And Work in the Garden Too

(I wrote the post last fall, right before we left for our trip to the US which is why I over looked publishing it.  But now I have updated it with spring pics too.  So it is a ‘before and after’)


It has been a busy month.  The garden suffered during the storm, losing 1 big cypress and 1 olive tree.  Dinah and Allen had given me a Crepe Myrtle for my birthday but I had not bought it before the storm, preferring to  wait and buy one in bloom so I could be sure of the color.  And then I wanted to wait for the heat of the summer to be over before  putting it in the ground.  Finally, Richard had some time so he and his roto-tiller agreed to come over and help me expand the flower beds and get a few plants in the ground.



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Before we started.  The crepe myrtle is about in the center of the picture still in its pot.



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This visitor didn’t mind that the garden was a mess.


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Richard, hard at work.  This is the new part of the garden, which is now much sunnier.  He tilled it up and we planted the crepe myrtle (far right) and the butterfly bush, moved the big pots which are for vegetable growing over.  (They were in the middle of a grassy area.  Here,  Costantino does not have to cut around them and I don’t have to drag the hose to them.)  


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This bed by the door was crowded with iris.  Very few of which bloomed.  We dug them all up and Richard tilled this bed too.   Soon it will get Spring bulbs.  (We all know how I love those daffodils)  Next summer it will have free standing pots with annuals in them.


Below is the new, expanded bed.



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Hydrangeas in the ground, out from the tree and grouped together. 


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Here’s where the iris moved to.  I have covered them with bird netting to protect them from chicken scratches.    I would really like to put something in the side of the bank to stop erosion, like liriope or mondo grass or something.  But it is hard to find those plants and when I do they are just too expensive for me to buy the 15 or 20 that I would need.  Daylilies are available but again, very expensive, 10 to 15 Euros a pot. 


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The improved bed by the door.  See the pots hanging on the house…


The overall look is not that dramatically different but now everything that needs to be in the ground is.  And the ground is good shape for next Spring when planting begins again.


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A positive note.  These impatients were the ones in the pots hanging on the side of the house (see photo above, different plants in there now)  when the storm hit.  They were pretty much reduced to naked stalks with two or three leaves.  They have made quite a comeback haven’t they? 


The Update:  What it looks like this spring


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This spring the garden has ended up with a purple/blue/yellow theme to it.  I think that will change for summer to reds/pinks/oranges. 


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I’m irritated about the daffodils.  Not how they were planted (you did a fine job, Thane) but the color they turned out to be.  I really don’t think I bought normal, plain yellow ones.  I really like variety and thought I had bought variety not normal…..  Oh well, there will be room in the bed on the right this fall to add some variety.  Where the empty black pots are these…


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hosta are going.  I was so tickled to find these as bare root starts at Lidl (a grocery store).  Generally hosta are hard to find and expensive.  These were 1.29 Euro for 2 roots and some packs had 3 in them so for less than $8 I have all of these.  They will fill that space  nicely and return year after year and eventually I can divide them. 


The blue blooming plant is a Lithodora.  You’ll have to look it up online if you want.  I had never seen it before.  It is also a perennial.  Ideally suited for rocky soil, hot sun and deer resistant.  It will spread to become a low mounded shrub.  Now this was expensive, 5.50 Euros, almost $8.  If it does well and survives the winter which it should then I’ll go back next year for some more. 


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The iris that we moved are all doing well.  (towards the middle of the picture is the lower new bed of them) Some are blooming.  The ones that we didn’t move are blooming too.  More than last spring.  I don’t know if it is because of all the rain, or that there is more sun on them now or all the plant food they are getting now.  But they are doing well.


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And so are all the pansies.  (I don’t know what possessed  me to buy those burgundy/yellow ones.) 


That’s the garden update.  Richard is coming over again with his roto-tiller and he is going to run it through the bed again.  I have been adding leaf mould to it and there was a nice crop of grass that will get turned in to it to improve the dirt.  Unless it is too expensive I plan to lay out weed block fabric and then cover the area with mulch of some sort.  Hopefully that will reduce chicken scratching as well as weeds.  And slowly, as I find them I can fill the bed with perennials and bulbs.    I am lucky to have a space that I can dig and develop.  Look for more garden news in the coming months. 



  1. AlyB

    Your gardens look beautiful! I can’t wait for spring to reach us in New England. Btw, if you have access to used newspaper, it makes a very effective weed barrier, especially in pathways. You have to use a few thicknesses, but it works great. I hope you update us with the summer blooms too!

  2. Hi thank you for reading and commenting. I agree that newspapers work well and I used them that way all the time in the US. Here they are harder to come by. Just trying moving or starting a fire without newspapers. I did end up using weed block fabric. I didn’t like the idea of it but we are in a farming area and so many seeds and dust and dirt floats around that without it I would be doing nothing but weeding since I am going to gradually add plants as I find them. Also I had to end up using mulch (at least it is made nearby) since we are renting on part of an estate. The property is used for weddings and such so my normal wild look has had to be tamed a bit. Oh well… at least I have space to use.

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