29 April, 2009

The Smile, Our Quirky Little Flower Bed

We call it "The Smile."

It's a flowerbed I started last year and never got around to finishing for lack of time and money, both of which ended up getting diverted to more pressing house projects. The bed, which is mere feet from the sidewalk, consists of two dwarf cherry trees, connected by a u-shaped band of hostas, above which float three small shrubs. During our first summer at The Box House, we focused on getting the trees and bushes established, since they'd be slow growing, but not much else. The hostas came mostly from my mom's other house.

It looks for all the world like a smiley face, and since last summer, it's been grinning at passersby.

I know it looks kinda stupid. I've caught a few weird looks and one rude comment. Last fall, just before freeze, Mom planted fistfuls of daffodil and tulip bulbs, which only emphasized the grin when they popped up this spring.

The neighborhood dogs continually pee on it. Or, I should say, the neighborhood dog owners allow their dogs to pee on the bed. It drives me crazy. Anyway, it hasn't been the yard's best feature.

Today, I finally decided I couldn't take it anymore. I dug out the rest of the bed.

I used a hose to lay out what I wanted. Then I grabbed Mom to get her opinion, only to disagree with her. She got irritated with me when it was clear I didn't really want her opinion, just validation.

She gave me the finger. Can't tell? Go on, click on the image.

Tsk. Tsk. (I told you I was going to put that picture up, Mom.)

I dug a trench all the way around the bed, approximately three inches wide. I used the refuse to build a berm, raising the middle of the bed slightly. I planted a forsythia in the middle (Home Depot, $23!), and smoothed it out with garden soil.

I didn't even bother pulling up the grass. Last year, I discovered that covering everything with thick sheets of newspaper (I used about 20 sheets) does an excellent job of smothering grass and weeds, while still allowing water to get to the roots of plants. It works just as well as weed barrier fabric. (Jenni at Thirteen Eleven has an excellent blog post on how this works in her vegetable garden.)

Then I dumped on four bags of mulch.

I know it still needs some kind of edging, but I'm actually quite happy with the results. We may need to rename this flowerbed the half-moon, but I doubt we will. Nicknames tend to stick. It's like how, in my old neighborhood, we called the Wilkes House the Wilkes House for a good twenty years after Jim Wilkes (one of my first crushes) and his family moved away.

Jim was soooo cute.


Lady Quilter said...

You are sooo lucky the flower bed turned out so nice. I didn't think you would post the picture of me and my finger. After I gave Joanne my "opinion" I left to run errands. Came home to completed bed. Perfect timing on my part actually. :)
Box Mom

Amalie said...

I think it looks great-- mulch, in my opinion, is like caulking on trim. You never realize ho unfinished it looks until you've completed that stage.

I really wanted some sort of material edging for our front flower bed, but I couldn't come up with anything affordable AND attractive, so we're sticking with a natural border of monkey grass. And then the mulch just tops it off!