LDH garden beds: 2013-2014 (The Big Dig; the Grad Garden)

This page is a rolling log (newest at the top) of garden activities at the LDH, with photos, part of the work being done through the school’s Greening Committee (ldhssgreening@gmail.com)


Week of 25–29 August ’14

Tuesday morning, I spent weeding the bed to the left of the front doors, starting at the wall and moving down. The white and purple phlox are pretty good — but several have white patches from the liquid that the window cleaners were using back in late July/early August … I’ll probably end up moving the plants closest to the wall further into the bed, to avoid that in future.

The various yellow flowers continue to be just stunning! But it turns out that only the yellow brown-eyed susans came from Mrs Greco … so I guess the two rudbeckia variations are from my mum’s. Really looking forward to dividing those and spreading them around! They have been in full bloom since probably mid-July and are still going. Gotta get more of those!

Wednesday, I began working on the triangle bed below the custodians’ window — wanted that to look nice for Thursday’s influx of students as it’s the first bed you see when driving into the front parking lot. Cleaned out the trench border and got it all weeded by 11:30! Mrs Greco had arrived much earlier, at 8:30 and weeded all the tall stuff out of the bed next to the grad garden, and had made a good start at the tall weeds in the long bed right along the lane before she left around 10:30. She’s been a long-standing gardener at ACES, but now that her younger daughter’s also at the LDH, she’s probably going to be helping a lot throughout the fall.

Thursday, I came in twice. In the morning, with my wheelbarrow, to move some of the extra soil from the Big Dig to the triangle bed — it’s old sandy dry soil there and topping it up with 2-3 inches of new stuff seemed a good idea. I then spent a couple of hours in the afternoon, finishing off the triangle garden with a good layer of mulch — used 3 bags’ worth. I then moved to the long narrow bed Mrs Greco had been working on, pulling the taller weeds … and then it just was easier to just grab handfuls of everything … so there are some large dirt patch areas in that bed now … not sure I did the right thing, ‘coz it looks kinda patchy … but I’m thinking the green that will surely grow back may well just be the low stuff that’s around much of the perimeter of that bed — which is where Mrs Martinson’s students did so much work last year! At least it’s not tall stuff!


Mulching (15 August ’14)

Well, I finally did it — actually put mulch on a garden 🙂  I used up most of 6 bags but I’m not sure if I’ve got it thick enough … perhaps once there’s been a good rain, I can go back and add some `padding’. I actually hoed each area, so that the soil wouldn’t be completely compacted under the mulch … so it took a while. Pruned the lychnis (in front of the windows) after spreading all the seeds I could shake out; in fact, for all the annuals, I pushed their seed pods below the plants, so perhaps some will come back and sprout next year. Maybe … ! Here are some pictures.


Grad Garden’s looking great (12 August ’14)!

I went in for about an hour this morning, before the rains began, to weed the grad garden. Now, either someone’s been there over the past month or we really did get a weed-free load of garden soil! A few enormous weeds along the front edge but just little stuff here and there from the first row of plants all the way back to the walls. It’s as though the leaves of the plants are preventing the weeds from getting much of a toe-hold — yeah!! And the plants! The spindley single-stalk’d cleome are now mounds of leaves and blooms; the portulacca look like they’re about to throw out a ton of blooms; the coreopsis are looking very shrubby and healthy with new growth; there were two day lilies in bloom (yellow, dark orange). I took a before-shot this morning; will go back in a few days for an after-shot, hoping to catch the portulacca … and also ‘coz it had really begun to pour!


UPDATE: Here are the portulaca, in bloom, the next day:


The triangular garden in front of the office windows is just gorgeous with all those rudbeckias. Still hunting for who gave the more colourful ones — it’d be great to have more of them, esp. at the traffic circle, which is less colourful, now that its day lilies have finished blooming. Mrs Greco’s offered to help weeding as of next week, so there’ll be more updates and photos coming.

Update for 22 July ’14

Stopped by school, intending to just dead-head the day lilies at the traffic circle — gorgeous pinkish-purple blooms — and then … well … I wandered up to the front door and snapped some photos of the beds: the rudbeckias, purple phlox just by the office windows (in time, these will form a bank of purple), and the grad garden … after I gave in to temptation and weeded for about half an hour 🙂 Also cut down the fallen stalks of the coreopsis along the back — all of them are pushing out new growth from the bottom so by Sept., they should be back up to a good height. The annuals are pushing out new blooms, and the new daisies in the centre seem to love the heat they’ve been getting!



Flowers in bloom at school (18 July ’14)

Here are some photos of other flowers in bloom at school. In the triangle bed out front, you’ll see three different varieties of black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckias); the `plain’ ones were donated by Mrs Erin Greco and it’s possible the two fancier ones are from my mum.

susies-1 susies-2


In the Grad Garden, several of the tall yellow coreopsis clumps at the back are staging a come-back (at last!). The annuals are putting out a second crop of blooms while the penstemon has one stalk with new white flowers while the rest have begun to set seeds.


