The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

making my bed


The raised bed just outside the kitchen door was overflowing with plants, but only one kind …

I thought, do I need that much of one plant? I’m sure the previous tenant didn’t plant all those – they must have spread to take over the whole bed (in the process, strangling the bulbs that were trying to come up).

Started clearing one end – didn’t want to get rid of it all, so thought if I could get them out whole, I could replant somewhere else (though if it had spread that much in a bed, how much would it spread if unconfined?)

There was one clump of bulbs pressed tight in the corner, which I managed to extract, separate and, for lack of anywhere else, put in a pot for now. Just under that was a plastic plant label; scraped the dirt off and managed to read “white trailing Verbena”, so that gives ma a name for the main plant Digging on a bit more, I found two more plant labels that told me what used to be here – didn’t find any recognisable remains of Astibe or Cotoneaster.

There were literally dozens of small bulbs mixed in with the Verbena; I put these aside to plant in what I call the “lollipop border” around the central shrub in the front garden – found enough to make almost a complete circle of them; no idea what any of them are, but hope I’ll be able to find out in due course.

After digging down a bit I struck brick where I wasn’t expecting it, so excavated some of the soil to enable me to dig down further. There were a couple of bricks set end-on into the wall, so that they protruded into the bed (which I could have known if I’d looked at the wall properly!)

I’d found another clump of bulbs, which separated into about twenty bulbs, but the “lollipop border” was getting pretty full by this time – and I was getting a bit tired, so I thought I’d replant them in the bed. But wanted to protect them from excavations further along, so I found a few bricks and stood them up to make a wall.

Then planted the three heather and stuck the bulbs in wherever I could find a space – they’re a bit too close together, I feel, but as they came from a common clump they should be used to that!

Thought I’d done enough for one day by this point!

Next day started on the middle bit; dug that out – not easily, as the Verbena roots were extremely tangled and matted. Cleared out enough to get to another inset brick, then built another wall and planted the ? plant (she did tell me the name, but I forgot – think it begins with “p”, which probably means that it doesn’t!) and dotted the “purple peepers” around them.

Decided to leave the far end as it was; see what the Verbena do and when they do it.

I hadn’t intended to make sections – I’d planned to clear the lot and then spread the plants out along the length, but the Verbena roots and my back defeated me.

Then finally planted the pansies – 18 in all, had to cram them into two troughs, as didn’t have enough compost to spread them out more. Could have planted them in the ground, but wanted them raised a bit so I could see them easier – besides, all the ground I’d dug so far had been filled with stray bulbs, and the ground that I hadn’t yet dug was probably full of them too, which would need spreading out a bit.

So here’s the tout ensemble

More blog posts by franl155

Previous post: instant summerhouse!

Next post: bulbs mugged



It all takes time Franl155, a small bit each day and it is amazing how it comes together. If you feel it is not going right don't be afraied to chop and change your plants. As soon as you get a chance cut the grass, and you will be surprised how that helps transformed the garden.

9 Mar, 2014


Busy , busy , busy, Fran .
You´ve earned a sit down . Be careful of the back !
Looking good though , a voyage of discovery .

9 Mar, 2014


Wonderful Fran - its looking great already. I think that what you have isn't verbena but a plant popularly called Snow in Summer. It has a lot of small white flowers and is very pretty but it does spread a lot. Your verbena label was probably left over from some annual bedding verbenas. If you google Snow in Summer you can see what it does. Your purple flowers are primroses. Loved your trough of baby daffodils!

9 Mar, 2014


That looks really pretty Fran and in just the right place as well, I always think its a treat to have flowers to admire as soon as you open the kitchen door..
Its so true about the grass cutting and boy it also makes you feel good, lol, your bird population will also appreciate it and you'll soon notice them grubbing about for some tasty grubs..You have a lovely backdrop for your garden as well........

9 Mar, 2014


Thanks Johnio. The HA got the grass cut, shrubs trimmed and garden generally tidied before I moved in Last Decemnber. There's a gardener who does for some of the residents, waiting for him/her to call so they can be directed to me. I think cutting the grass would be a tad beyond me - as would using a power tool!

I didn't want to keep changing my mind with the plants, can hardly expect them to make themselves at home if I keep uprooting them and moving them. Maybe once they've settled in a bit. Besides, i'm not sure what I want to do with this space, so it'd be constant chop and change till I work that out!

