Friday, October 7, 2011

Two weekends' hard labor...

and we finally have ourselves a beautiful new front bed.

Way better than the ... disaster ...

it was when we bought the house.  Yes, that is a multi-level pond (er... "mosquito breeding system") with no pumps.  And pavers are being used for pond stones.  And *retaining wall* blocks are being used for edgers.  Oh, and did you notice all the lovely heat-retaining lava stone?  Yeah.  Ugh.

So we scooped out all the rocks.  We used the pavers as pavers around back, and stacked up the retaining wall blocks for a future raised bed.  And all the other medium river rock we spread out underneath the deck in back, so we could put a chair under there in the shade.  (The lava rock?  We created a drainage area under where the gutter downspout and the AC drip line come out, so it's not mushy and we don't have to mow it!)

Then the bed looked like this:
(Do you notice the appropriate use of retaining wall blocks?)  Ahhh.... Georgia red clay.  So we rented a tiller and chunked up the clay and roots and rocks (well, we raked out the rocks, anyway).  And then we bought a cubic yard of "planter's mix soil amendment".  And tilled the bed again!

To this result:

Talk about a clean slate!

We traveled to east Atlanta to Maple Ridge Nursery and bought a Acer Palmatum "Crimson Queen" - a lace-leaf Japanese maple.  It's a high graft, and so should eventually have a nice umbrella shape to it.  We also added a Camellia sasanqua "Yuletide" and a Gardenia jasmonides "August Beauty" as the foundation shrubs.  And, finally, my grandmother's hostas, ferns, and caladiums have a home too.

I'm also planning to add some Heucheras and some Dinathus in the front, but since they're perennials they can wait until spring. ::whew::
Oh, and did you notice we also added proper edging stones??  We'll eventually extend those around to the bed on the side.  Yes, the side bed is also full of river stones... and red clay and a bunch of sickly teeny-tiny azaleas.  There's also some lovely Coreopsis and a Sweetspire (I think) - but moving all that is a project for another day.  I really need to do some thinking about what will work well on the north side of the house.

In the meantime, I'm going to sit in my living room and relax, and admire my happy plants!