Saturday, August 20, 2016

Front Flower Bed

Anise Hyssop
Anise Hyssop
One of the first garden projects was to develop the front yard. We have a circular rock driveway, stretching over 70 feet along our front yard. I decided to build a flower and herb bed along this to add some color to the front of the house, provide fresh herbs along a convenient path we always travel, and add bee forage close to an existing natural hive.

I laid about 200 Tulips and Crocuses down. These are early blooming flowers that will come up ahead of the others. Using a lot of the cardboard from the move, I sheet mulched the area along the drive way about 4 feet wide over the top of the bulbs.  The sheet mulching kills the grass without tilling.  On top of the sheet mulch I put two inches of compost and then two inches of mulch.

I took some river rocks from the quarry next door to us to make a bed liner.

In March as the tulips were popping up, I put in about 300 bulbs with Lillies and Gladiolus.  I found that I had to dig out some of the Tulips because they were trapped under the cardboard.  If I had better timing with moving in, I would have done this in the Fall of the previous year instead of the Winter.  Those cheap Internet nurseries ( are a great resource for bulbs. Don't get plants (except maybe strawberries) from them unless you are going to pot them for a year first.

Early Summer as Gladiolus are flowering
Around the driveway side edge of the bed, I planted herb starts (Lemon Balm, Oregano, Lemon Thyme, Orange Thyme, Cilantro, Anise Hyssop, Tarragon, Sage, Parsely, Marjoram, and some green onions that were going bad in the kitchen. Every day we walk this Zone 1 path at least a dozen times to the cars or barn.  

On the back side of the bed towards the lawn I planted Lupine (nitrogen fixer), Salal, Bay Leaf, and Pineapple Guava.  This is a less traveled path because it is against the lawn, but is looked at every day.  The bulbs mentioned above are in the middle of the bed.

The idea is that the herbs will spread out providing ground cover for shade, and the bulb plants will poke up through them to provide beauty and bee forage all year round.  After the Lillies and Gladiolus came up, I saw there was too much spacing.  I decided to get some wild flower bee forage mix to fill in the gap. I put that down at the end of June.  I also left the wild clover (nitrogen fixer) growing as a ground cover.

Currently the Gladiolus are dying off and the wild flowers are in bloom.  For the last, 5-6 weeks the 100s of honey and bumble bees at a time can be seen foraging the herbs and flowers.