First Flower Bed of the New Front Garden
Last week, I took a break from laying paving stones for walkways and a patio to dig and plant the first flower bed for my new front garden. This is a very small flower bed (only 6.5’ x 3.5’) to fill the space under the window between the front of the house and the front entry steps, so it did not take long to do.
Once I removed the weeds that had grown up here since the construction ended, the soil was easy to prepare. Most of this had been part of a previous flower bed (the iris bed under my old bow window) and it hadn’t been part of the excavation for the new foundation, so the soil was in good shape. I removed some stones that had landed here during construction and mixed in three buckets of compost to renew the soil. Then I let it settle for a day before adding plants.
My original intention was to recreate a version of the iris bed that was planted under the old front window. This was mostly a planting of blue Siberian irises, with some Tradescantia ‘Zwannenburg Blue’ to extend the bloom season. In this smaller space, I decided to include 3 clumps each of Siberian iris and tradescantia and to extend the season still more by adding two clumps of a blue aster (Symphyotrichum laeve ‘Bluebird’) that were not being shown to their best advantage at the back of the blue and yellow border. I also decided to lighten up the color scheme by including not only the much paler blue of these asters but also one clump of Tradescantia ‘Osprey,’ with it’s white and blue flowers. When I finally got around to doing a quick sun study of this area, however, I discovered that the back corner of the bed got less than 2 hours of sun (and this during the sunniest part of the summer), so I substituted a hosta for one of the Siberian iris clumps and put the hosta in that corner.
All the plants for this flower bed just needed to be dug up and moved from other parts of the garden – mostly from the holding area that I created for plants that were rescued from the old front flower beds before construction began. I popped them out of the ground with my garden fork, piled them in the wheelbarrow, transported them to their new location, and got them back into the ground quickly. The hosta and irises went at the back of the flower bed, closest to the house and to the front entry landing; the two asters went near the middle, and the three tradescantia were planted closest to the front, with ‘Osprey’ at the front corner closest to the walkway.
Since the plants were only out of the ground for a few minutes, I expect them to adapt to their new home quickly and easily. Tradescantia ‘Zwannenburg Blue’ has continued to bloom uninterrupted. Most of the plants are looking a little droopy, but I’m watering them every day while they settle in.
I had intended to continue calling this the ‘iris bed’, but with only two clumps of iris left in the planting, I have reconsidered. For now, I have tentatively named the flower bed the ‘blues border.’
With this flower bed done, it’s time to go back to laying paving stones.