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.