With my new, crazy (but temporary) schedule, I am discovering that Sunday and Monday nights offer up the best opportunity for gardening. I have been able to complete a couple of small projects and begin to work on the front yard bed expansion as well.
When I planted the doublefile viburnum in 2005, I figured that I would have a 3-year grace period before I would need to widen the bed and give it more room. Last fall, I purchased a small oakleaf hydrangea with the intention of planting it in the widened bed, but on the right. I moved a silver culinary sage into the front corner, and have some other perennial and grass divisions earmarked to fill in the rest of the new bed space.
My methods of bed creation are admittedly a bit unorthodox. I generally do a lasagna bed method so I don't have to dig, but when a bed has to appear or grow in a hurry I simply turn over the dirt, plant, mulch, and pull out the occasional blade of grass that breaks through in the first year. And I don't amend the planting holes, either. In fact, I often wash the pot soil off of the roots of shrubs and plant it as if it were bareroot. My thought is that they might as well settle right into the native dirt and get used to it. Tough love, I guess!
The other main project I worked on was adding little planting pockets to the short length of retaining wall in my back yard. Mindful of comments that were left on my post about my original plan, I had been pondering how to make the pockets look somewhat natural even though the block is very artificial. The solution was to reuse the 3 partial blocks that I had removed from other sections of retaining wall.
I had to center them enough that they would still provide support to the blocks above them, but this created one bigger planting pocket and one smaller one. In the smaller one, I will simply plant more of the little green groundcover sedum that you see at the base of the wall and spilling over the top. In the larger planting hole, I'm still trying to figure out my plan of attack. I have 'Fuldaglut' and 'Voodoo' red sedums that might be nice, and a blue variety called 'Vera Jameson' as well.
Of course, I don't even have to stick with the sedums... there are so many choices for planting within a rock wall! On the bright side, evaluating my options will give me something to daydream about while I clean up perennials and sling flats of annuals at the garden center this week... :)