Working the perimeter.

I’m really enjoying this little corner—or curve—of the patio. When we moved here, the stuff planted in this spot consisted of three or four dying arborvitaes that completely cut off the patio from the backyard. I got it from a privacy standpoint, but these things were no picnic to look at. We had all of them torn out, which left behind a perfectly decent planting bed after we finished cleaning up after the landscapers—the same guys who left all those rocks in the planting bed in the front yard. (Have I mentioned that if you hire people to do this sort of thing, you really need to watch them every minute? Because you do.)

The first year, I tried planting vegetables there. The lettuce did just fine, but the deer ate all my tomatoes. Then I switched to herbs. Those didn’t do all that well last year, so I planned to yank them out and start over. To my surprise, they came back with a vengeance—purple sage, thyme, pineapple mint and more Greek oregano than I could ever possibly use. (I’m already drying a big batch of the latter.) And the white dianthus and purple columbines came back in stunning shape. So, this year’s plan is to let everything be (although those herbs need to be reined in again), and fill in with taller plants to give the bed a little height—yellow, purple and white coneflowers. I’m also expanding the space a bit to make room for some dwarf Galliardias and see how they fare.

I have to say, it’s a much nicer view than it used to be, even if it does mean it’s a clear sightline to our chemical-happy neighbor’s yard.

Speaking of Crappy Neighbor, I’m pretty sure the one vulnerable bed of sweet woodruff is—as Billy Crystal said in Princess Bride—not dead, just mostly dead. I had one of the kids mow some of it down. And I’m kicking myself now for the hours I spent weeding the grass out of there after the spraying incident; I had a feeling I was on a fool’s errand. Ah, well. So it goes. Maybe this will give me a chance to try some new plants back there next year.

Posted on Friday, June 4th, 2010 at 7:18 pm. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

There is one comment on this post.

  1. Ilya says:

    Congrats on your new home! I would like to start with a question: is the fence chain link or pvaricy (will cast a shadow when the sun is shining)? If it’s a solid, pvaricy fence, you may want to consider other locations because your garden may not receive the 8-12 hrs of sun it will desire each day. Those fences are on the east and south sides, correct? If the layout of your yard allows it, I would consider using the north and west sides more sun.Is the 4 4 box accessible from the strawberry side in the corner garden? If it is, you should be able to access each square of the box. If not, you may want to reduce the size of the box so you can reach each square (2 foot reach from any side). Do a search on companion plants.’ There’s lots of good stuff out there. In the meantime, know that tomatoes and peppers do well together. Squash and peppers do well together also. Here are some others:Spinach: strawberryCucumbers: radish, lettuce, beans, peasPotatoes: tomato, cucumber, sunflower, green beans, peas and broad beansWhen planning and eventually planting, consider the full-growth size of the plants. Strawberries will stay low to the ground and spread, while cantelope (a vine) will go everywhere (consider growing it up a trellis of some sort). The watermelon (can also be grown up a trellis) and squash can/will grow large, as will the tomatoes. From my experience, 2-4 squares have been needed for tomato plants as well as zucchini. I hope that helps . and that I haven’t discouraged you. I remember my first year; the final plan didn’t look anything like the first one! Search this site, esp here: It has lots more detail for planning. And if you can get the book on Square Foot Gardening, it will help lots too. It has spacing charts as well as planting timeframes. Happy planning .

    Posted at December 13th, 2015 at 4:41 am

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