Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mulch, Mulch... & More Mulch

Arp Rosemary.... all nicely mulched.

Now that high summer is upon us and my production level is low, I have time to tend to my garden beds. During the height of Spring, I am much too busy with The Herb Cottage business to weed and do much other than the occasional glance at my beds. By July, Bermuda Grass and other weedy species have invaded my cultivated areas and it looks terrible. 

So, what to do on a nice hot summer's day but get out the garden fork, gloves, trowel and get to it! None of my beds, but one, are very big, but they are in the sun in the afternoons, so I worked in the mornings. It took about 2 hours per bed, I guess, to get all the grass, etc. out of the beds. 

I didn't think to take any pictures of the mess before I started clearing the beds. But, here's what part of the herb bed looks like after all the Bermuda Grass is gone.

My personal reward for clearing beds is to plant new plants! So, in the herb beds I added some marjoram, stevia and cutting celery. In the bed with lots of succulents and drought tolerant perennials I added gaura, Wine Cups and sedum. I moved some other plants around with the results much to my liking.

The biggest bed is in front of my workshop and it has a very invasive artemisia in it, which is tamed for now, but only takes a couple of months before it's taking over the area. In that bed, I tossed lots of seed: zinnia, orange cosmos, borage, a pack of mixed seed and I'm not sure what else. The zinnias have sprouted, as have some of the cosmos and borage. I also planted some of the new salvia I'm growing: James Compton. Pictures when the bed has filled in will be forthcoming!

West facing bed with succulents and really tough perennials... before mulch

Same bed... after mulch. See the tiny sedums on the right? They look like little dots. They'll spread and add a nice ground cover effect.

THEN- to try and keep the beds looking good and to keep the soil cool and more able to hold moisture I mulched. Yesterday and today I used up 11 bags of mulch. I like the Soil 
Conditioner from Landscaper's Pride brand produced in East Texas. It's inexpensive and as it breaks down, it adds some nutrition to the soil. 

After weeding... before mulching
Ahhh... the mulch looks sooo nice!

Mulching in and around established plants is hard work! Lots of bending, not to mention lifting the bags and moving them around. And, it's hot! At least 90ยบ F by mid morning. In the morning hours I worked each day, I ended up with mulch stuck to me and my clothes. T-shirt, shorts (and, of course anything under those garments), shoes and socks... all completely sodden with good, honest sweat.

Today, when I was done I came in for water and watermelon. Ummmm.... cool and refreshing! 

Boy, does the place look good. And, I have the pictures to prove it. Too bad it won't stay looking this good. Ah, well.... even though I go to Yoga at the local fitness center, gardening is a great workout. And, there can't be a single speck of a toxin left in me after all the sweat that poured out of me!


  1. Thumbs up to you Cindy ! The beds look lovely, and I can relate to the heat/conditions. Stay safe and hydrated:)

    Bea Kunz
    Sage Hill Farms

  2. Thanks, Bea. I love walking out the back door, now. No ugly beds! Now, if I can just manage some time every week to maintain them, they won't get so bad every year.

    Yeah... it's hot! But, it's where I live and I can't do anything about it but be smart and quit when I get just too hot.