11 April 2011

Mulch MANIA!

I love mulch. Mulch has the power to cover a multitude of gardening sins. It somehow transforms a pitifully random assortment of plants into an intentional garden design.

So yes, I need a LOT of mulch. The 12 bags you see above are just a start.

The warm weather this past weekend allowed me to get out in the yard and see just how many gardening challenges await me this spring. Did all of my new perennials winter over? What kinds of odd gaps have appeared in my gardens? Just how far have I fallen since last year's meager success?

I started by checking out the front perennial bed. You can't tell by looking at it in the above photo, but I did considerable work on this garden last year as described in this post. At this point, it appears that most everything I planted is coming up, albeit a bit slower than I'd like.

The most significant issue is the Japanese Maple, which has been limping along -- still alive, but not actually growing much in height -- for the past two years. (Look closely and you might see it, although the stake it's tied to is larger than the tree itself.) I'm a patient person but I've almost reached the end of my rope with this tree. If I don't see new growth on Mr. Maple this season, he will be replaced -- for the second time.

I raked the leaves, pulled a few weeds, and covered the area with several bags of mulch. Hopefully by the first of May, this garden will be shaping up nicely.

Next I turned my attention to the new bed behind the garage. As you can read in this post, I completely tore this bed out last year and started with new plants. It appears that every new perennial I planted is coming back and some of the spreading plants are starting to do their thing. Good news for this novice gardener!

I raked this bed, pulled a few more weeds, then covered it with mulch.

Next step for these beds: Write on my metal garden tags. It should come as no surprise that I like my plants to be labeled! Let's keep our plants organized! :)

After this weekend's work on the two beds described here (and another long one bordering the side of our house), I still have three large gardens to tackle -- and none of them is in good shape. In fact, one is due for a major overhaul. After years of falling short of my garden "vision", I'm determined to fix the issues in that particular perennial bed once and for all this year.

Mulch can only disguise so much.


Benita said...

Looks great, Janet. I need to mulch my flower beds, but I'm afraid to do it this early as I don't know what I'll have coming up since we just moved into this house in December. Is it okay to mulch overtop of things? Will they grow through the mulch okay? Do you wanna come help me garden? :)

Janet said...

lol I would love to, Benita! Believe me, I just make things up as I go along! I do think it's fine to mulch lightly over the tops of things. Plants will grow up through the mulch. It's easier to do that than try to sprinkle mulch around plants that have already taken off! On the other hand, you could probably give it until May 1 and by then you should know what's there!

It will be fun to see what you have to work with! :)

Benita said...

I'd love to have you come help, Janet :) I'm not much of a gardener.....I wanna be, but I just don't have a very green thumb :( Guess I should put some mulch down now cause we're already having some weeds pop up here & there.....that's the one thing I am good at growing, lol.