Friday, April 29, 2011

Planting Up Herbs and Flowers

I'm still working hard in the garden every day. Yesterday I put together my two herb/flower beds. Which involved turning over the soil and mixing in compost and fertilizer. The first one is the foundation bed. It is three feet wide. I wanted to easily be able to pick the rosemary that will someday show up and be put in here. So every four feet I put in stepping stones. Three feet is too wide to reach across easily.

From left to right the bed has my climbing rose. Then three mint pots. The area around the mint pots has concrete and very shallow soil. It is where the gas lines come into the house and landscapers didn't give me much soil to work with. It is a perfect place for the mint pots. I did underplant the pots with some borage and forget-me-nots. I'm hoping they self seed in that spot.

Farther on I ran some sweet alyssum across the front of the bed. Between them I'll put some dianthus once they get bigger. But they are still only an inch tall and under my lights. In the back will be two rosemarys and then will be some sunflowers that I have to start germinating. At the end I'd like a sage plant. The sage plant is less than an inch tall so it will be a while for that one. I'm contemplating under planting the sunflowers with some cilantro. I don't think things grow all that well with sunflowers, but I'm hoping it works. Cilantro would get plenty of light and would self seed there every year.

View from my window

The next bed was the driveway bed along the fence. I wanted some pretty flowers in here as I see it from my hall. But then I remembered. That empty raised bed you see - well it will have my tomatoes this year. So the back cages will be six feet tall. I don't think I'll see a lot of those flowers from my window.

From left to right in the bed I planted a bleeding heart in the shady corner. They die back in the summer so I also planted some nasturtiums in front of it. Next is the anise hyssop that isn't here yet. Then five Cerise Queen Achillea.

Then a nice set of annual flowers. In the back are tall zinnias, in the middle is a row of cosmos. In the front are two rows of chamomile. I want them to self seed and continually come up every year. And right by the arbor I wanted a few feet of black-eyed-susans. However even though they self seed invasively all over the garden, I can't get them to germinate in my house. I tried both in the house and wintersown. This week I have one plant that just germinated. I wish I'd known how slow they were. I would have started them earlier. I might have to plant the area with extra zinnias and then pull them later.

Then I remembered one of my favorite plants that wouldn't overwinter well at my last house. Sweet Dreams coreopsis. I loved the different bees and wasps that came to that plant. The green metallic bees especially loved it. But it didn't like the heavy clay soil of my last garden. So maybe these will go there. And yes I ordered them. I hadn't seen them at any of the nurseries I visited.

Two hours later I was cleaning up and noticed my fava beans. Even though I turned over the soil a little in the bed after planting, it looks like most of them made it. They aren't as evenly spaced as before, but they weren't bad. It looks like I will get to try favas for the first time this year after all. Someone was asking about showing my netting tent. Well can you see it in that photo? I thought not. It drapes over the peas in the back and over the favas in the front. Bird netting is pretty invisible.


  1. Your gardens are really coming along. I like the idea of stepping stones in the foundation bed. I put them around in our herb bed and it makes it handy when you go there for a bit of this and that. Borage reseeds here for us, it should be popping up before long.

  2. Smart of you to put those stepping stones in. Getting in and around plants in a landscaping bed to do maintenance get's difficult when the plants are more mature. Being able to step into the bed and reach into the back areas is a big help.

    The garden beds are looking great and you have such a nice variety of flowers you are planting. I used to do a cottage style flower garden at my old homestead and don't bother here as the areas that get adequate sun are so scarce I refuse to use it for anything but the vegetable garden. I stick to the native plantings in the front area and some annuals in the front flower pots. Not nearly so pretty as yours will be but practical for my property.

  3. are the hoop houses how you get such an early harvest? i am just planting out my lettuce now, although i did have some that wintered over under all our snow.

  4. villager, borage usually reseeds itself here too so I'm hoping.

    kitsapFG, if I had to I would do that too, but I think I'd still manage to get a flower or two in. I like to draw the bees to my garden. I don't know if it really helps or not, but can't hurt.

    donna, no they can make your harvest faster, but mine is a very light one. It is designed to just keep out the insects. My lettuce isn't even under a cover. The cover you see in the above photo is for the spinach. It keeps the leaf miners from destroying the leaves.

  5. The gardens are certainly coming together for you. I love watching them! You really got lucky with those fava beans.

    I'm planting a lot of zinnias and cosmos, too. I hope I have better luck with the zinnias this year, bugs (I think earwigs) devoured them last year, and only two of the many I planted survived. Now something is turning my hollyhock leaves to lace.

  6. Your fava beans look great. It's funny how resilient seeds are. In March we planted several spinach seeds and we thought they weren't going to sprout, so I turned the soil and planted perennials in the same containers. Sure enough, the spinach came up and the perennials too. We kept the spinach, now it's growing now on our deck. It looks like your fava beans will do very well too.

  7. Your garden looks wonderful! I'm a bit dizzy from the list of plants you have in your garden:)

  8. Granny, I did get lucky with the favas. I usually don't really turn the bed over when I mix in the fertilizer. I sort of use my fork to loosen the soil and sift it. So they really didn't move all that much. I've never grown zinnias before. I love them when I see them so thought I ought to try a new flower. Especially since bees like them. I hate earwigs though. Ick. I think this first year I won't have many issues with them, but next year I will as usual.

    Jody, lol my most resilient award goes to my dill seed. It was composted two years ago. The compost was stuck in a pail to fry in the sun all last year. And this year it is sprouting like mad out of the pails. Amazing. I might just leave one pail like this with dill growing out of it.

    Random Gardener, lol I have so many plants this year. I'm a bit overwhelmed too. I have about three times the gardening space as I did last year.

  9. Daphne,

    Those fava beans will grow fast. Ours are 2= foot tall and covered in flowers, same with the peas. Looks like your harvest will be yummy.