Thanks Driad. My back didn't ache as much the next day as I feared it might - lol must be fitter than i thought! And I've just spent about three hours doing the front, or a bit of it - my knees ache more than anything else. to help matters along, the garden's on a slope, so I'm forever kneeling at a lopsided angle. hmm, must get it tiered, level steps, that'd make things a bit easier

9 Mar, 2014


My you've been working hard, but don't you feel satisfied when you see what you've achieved?
I'm in agreement with Stera' your plant is Snow in Summer (Cerastium)
Continue enjoying your garden :)

9 Mar, 2014


Thanks Stera and Lincs- didn''t see your posts while I was doing my previous answer.

oh, right, Stera, I'll check up on that. lol, just cos I found a label don't make it so - otherwise it would make it Cotoneaster! if Snow in Summer is invasive, it'll get moved to a trough on its own where it can't go far.

And thanks for the Primroses. I knew it began with a P! - or another letter :-)

the Narissus in the tub are two years old - shee, longest I've kept any flowering plant - that still flowered.

Thanks, Pam. I'd prefer the bed to be a bit higher - it's a bit awkard to rech while kneeling and impossible to reach eany other way. besides, it's exactly the right height to trip me up! was out one night, seeing if i could see the moon over the roof, and backed up, and the bed caught me just behind the knee, which made my legs start to fold. I suppose I could add another layer or six of bricks - once this planting's done with, at least.

The garden blends into the belt of trees and bushes that shield us from the open ground further on, so it does look as if the garden's bigger than it actually is. And feels it, too, so closed off, peaceful and private.

when I first viewed the property in September the grass was long and the shrubs overgrown - it did look scruffy, and when I moved in, it had been sorted, which improved things enormousyly - I did a befre-and-after comparison blog.

Given my eyes and my back, I don't think I'd be able to use a rotary mower, or be safe with a power one - never used either, so I'd need some supervision the first time! but if it only gets used once in a while, might as well let the gardener bring the equipment as well as the expertise! I'm not really fond of lawns - read that they're th emost labour-intensive part of a garden. Just so long as there's enough for me to stretch out on and "meditate", the rest can go to rasied beds, and might have to.

I bought some mealworms, and put a few out. they were gone next day, but the next lot I put out are still there. Maybe the locals prefer a different flavour!

9 Mar, 2014


Thanks, Waddy - lol another post that wasn't there when I was typing my previous answer!

I'vee had worse backache for far less rewarding things than this! *This* I don't mind aching for, the end result will be well worth it - lol and I'll have somewhere nice to recuperate.

Thanks for the confirmation, I'll whiz around and check out S-in-S

9 Mar, 2014


Fran, I liked the original bed :-(
Why, Brutus?

9 Mar, 2014


A lot of hard work Fran but well worth the effort, its looking good.

9 Mar, 2014


It would have been very dull if you'd left it as it was. You've done a good job Fran! Keep going and get rid of all that snow in summer, then you can make plans. It would make a lovely alpine bed! especially if you could find some small boulders to go in the top....just an idea.

9 Mar, 2014


well, Kat, I didn't think I needed that much of just one plant, especially if it only blooked for a month or two once a year.

And it was doing its best to strangle the bulbs that wree trying to come up - when I lifted them, some of the stems were almost at right angles, which is why the replanted bulbs are flopping all over the place.

And most of all, I couldn't do anything creatie with the bed as it was!!lol if i had a couple of fields, I woiudn't mind a large patch of this, but not in the space I hae.

thanks Strollerl it took me sessions over two days, but I feel good that I did it - lol "good" psychologically, not necessarily physically!

Agreed, Karen, that was another reason - what's to look at can be seen in a squre foot, not a whole bed. - dullsville!

and it's a good idea! I'd draemed of a mini landscape wiht alpines and mini conifers - not just a flat bed, but contoured with "natural" features - it'll probaboy take me some time to work out a plan, but htat's my ideal

of course, as it's totally new to me, my dreams will be unrealistic - it's only in the working out of them that I'll come down to earth, and get something more realistic. but even the dreaming will be fun

9 Mar, 2014


The dreaming is very important, and yes, a lot of fun too! I love the 'aha' moments in gardening. The realisation is always adapted to practicalities, but without the 'ah as' gardening would be much less fun! :))

10 Mar, 2014


lol indeed, Karen,

There's a miniature garden site, Two Green Thumnbs, that has *really* miniature layouts - the accessories are in three scales; 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch and "large 1-inch. Too small for me, even if I wanted a "garden", rather than a "landscape", but the plants are in scale, so I'm noting some of theirs to see if they're available over here.