Weeding at the traffic circle bed (finished 17 July ’14)

Well, I got the last bits of weeds pulled, and also dead-headed the day lilies — after admiring the fabulous pinky-purple colour! There are two creamy ones — one with a coloured throat, one just cream. In time, the leaves will fountain higher and fill in the gaps, cutting off the weeds, and yielding a glorious colour show each mid-July. Here are some photos of the bed, and the the day lilies.

I dragged the very full yard waste bag back to the usual spot by the auditorium — there are now 3 bags there … but I noticed the bottom on one of them has rotted through, so it’ll be a bit of a trick to move it.


More of the same … and some new plants (11 July ’14)

Weeding is progressing well — the central part of the bed is now clear … rediscovering plants from last year, which have been shaded by all these weeds! Now they have bare soil around them and have to fend for themselves … Just a bit more to go …


Quick stop for two jobs (10 July ’14)

Found really good white `daisy’ replacements from Costco for the field daisy in the Grad Garden (field daisies self-sow and you get dozens of plants within a few months … rather like a weed 🙂 ). These two `Leucanthemum maximum’ (`Becky’) will be much more restrained in their `spreading’ habits

Cleared off that choking bindweed from 5 of the low evergreens by the birch tree in the triangle garden — looks a lot more tame now! Everything looks pretty happy, after the big rains of the past weekend.


Weeding is such a slog … ! (7, 8 July ’14)

There’s a great variety of weeds to be found in the bed up at the traffic circle … ! Started working my way through the day lilies, which have a number of buds showing — can’t wait to see the colour(s)!

Bed at school sign (before)

Bed at school sign (before)

Also spent some time cutting off all the seed heads from those tall prickly weeds Mr Morrison had pointed out last time. Didn’t have time to pull them all out but I figured cutting off the seed heads would avoid the worst of it!


Pink and white (5 July ’14)

Looking a bit sparse (some hydrangeas didn’t make it), here’s the colour display under the custodians’ window: pink annual poppies (unplanned migrants from my home garden) with white hydrangeas. The poppies bloom only the once, mid-June to mid-July; the hydrangeas should be around for the rest of the summer. I’ve got more of the latter stashed away and will move them here at some point. The poppies will self-sow and spread, so next year’s display should be stunning! The darker green plant in the middle is the burning bush, which will come into its own (purple-red) in the fall.

Poppies and hydrangeas under custodians' window

Poppies and hydrangeas under custodians’ window


New plants … old weeds … no more circle garden (4 July ’14)

Lucked into the clearance sale at Ross’ Independent: perennials for a dollar a pot!

At the traffic circle bed, cleared some weeds and planted 4 Russian sage, which thrive in hot dry conditions … in time, we should have a 3-4ft cloud of silvery ferny leaves and purple blooms. At this time of year, that’ll be a nice feature to have.

Cleared weeds from under the birch tree and planted 6 primulas (from Ross’ sale) at the base (2 clumps of 3 — they prefer sun and shade. Also noticed that the mulch around the birch was pretty flat. Pulled it out and created a berm.

Primulas under birch

Primulas under birch

Ran into Mr Morrison while working there. Chatted about plants that would be nice to have — both here at school and in our own gardens 🙂 He also pointed out the tall prickly weeds that are about to go into seed (at the back of the cleared areas in the triangle garden). We had a look at the construction site out back — the circle garden had been emptied (see photo). Didn’t spot any of the trees that had been in it — doesn’t look like word got back to anyone that the trees could/should be relocated elsewhere on the school property. A waste … 😦


[Started to keep a log of activities (above this line). The stuff below the line is from earlier and still needs some work. Ch.]


The story of the Grad Garden (part 1)

Here’s a photo-story of the Grad Garden (Evolution_of_the_Grad_garden), from May 2013 till The Big Dig (31 May 2014). It was a background piece I did up for Mr Kaster’s visit. Part 2 has yet to be compiled, showing the new soil, planting stages, and then the final result.


The Big Dig (31 May ’14)

Here’s the report I circulated to the Greening Committee a couple of days after The Big Dig: report-on-The-Big-Dig. In the end, no grade 12 students came out at all! But some very dedicated grade 11s were there and made all the difference. The student council circulated an advert via Twitter; info was included in the daily announcements a few days before the 31st.

First report to Parent Council (26 May ’14)

On Ken Medlund’s suggestion, I wrote up a report on the committee’s work to date, for the 27 May Parent Council meeting: committee-report-May2014.

Tree berms (17 May ’14)

This document includes information from various websites about how and why to build berms (not `volcanos’) around trees:  building-berms.

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