Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Making A New Garden

If you are a gardener, as I am, you will at some point have to make a garden. I find myself all too often making gardens and like I am wont to do I usually share the news on this blog. My newest garden is in a location that has been a difficult location for me to deal with. And, even though the area is a garden in the making it may at some point become the chicken coop area. Only time will tell but in the meantime let's talk about making this particular garden. 

The area is my far back corner of my backyard. It is the northwest corner of the backyard with a western exposure under a huge hickory tree and several oaks and dogwoods. The area is very inhospitable due to the immense amount of tree roots and western exposure leaving the site open to prevailing winds all summer long. I guess that could be a benefit but in the case of this area it really is not a benefit for the plants. A shed is the eastern boundary (to your right) of this area, a privacy fence is the northern (straight ahead) boundary, to the west is a barbed wire fence where cows periodically congregate under the shade trees. The area has been a pain because I had to maneuver my lawn tractor around the shed and between some other obstacles in order to cut the grass behind the shed. Grass along side of the shed did not grow due to immense shade. I figured the only way I could really deal with the area was to make a new garden so here goes. 

Because the soil is full of tree roots digging and removing sod was not going to be an option. My only option was to get some cardboard (thanks Terrie!), cover all exposed soil, then add mulch on top of the soil. I call this the 'Lazy Gardener' method of making a new garden. I chose a shredded hardwood mulch bought in bulk from Mr. Mulch here in our town. Four and one half yards later the job was done and the area almost now look like a garden.
The plants are missing though. The soil here in my area of Tennessee is bone dry. Our fine heavy on the clay soils tend to turn into bricks once they are dry and baked by the sun. Digging in plants is not an option during the summer in Middle Tennessee. That is not to say I haven't done it in the past but only if I could water the ground. This particular area of my backyard will never be watered because it is simply too far away from the house and it just isn't worth it to me to water the area. I don't see it from the house and rarely work in this area. I don't know about you all but as I get further away from my house my gardens tend to be more wild. Do you all do that too?
So for the time being this Wannabe Garden will sit and wait until the rains return so it can become a Real Garden. I have plans for some more bottlebrush buckeyes, and native drought tolerant plants to go in this area. So far there are a few plants planted here. Above you can see the common witch hazel I planted about five years ago. It is not happy in our dry soils but still it survives. Behind the shed are some cast away plants such as 4 O'Clocks, crocosmia, verbena bonariensis, sunflowers, irises, and a hearts a burstin shrub. There are probably more plants back there too but it is an area I really don't manage. The weeds even sometimes get away from me but the mulch will sure help take care of that problem. One more area of this new garden is the rock wall. I had a lot of rocks left over from a load I had purchased from a local resident in town and did not know what to do with them. I asked the teenager, very forcefully I might add, to please make a rock wall around the new garden area. With much grumbling and complaining he accomplished the task. Now all I have to do with this new garden is wait for the rains so I can finally get to the fun stuff-planting a new garden....

in the garden....

Don't forget about checking a random give a way on this blog found here

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. Making new gardens is always exciting and fun, no matter how short or long it takes. Yours is looking GREAT.

    I'm not making any more new garden spaces as I have enough to handle these days. Summer heat and humidity have settled on us down here and I do my best to get out early to work in gardens.

    Enjoy playing in your new garden area.


  2. This is an encouraging post for me, tina because I'm now improving my backyard. Although its space is small, I have had a difficult time so far digging the roots of an invasive plant called "dokudami" out of the yard, removing some soil, so on and so forth. I've almost given up on getting rid of the plant.
    Your stepping stones look lovely! I'm planning to use some pebbles to cover the ground...
    Good luck with your new garden!

  3. Oh this gives me the itch to do something new in mine! Goodness, like I actually need another bed to weed. LOL! Great job!

  4. Everything you do turns out great, Tina. Looking forward to watching the progress.

  5. I like your "technique"! Tell the teenager he did a great job, too! I look forward to watching this space develop!

  6. I've used the cardboard (or multiple layers of newspaper) covered by mulch method many times as, as long as I'm not trying to cover Bermuda grass, I love it! Your new area, surrounded by the rock wall, looks great. I can't wait to see how it develops.

  7. It looks great Tina! Send the Jimster down here with some of that rock as I could use his skills! I try to keep my gardens within hose reach with our ever happening drought conditions. I had to resort to getting a longer hose but nothing beyond hose reach from here out....

  8. It looks good. That's how I took out the lawn in the back garden. It's not lazy, it just takes patience (and some planning). The rock wall is a nice touch.

  9. Oh boy do my wild areas get away from me. I plan to start a new garden and fix a few but most of it will wait until fall when the rains will fall again...your wannabe garden is looking the stone wall

  10. When I wanted a new bed last year, I turned my lawn over in the fall and let the snow decompose the grass. Then I added leaves & a couple bags of compost to the top ~ it's the best soil I have! I'm sure your bed will be awesome too. Hopefully we'll all get some rain soon. It's so dry here & there's smoke everywhere from the big fire burning nearby. Scary.
    Your son did a great job on the rock wall! :-)

  11. I'll be interested to see the different plants you choose for this area, Tina. I've got a few places with similar conditions--so many tree roots that nothing wants to grow there anyway. The "lazy gardener" or "lasagna gardening," as I've also heard it referred to, is my favorite method of creating a new bed--much easier than digging!

  12. Good for you to get all the cardboard and mulch it down. I find that the cardboard and mulch helps bring in the you are getting some worm castings and a bit looser soil. Love the stone wall.

  13. Awesome new garden Tina. I'm anxious to see what you put in it. I love the walk way stones. I have several ideas in the making. Only need the help of ggs.

  14. Tina, I very much like how you garden. A bit of need and a bit of want. You laid out a really nice space and appointed it well. Looking forward to what will be growing.

  15. I like this make a garden technique and use it frequently. It's one way for me to make sure the soil is deeper above that dang limestone bedrock! Love the idea of planting Bottlebrush Buckeyes there...They are such cool shrubs! gail

  16. I really like how you garden, Tina, a bit of want and a bit of need. It will be interesting to see what you plant. You carved out a really nice garden spot.

  17. You will enjoy it once it is all filled in with plants. The Jimster did a great job!! I have made a garden across the whole front of the house this year. Across the deck and the main part of the house and across the original part of the house.. I put down newspapers and hay for some of it, bags of top soil for some and a piece of plywood for some. It all worked well. Also did the front and 1 side of the garden house. Also did part of the inside of the back of the dog fence for sweet peas. Still have a bit left to plant. After waiting a bit the bits of grass left come out fairly easy and then I turned all the dirt with a pitchfork. It is still hard work for me but makes me feel sooo, sooooo good when I look at it now.

    1. So awesome Mom! I bet it all looks great and it gets you outside which is good.