LDH garden beds: 2014-2015 (The Long Bed)

[work on this page was interrupted; additional entries pending — May 2016]

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)

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25-29 May — weekly round-up

This week we finally `launched’ this year’s project — the Long Bed Rehabilitation Project. Sounds rather grand … 🙂 It’s the long bed at the front of the school, with one lonely tree at the courtyard end of it. Its usual look is weeds as tall as a gr7 student! Every year there have been valiant attempts to weed it but it’s just so big …

This year, we’ve decided to break it up into numbered sections, and have a schedule to help make a concerted effort to weed from one end to the other. Each section will go through 4 stages: weeding, `fallow’, adding new soil, and then planting. `Fallow’ means it’s resting 🙂 and providing a vacant space between sections being weeded, and weeded sections getting new soil. The planting will mainly be daylilies (Stella d’Oro and an unnamed red daylily); the existing low ?juniper shrubs will remain, as they’re still surviving, for the most part.

Posters for students who need volunteer hours (or for Civics class) were circulated earlier in the week — with a new email address for contacting the Greening Committee: ldhssgreening@gmail.com. As well, student sign-up sheets were left on the counters in the main office and in Guidance. So far, we have potentially 4 students coming on Sunday morning (31 May).

In the meantime, a couple of parent volunteers have begun weeding the sections; by today, we’d finished section 3 — and uncovered several shrubs! [photo pending]

Now that we’ve begun, it’s clear that there’s really only room for 2-3 inches of fresh soil; adding mulch on top of that will bring the bed surface almost level with the concrete edges.

News from other beds: The Grad Garden perennials are coming back nicely; the purple cranesbill geranium are in bloom, the yellow coreopsis (daisy-like flower) along the back are nice and shrubby, the daylilies are coming back (south end) as are new lychnis rosettes (school/glass end). There are concentrations of little seedlings where cleome-like annuals had been — I’m hoping these are from the seed pods I’d burst last fall. Hostas are becoming more bushy as well. The mulch, however, is looking a bit patchy so we should probably get a few bags to even that out. Adding some colourful annuals in the next few weeks will then complete the picture, as it were, for Graduation in June.

The small bed under the custodians’ window is off-kilter with a ton of small poppy seedlings to one side — these will bloom as frilly fuschia pink flashes. Should be quite fun 🙂 The central shrub looks like it’s been gnawed by bunnies this winter but there’s a lot of growth coming up from below. The hydrangeas along the walls are mostly intact — but a few are down to the ground and regrowing. Hostas are also doing ok. The mulch here could also use a top-up. If anyone has solutions to mulch + windy corners …

I haven’t been out recently to the front bed at the traffic circle — but it was showing off daffodils and tulips earlier this month, as well as some purple creeping phlox. At that time, the mulch looked still uniformly thick.

And finally, the triangle bed under the office windows is looking better, now that things are growing taller and hiding the bare spots 🙂 It’s still a work-in-progress, as they say.

6 May 2015 — first (late) entry for this spring

Everything green is pushing out like crazy — sometimes it seems an inch a day! — now that the cold has finally finally gone and we’ve leapt into almost-summer! There are smatterings of spring bulbs in bloom here and there: a few red tulip clumps in the Grad Garden, daffs here and there in the triangle bed as well as out at the front circle garden — and some of the large hyacinth are coming up along the edge of the triangle bed (see pictures below, in 1 Dec. ’14 entry). But the unexpected treasure is tiny blue-purple grape hyacinth with loads of reddish-purple fritillaria — all planted two Novembers ago! Go out and see them before the heat kills them. Here’s a link for more info (and a nice picture, till I can upload mine): http://www.theplantexpert.com/springbulbs/Fritillaria2.html.

fritillaria-etc

I haven’t yet taken a close look at the custodians’ garden or at the large pie-shaped area by the music room entrance — Mr Morrison had said a week ago that his daylilies were coming up really well!

I cleaned up debris from the Grad Garden. Most of the perennials look like they’re coming back — even the delphinium, which surprised me a bit. The daylilies (front corner) and coreopsis (yellow daisy-like tall plants along the back wall) are all pushing up new growth, as are the purple geraniums in the centre (cranesbill variety). The mulch seems to have become very patchy — it’s not survived as well as that out at the circle garden, or the mulch along the front edge of the triangle bed. So we’ll have to remember to include this bed in any mulch order later in the season.

The crab apple trees are pushing out buds (except the dead branches — should try to prune those out this year, to tidy up the trees). I didn’t actually harvest any last fall — they seemed rather lackluster, compared with a couple of years ago.

And then the long bed. Well, I’ll leave that for another day 🙂

1 December ’14

Well, I actually got the last of the bulbs in! There are 7 clumps of 5 windflowers in the bed under the custodians’ window, and another 7 clumps of 5 each out at the far bed by the traffic circle … trouble is, windflower bulbs are almost like black lumps, with no obvious `up’ or `down’ … so we’ll see which ones make it to the surface next spring! So that’s it for this year! Now to start planning for next year — starting with making sure we get to talk to the folks who are planning the landscaping early enough to make a difference … not to mention having a say in where the outdoor faucets are going.

package covers

25 November ’14

A bit of a garden blitz! In the Grad Garden, cut back all the perennials and pulled out all the annuals (burying their seeds if I found them … you never know!?). The mulch is getting thin in spots, so probably needs a top-up next spring. I then planted some hyacinth bulbs (the big odourous ones) in that bed (clumps of 3) as well as over in the new mulch edging to the bed by the office windows. Hope we get some colour splashes next spring!

