosh you have been busy, and it all looks so lovely and neat. I love those pavers in the front of the bed. Those peonies look good - I just love the look of those flowers, and all the new spring growth is exciting.

  13. We've had quite a few days of rain in the last week, which is not at all a bad thing. reservoirs and lakes were looking pretty grim. I now have standing water which means a few days before I can dig any holes or pull any weeds--you are far tidier than I am at this point !

  14. You are doing what I want so much to do, but can't yet. Have fun!

  15. I love end of month/first of month views as much as I do peeks into a greenhouse views.

    Your peonies may sulk. They will be happy to find a 'forever home' as the pet people call it. I hope they bloom in spite of the move.

    You sure have lots of interesting things both planted and waiting. I saw some uncommon plants at Lowe's yesterday but just because they offer them for sale doesn't mean they thrive here. I have to research and get places ready for planting before I buy else they sit around and decline while I decide.

  16. Things are greening up! I like your bottle tree, and those peonies have an ambitious look to them!

  17. At least you can tell the difference after all your work! I look forward to seeing it develop. Good luck with the peonies..

  18. It's all looking good, you have been busy. I have never come across Mukdenia before and I am intrigued by it.
    My WordPress reader keeps dropping some of the blogs that I follow and yours hasn't appeared for a while. I'm glad that I have caught up with you.

  19. Hi Alison, I am impressed by your hard work. And your garden looks wonderful. Your spring is so much farther along than us here in Ohio. Nothing is green yet, and my peonies are just peeping red noses here! You have such a great design and love the bottle tree. So colorful. Rest your back! Sorry, won't accept by Open id credentials. Trying to see how to fix that. Kim @


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