Sunday, March 13, 2016

Raising the Wet Shade Bed

This weekend I took on one of the big projects I had planned for the summer (even though it's still winter technically!). I tried my best to guesstimate how many bags of mulch and soil it would take to raise my wet shade bed up a few inches to get the plants out of the water. My neighbor's main rain spout drains right into the side yard that has a flat grade that, combined with the clay soil, is prone to soggyness.

I knew I would have to dig up most or all of the plants in the side yard and add soil beneath them, or try to pile mulch on top hoping the roots would migrate up and still let the plant come through without smothering it. Can you mulch over hostas? I guess we'll find out.

mulch bed at night
Friday after work I started moving plants and adding soil beneath plants. I thought it was going to rain all day Saturday so I worked until it was dark. I actually put a couple plants in when I couldn't see that well - I guess we'll see what comes up!
pen drawing of landscape plan
This was my mulch and dirt plan, but I under estimated by A LOT and ended up needing 5 bags of mulch and 11 bags of soil just for the side yard (right) where I originally guessed only 6 bags of soil and 3 bags of mulch. Yikes! Raising the earth for the entire side of the house was a bigger job than I thought! It's not just about dusting to make the mulch darker, it was about adding mass and height.

I moved some hostas up by adding dirt underneath them and re-planting them. And for others, I just piled about 3 inches of mulch on top of them. I'm hoping the roots will migrate up and when the eyes emerge they will keep going until they break through.

In general, the plants were a little more dormant than I anticipated. I was expecting to see hostas eyes getting ready to emerge, but they were just big masses of roots. It was hard to tell exactly where they would pop up. Some might be too close to my new additions.

I'm also going to have to get used to the idea of my plants touching at some point. So far everything is so small and spread out. Hopefully with this bed getting raised I won't have to move as much around next year. I just want to let stuff grow in and get settled for a season. It still looks very young and new and it will be a few years before it has a full lush feel to it - but you have to start somewhere!

narrow side yard mulch bed
Nice clean bed lines, and those Scotch Moss really pop!

It's hard to tell just how raised the bed is from the photos. It actually has quite a steep include on the side, and I'm hoping the hostas come out and help hold in the mulch. I really like it! The raised look makes the yard feel more expensive, especially when everything is so flat in Indiana.

I also mulched under the air conditioning unit. I had originally put the rocks under there back when I didn't have a side bed at all. When I put in the side bed last year, I kept the rocks but over time realized how it broke up the flow of the line. I took most of the rocks and put them other places in the yard, but then I covered up a good amount - a nasty surprise for the next home owner? I can just picture them trying to plant in the mulch and being annoyed to find rocks. But for now it's not a big deal, I think it will actually help keep the AC from sinking over time, and help keep my ostrich fern from sending up runners under the unit. Plus it looks so nice and makes a clean line finally.

mulch around air conditioner
No more rocks under the air conditioner

raised side bed
Hard to tell by the picture, but the bed is raised about 5 inches, it makes the yard look more expensive for some reason.

Finally, I moved one of the Royal Candles to the back yard in full sun, which I think it prefers. I can test between the two to see which does better. All I know is that last year they did NOT like getting soggy all summer in a very rainy June.

mulch wet spot
That wet spot is the Royal Candles moved from the side yard.

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