The Side Garden: A story of neglect and hope


This is our side garden, taken last year. It looks about the same today, though less mulch and more weeds. When we initially tilled this area I envisioned a “pink” garden with lush groundcovers and masses of bulbs peaking up through the greenery. There would be pink clemantis, roses, lilies- it would be beautiful.

Well, it is hard to grow anything in dry shade with one to two hours of scorching afternoon sun, so there is the first problem. The second issue is spacing. As a LA who does an awful lot of planting plans, I know that an appropriate spacing for a Vinca groundcover is about 12-15″, max. But this would mean purchasing about 40+ groundcover which costs some $… so instead? I bought six. Four of them died the first year. And of my twelve pinks I put in? Two survived. I have dabbled with various other plants here and there- a phlox, some quince, and azaela, some columbine. A huge garden design “DON’T”. Nothing has impressed me so I never added any more and now we have a hodge-podge of miscellaneous sick looking plants growing in a sea of weeds. I gave up last year and decided I would direct my interests elsewhere in the yard and the side garden would be someone else’s problem when we eventually move one of these years.

Well, looks like DH Craig has taken quite an interest in gardening, and he just isn’t satisfied with the field of weeds I am so lovingly cultivating. Every few months, What should we do with this area?. My answer- I dunno. I suppose I need to pull out some weeds, huh. But I never do it and I never really planned to. So yesterday, Craig spent hours upon hours pulling out each weed by hand from this area and now it is completely weed and grass free. Ready for some new plants.

Yesterday afternoon he asks again- What should we do with this area? Me- I dunno. Craig- I sure wish I could hire someone who knows plants to do a design for this! Honestly sweetie, I wish you could too!!! I have designers block when it comes to this yard. Which is somewhat inspired by a newfound sense of cheapness. Anything nice I come up with is going to cost some money so I rule it out before I place it on paper. I would have no trouble coming up with something for somebody else, but for us I am limited by the fact that I simply do not want to spend a ton of money on an area I have largely written off as a weed pit.

Finally, after brainstorming together we have decided to try a mix of Mophead Hydrangeas and various Hosta varieties. Nothing too groundbreaking or creative, just a few old standby’s. I am even going to buy the appropriate number of plants- probably six Hydrangeas and 12-15 Hostas, so it will cost some money. But Craig is all for the plan and is even contemplating adding a decorative fence and gate and extending the perennial garden. I say, wait and see how much time we have to garden with a baby. (What a role reversal!) So, we shall see. We have a plan and Craig is pumped to be the steward of the side garden and I am sure that whatever we plant there will thrive under his care. Now I just have to suck it up and spend some cash on the plants!!


One response »

  1. I know all about those wonderful, elaborate yard plans, and I know about that cheap streak too! Good luck with your plans–and just in case it would work I have one extra viburnum that might take that afternoon heat!luv, momarj

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