A week ago today, I had 2 cu. yards of topsoil delivered. The “before” photo above is what our foundation bed looked like that morning. The soil sat below the driveway by nearly 2 inches, which meant that every time it rained, 2 inches of water sat in that bed and drown my Roses, Azalea, Rhododendron, and Iris.
With the amount of rain we’ve had so far this year – every one of my Roses was dying. Black spot had taken over the lower 4-5 inches of each of my plants. The leaves were yellowing. The Azalea didn’t even start greening up until 3 weeks after all the other Azalea’s in the neighborhood had finished blooming. The Iris only produced about 4 flowers of the whole bunch – the Rhodie had yellow leaves from the water and burned leaves from the sun. It was all very pitiful.
Enter 2 cu. yards of topsoil.
I pulled everything out of the bed, save the Honeysuckle and a 13+ year old Rose, that wasn’t about to budge. I did manage to work the soil around it up enough to raise it a couple of inches, and shoved soil beneath it to keep it from sinking back down.
My driveway looked like a nursery! I had containers filled with plants lining my driveway. A mound of dirt, covered by a tarp. It was quite the project. The first day, after working the soil, filling it to level with the driveway and stomping it down, I realized that the cedar edging was not going to work. It would not hold the soil in, and I could not sink it below the surface successfully. So after 6-7 hours, I took my sweaty self down to Lowe’s and picked up some recycled composite edging that gave me 3-1/2 inches of height. It would have to do – because it was too late to turn back!
And then, it rained. And flooded. And my dirt? Became mud. And the mud? Was quite heavy. And the sweat? It dripped from the tip of my nose like someone had a hose over my head.
I protected the lowest piece of siding on the house with plastic edging. I set the composite edging against the driveway. I filled the bed. It is about 5 inches higher than it used to be, and 3 inches above ground level (the edging is countersunk against the driveway about 1/2″).
I moved things based on what I’d learned over the last year of watching them drown and do poorly, and I gave them new homes.
The Rhodie, now in part shade, should stop burning and thrive. The leaves are already deepening and it seems very happy. The Azalea, moved over by the northeast corner, gets sun most of the day and with the downspout being redirected off onto the driveway, will get better drainage. The Roses, they’re pitiful. They’re adjusting. I’m praying for their speedy recovery.
I’ve added Coral Bells and English Ivy on two beautiful window-looking trellises to my north wall that is mostly shade. They are very happy, the Ivy is going a little nuts after just a couple of days.
I’ve added Morning Glories on medium-sized heart trellises, because I need hearts in my garden – I am such a girl. They flank both sides of the Roses, on the East side of the house. I’ve also added a white Potentilla, because Lowe’s said it was dead – and how dare they?! Rude! It had plenty of life in it, so for $5, I get a gorgeous, delicate flowering shrub next year. Go me! I almost feel like I rescued a dog from being euthanized. Almost. I have a lot of plant love.
The Iris, well, they’ve got a whole area all to themselves. My old fashioned Iris are in the back against the house, and my Batik (and white) Irises are in the front. They’ll get full sun and I’ll get Iris. Happy plant = happy gardener!
I mulched, and added some garden gnomes (because I’ve come to realize that every garden needs some tacky crap) and some word stones (“Mom’s Garden” and “Believe”, because “Hope” has lost all meaning to me lately), so I am all set.
I have already picked my first weed, so it’s official – I am obsessed with my new raised bed, and also, sporting a very, very wicked back tan.
I might not be able to hold a pen, but dang, I look good!