Taking a bite out of Crime

Since moving here six-ish years ago the garden has been growing by fits and starts.  There wasn’t much more than grass and foundation plantings here  -so beds were promptly carved out of lawn- but it’s possible I bit off a little more than I could chew.  Now don’t get me wrong, in my opinion restraint is something better saved for the day after your funeral (and for plant orders edited after you review your checkbook balance), and I don’t regret anything…. but I think it is time to finish chewing.

So here comes the story.

my backyard is a meadow

Spring 2008 was when we moved in. I really couldn’t see the point of cutting all that grass, so to the joy of my new neighbors (also inlaws btw) I left it to grow as meadow.  The uncut grass  went over really well (I think).  This was when ‘the queen of the prairie’ got her name, she was in the house as an estate sale leftover, but now you can barely make her out in the grass to the left.

After 40 years of wooded seclusion, the company owning the land behind our house chose the year after we moved in to begin construction on a new industrial park.  Trees were promptly cut down and bulldozers moved in.

kids love bulldozers

Kids love bulldozers. The previous fall was when I dumped dirt, planted daffodils, and the bed in question was born.

Don’t get teary eyed over the trees and earthmoving, bulldozers weren’t the worst thing that could happen to this land.  We’re talking about mine scarred land covered with tailings from the coal mines and a massive culm bank.  Industrial decay can be cool in photos, but less so in your own backyard.

construction site as my view

Another good thing about construction were the nice rocks salvaged from the site. Too bad my back gave out before I could lug up even more.

Fast forward to this summer and things have grown back up… too bad weeds have also grown up, and it’s downright criminal what the bed has become.

Annabelle hydrangea

The “Annabelle” hydrangea was just a homeless cutting. Four years later and it’s too nice to remove, but as for everything else?

Now is probably a good time to remind you of my blog’s subtitle “More than you ever wanted to know about my garden”.  I think we’ve reached that point, and to keep it short and sum it up;  July -about 50 clumps of daffodils dug, sunflower seeds planted, heavy grass clipping mulch applied.

sunflower seedlings

Better late than never, a planting of sunflower seedlings coming along on August 11th. Some rain would help since I hate dragging the hose out to this bed.

Finally to wrap things up the sunflowers are blooming and I’m trying to keep on top of the weeds.  A smarter person would have covered the whole bed with newspaper or cardboard, mulched over that, or sprayed for the weeds but I’m going to try and pull them as they show up.  Wish me luck.

late summer sunflower patch

It’s not the worst thing to have a few late season annuals. They seem to know enough to get a move on it and are blooming at a shorter height (a mere five feet)

The bees may not be impressed by them, but a few fully double sunflowers give it a nice Van Gogh feel.

double sunflower

This double sunflower looks fluffy enough to use as a pillow.

I just need to resist planting things here until the last of the weeds are killed off.  That won’t happen, but maybe I can at least keep it to a minimum 🙂

22 comments on “Taking a bite out of Crime

  1. pobept says:

    My ISP and wordpress are not talking to each other very well. Currently I can’t seem to click I Like button!
    Anyway I like your posting

  2. Benjamin says:

    Great post! Good luck with the weeding, the planting and the backache! 😉

  3. I say put a nice layer of newspaper on that baby, along with a nice layer of grass or leaf clippings, wet it all down, and let it go for the winter! I have had really good luck with weed control in my vegetable garden by covering it with leaves in the late fall, which get tilled into the soil in the spring, and then a good inch or so of grass clippings once the veggies have sprouted and are big enough.

    I’ll bet your kids have had fun watching all of the machinery doing its work in the new industrial park! My boy would have LOVED that!

    • You know what that bed with all the sunflowers needs? Cleome! Cosmos! Morning Glories! I can supply all the seed you could possibly want for all of those!

      • bittster says:

        Haha! Based on your blog name I think you’re a little biased 🙂
        For some strange reason I always like the three of those in other peoples gardens…. I’m not sure why. The morning glories you get climbing in your rhododendron and up your railings is so nice but stilI I resist. A huge patch of cleome would be cool, but lately I’ve been all about the reds, purples, and yellow. I think I need a bigger garden and room for a cleome bed! (and more mulch of course)

    • bittster says:

      After five years (!) of construction the magic has worn off for the kids. Things have been particularly busy lately as they level the area for additional parking. I just counted 11 bulldozers, dump trucks, rollers, end front end loaders going at it, the noise rumbles through the house all day :/
      My problem in that bed is quack grass. The roots thread back and forth throughout and it’s only by keeping it clean for a year that I think I’ll have any chance. Newspaper and mulch would be great, but this stepchild of a flowerbed never gets the good leaves and clippings, only what’s left. Like you I put the best mulched leaves on the vegetable bed! Unlike you I only have a few leaves blowing around in fall, this isn’t a good neighborhood for leaves 😦

  4. AnnetteM says:

    Glad to see things have grown back up at the back of your bed. It must have been very bare for a while. Your double sunflower is amazing – I don’t think I have ever seen one of those. I look forward to seeing all your daffs too.

    • bittster says:

      Sadly enough I’m already looking forward to the daffs too!
      What we need here are a few days of steady rain. It won’t save the dried out stuff, but it will sure put the garden to bed nice and give everything the moisture they need for winter.

  5. Pauline says:

    I see that you are screened from the earthworks once more, did you plant them or your neighbours? Whatever they are, they are doing a good job! Your plants are looking good, the birds will enjoy the seed from your single sunflowers, and keep then very happy! As you get more plants in your border there will be less room for weeds, it’s a never ending battle I’m afraid.

    • bittster says:

      The screening has grown up on it’s own. It’s almost all “weed” trees but as things continue to grow in I hope to thin out all but the oaks and a few cherries which are definitely not weeds!
      Slowly some areas are filling in enough to elbow out the weeds… until the day I change my mind again 🙂

  6. Cathy says:

    Those sunflowers deserve a prize for being so resilient and flowering so nicely for you. Love that last photo! It looks like those pompoms cheerleaders have! 😉

    • bittster says:

      I hate to say it but I also really like the sunflower too! It’s like I’m confessing when I say that but for as simple and classic as the singles are the super fluffy double really begs to be touched and admired!
      I’m glad they carried through the dry spells and are making such a nice fall show now.

  7. pbmgarden says:

    Awesome double sunflower! Good luck staying on top of the weeds.

  8. I feel your pain. We want new beds, but the old beds insist on distracting us by threatening to get out of control.

  9. Christina says:

    Great you’re taking control! Doesn’t the Hydrangea mind being in full sun? The last image showing the sunflower is like one I grew, do you know its name and did you say it came from seed from last year’s flowers?

    • bittster says:

      I purchased the sunflower seed, but I think it will come true since I had a smaller one self sow in the front yard this summer… although I’m not sure where it came from!
      Don’t know the name, but they weren’t anything rare. I picked the seed packet up off a hardware store rack in June.
      The hydrangeas tolerate the sun, but don’t enjoy it. Last year our summer had a much longer and hotter dry spell and the flower heads and foliage browned and dried up completely. They seemed nearly dead, but then didn’t miss a beat this spring! -It’s an arborescens type, “Annabelle”, and is usually a shaded streamside plant.

      • Christina says:

        I’ve seen Annabelle looking lovely on so many blogs. I’m tempted to plant one in a pot for the terrace where it would have shade all summer from the wisteria.

      • bittster says:

        I bet with your milder winters you might be able to try some of the fancier big leaf types too…. in a pot of course, out of the wind and well watered!

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