Island in the sun

I am FINALLY on vacation and it’s a staycation that going to be ALLLLLLLLL about my gardens!!!! I am primed and ready to finally start the yard transformation.

I got a little kickstart the other day with the “driveway island”. It’s a little garden wedged between the driveway and the front walkway.

When we bought the house, it looked like this…

It contained some dead wood, a dead cedar, and an out-of-control Euonymous. Not long after we moved in, Demolition Dad took his sawsall to it all for me. The plan was to clear it all out and put in a totally fresh garden there. Of course, there was no time for that last year. I did my best to keep after the weeds that immediately moved into the cleared dirt, but other than that, it remained untouched.

My plans were to make it something of a wildflower garden, with coneflowers, daisies, and susans and the like. Earlier this year, I tried to dig out what remained of the cedar stump. It resisted all my efforts. And I noticed, that while it didn’t regrow last year, the Euonymous was now growing back. I decided to give my plans a little rethink.

And while I was doing that thinking… the weeds moved in..

I needed to do something about it, pronto!

You’ll notice at the back of the garden, it’s covered in those red, jagged landscape rocks. Well those rocks aren’t just on top… they are right through the soil. To get rid of them all, I’d have to dig the whole thing out, and probably down two or three feet.

Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Instead, I decided this would become a ground cover garden – similar to what I did with the tree garden at the townhouse. I hit the garden centre, bought up a pile of rockfoils, sedums, elfin thyme, and some creeping jenny – all things that will spread out and cover the ground, making a nearly impenetrable carpet. But they also wouldn’t care about all the rocks in the soil. In fact, it will probably help them thrive.

It took pretty much all afternoon, but I got the space cleared, plants in, and gave it all a good thick layer of mulch to keep those weeds at bay.

Quite the transformation, if I do say so myself! It looks rather sparse now, but those plants will all spread and create a wonderful carpet.

I decided this garden would also be a good spot for my weeping pussywillow.

She’s toward the back, and eventually she’ll grow tall enough to be the focal point of the garden. For now, I’ve got my welcome sign at the back, as something to draw the eye.

I tend to make my own hanging baskets, instead of buying them pre-made from the garden centre. It costs about the same, but I can use better soil, which holds the water better. In this one, I have some Calabrocha, Marigolds, and Creeping Jenny.

Since the cedar stump was too tough to dig out, I decided it’s going to become a garden “feature” and placed my broken pot garden beside it.

It’s full of ground covering sedums too (and a dollar store frog), so I figure it fits right in. Behind it, is where the Euonymous is regrowing.

Eventually, it’s going to cover the old stump any way. My only job with it, is to keep it tidy as it grows.

And while most of the plants are ground cover sedums, I did get a few flowering things.

The white and the pink bunches are both rockfoils. But the purpley-blue one is Watperry Blue Speedwell. I have other Speedwell in the catio, but their flowers are long, and bottle-brush-like. The only thing they have in common with this one is the shape of the leaves.

I also added in some Marigold and Portulaca for colour. They are annuals, but if all goes as planned, I won’t need to worry about planting more in a couple of years.

All in all, I’m exceedingly pleased with the transformation of this first garden space. Next I hope to tackle the rest of the front of the house.

While you wait for news on that… here’s a little side-by-side, before and after:

It really is amazing what you can do with a shovel and a can-do attitude!!!

10 thoughts on “Island in the sun

  1. Patty

    Hats off to you, Val!!! What an amazing transformation! That’s a lot of hard work involved. How many hours did you work on it?
    Enjoy the rest of your vacation. Can’t wait to see your next project.


  2. Araignee

    You must be in heaven having all that room to plant in. I have series garden envy. I can’t grow a thing here anymore in this shade with all the wandering nibblers. The place has gone to weeds which is fine by me. Mother Nature knows best.


  3. What a remarkable transformation!!! It is already pretty and will just get prettier. You have such a great combination of plants. Enjoy your vacation and I look forward to seeing your projects as they evolve.


  4. Vera and I were talking about all your plants today. You sure are enjoying your new place. Can’t wait to see how the driveway garden thrives and changes.


  5. What a beautiful transformation Val! I admire your knowledge of plants and can-do attitude in getting it all done. I just can’t believe how different it all looks. Dennis dug out an old rock bed here by the shed. I”m going to try planting some beans and zuchinni and see if the deer and rabbits stay away. I have a feelting we’re going to need some fencing.


  6. Michelle Cooper in New Zealand

    What a wonderful change. And low maintenance too. The weeping pussy willow is perfect for the back of this garden.Do Enjoy!


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