I did email them to ask if they could include some "woodland" type layouts, but they're a miniature *garden* site.

when I get it properly measured, I can graph it, and work out what might go where - working on mature dimensions, so they'll be a bit spaced out at first, but sure I can fill in the gaps wtih something or other till they fill out

I can't find anything for "drwarf gardening" - ue between normal and really miniature - all I get is offers to buy garden gnomes!

10 Mar, 2014


You have been busy, Fran, so pleased you are enjoying it but not, hopefully, over doing it! Ckaren is right, it would make a lovely alpine bed. I did a old sink last year, lots of fun to do and you can often find miniature 'boulders' or pieces of slate to decorate it. Keep your eyes peeled as you explore your new area :)

10 Mar, 2014


Thanks, Gee. I'd like it better were it a bit higher, and maybe that could be sorted out, provided that the bricks or whatever weree ann't loose, in case one fell on toes!

There's a sink here, but it's on the ground, too low for me to really see unless i kneel and hunch right down, and it's stuck in a corner between the fence and paving, which don't helo, either.

I've been saving up bits to make lighter troughs - don't think hypertufa would me much lighter than stone or concrete, but maybe plastic crates with concrete "skin". got the space to practice now, just not got around to it yet.

10 Mar, 2014


Well done Fran ! Its looking good ! Don't overdo it though ! Hubby always says there's another day tomorrow and if there isn't, then it doesn't matter ! lol

15 Mar, 2014


that's a great philosophy, Rose! and makes a change from the usual "do it right now" ones.

I'm not going to touch the main beds or bigger plants yet - all the advice I've read on taking on a new garden is to wait a whole year to see what apparently dead plants will look like in their porper season, so I've only got this and the small borders to play with for now. And this is done, for now at least, and about half of the borders, so there's not much more I can do till next December. other than dream ...

16 Mar, 2014


Oh no...I couldn't do that Fran, in fact I didn't ! We moved here last May and I started doing the garden the next week! I just couldn't wait to get started ! Now it looks a picture !

18 Mar, 2014


Well done Fran, i love your enthusiasm, I had a sink a few years ago and i used Alpine plants, a couple of nice Rocks/pebbles and flat pebbles looked good, it looked really nice untill i got hooked on tropicals ;) re your sink being too low, could you not ask your soon to be gardener to raise it for you, maybe using bricks..

well done on all the work you have done, it looks great, a lovely bit of colour which my garden is lacking at the min..

18 Mar, 2014


I'm finding it hard to wait, Rose, but I do at least want to have some idea of what the smaller plants are (the larger shrubs will stay for now!)

There are some spare bricks lying about, Young Daisy, which had supported the bird bath (which I had to move cos it was half buried in the shrubbery even after the tidy-up) I'm sure I can find a few more and build a base for the sink - though whether I can move it on my own is detabable. besides, it's full of bulbs which are coming up but not starting to bud yet - I can wait a while for them to come and go, and then relocate them

During my walkabout at the Percy Thrower GC I found so many miniature conifers whose names I recognised cos they wree on my "want" list!! So now I know where I can get them when I'm ready for them - sort of wish I hadn't planted the long raised bed now, but don't want to disturb them now they're getting settled.

But I've been saving polystyrene boxes and plastic "mesh" crates to have a go at making troughs out of them; bought some ready-mix concrete (just add water and stir) which will be easier for a learner than mixing cement etc; it's just getting round to starting, and having somewhere dry to work outdoors .

lol it's also worrying about "what if i mess it up", but I'm bound to do that - that's the learning process in action *s*

18 Mar, 2014

Add a comment

Recent posts by franl155

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    22 Apr, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    28 Mar, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    16 Jul, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    28 Jan, 2014

  • Gardening with friends since
    1 Feb, 2011

  • Gardening with friends since
    22 Oct, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    9 Mar, 2012

  • Gardening with friends since
    25 Feb, 2011

  • Gardening with friends since
    25 Jun, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    29 Aug, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    22 Jun, 2011

  • Gardening with friends since
    3 Jul, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    31 Oct, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    18 Sep, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    17 Jan, 2012

  • Gardening with friends since
    14 Apr, 2011