Trimmed for winter

Trimmed for winter

 17 November ’14 — first snow fall

first-snowfall-1 first-snowfall-2

12 November ’14

One of the last jobs of the year, in preparation for next spring … Earlier in the fall, I had a chance to retrieve Stella d’Oro daylilies (strong yellow colour) from an overgrown garden. Separated out the plants, potted them up, and let them rest till a few days ago, when the pots were taken to school, to be dug into the long bed by the front lane, to overwinter. These will eventually be planted in that bed, in the spaces between the low shrubs, to steal as much space as possible away from the annual crop of weeds. So — there were 27 pots, and 75 buds from the divisions sunk this morning … we’ll see how many make it through to Spring!

As well, the fall mums in planters at the front entry were separated and planted in the small bed with a flagpole, by the crosswalk area in the front. It’s hit and miss — but sometimes mums make it through the winter and then take root. If they do, we have two each of red, yellow, and purple. And again, reduce the area available to weeds.

Fall mums planted ... with hopes for spring!

Fall mums planted … with hopes for spring!

22 October ’14

Hi there, everyone. Today, despite its somber events, was a good day to be outside.

Last week one of the autism unit’s EAs had cleared all the grass and weeds from along one edge of the front bed under the office windows. Today I spread mulch along most of its length — till I ran out 🙂 So all that hard work should not have to be repeated in the spring!

Towards the main door

Towards the main door

In removing some of the taller prickly plants, I also uncovered a nice cluster of `Autumn Joy’ sedum, who seem to be flourishing in that location. Indeed, many of the plants seem pretty happy — the Grad Garden’s got a whole bunch of `enthusiastic’ plants … probably ‘coz of the new soil in the bed and then all that mulch keeping the moisture in.

From the main door

From the main door

I also mulched a small patch of uncovered soil in the garden at the traffic circle, and added mulch all around the edges of the grad garden … looks like someone had been in there and weeded out the little sprites that had grown in that small trench between the soil and the concrete retaining wall … that’s now all covered in mulch.

So — all 20 bags of mulch have now been used. First time I’ve done mulch … and it seems possible I might have more positive feelings towards the stuff, now that I’ve seen it in action … :-))

Oh, and Ms Gilman (from the autism unit) has passed along a potential mulch source for the spring — you have to fetch it yourself but it may be cheaper than bags … unless we luck into another 2-for-1 sale … She passed the following along:

Manotick Gardens, 692-3382

http://www.manotickgardens.com/default.action?itemid=40

Week of 29 September–3 October ’14

Took several more days but the far bed at the traffic circle is now done! Phew! Got the rest of the weeding done. Some of the plants are still a bit on the small side (creeping phlox) while others, such as the primrose, needed to be divided — there are now 8 smaller clumps of primrose, filling the gap that had existed between the day lilies to the west and `the rest’. The soil that Mrs Greco had brought forward was spread across the entire bed, to give it a smidge of nutrients. And then the final touch — mulch! It took about 4 bags, with one small patch of soil uncovered. That’ll be covered when the next bag of mulch is opened.

far-bed-oct-2014-a

far-bed-oct-2014-b

Another 2 bags of mulch were needed to top up things in the bed under the custodians’ window — this is a windy corner so it’s possible that cedar mulch, when it dries, gets blown around too much. For now, though, it’s been refurbished:

custodial-window-oct-2014

And, to round out the photo story, here are a couple of photos of the Grad Garden, which really took off this fall: good soil, mulch, and lots of rain. Those white/pink/purple feathery things are cleomes — I bought them as single 12in-tall `sticks’, remaindered at 50 cents for 8 … if you go look now, their main stem is thicker than your thumb!

Once frost comes, I guess I’ll have to trim back the dead growth. And it’s likely I’ll replace the yellow coreopsis along the back wall with some of those yellow flowers that did so well across the quad/patio, under the birch trees. Now  those were spectacular!

grad-garden-oct-2014-b

grad-garden-oct-2014-a

26 September ’14

Spent the afternoon at school, focussing on the bed at the traffic circle — it’s the last of the three that I’d wanted to get into `low maintenance’ shape for this year. And it’s also one of the beds that people see when they walk by that intersection, so I wanted the bed to look nice! Here’s the text of the report I’d sent in email — copied here to keep the chronology going.

Mrs Greco and I worked at the school after lunch. She kindly brought my wheelbarrow in her SUV (easier to load, that’s for sure!) and then set to moving all the remaining soil at the end of the long bed at the front. So that eyesore is now gone — yeah

About half the soil went up to just behind the school sign at the traffic circled, staged there till it can be spread across the bed. The other half was dumped in the area that’s been weeded at the parking lot edge of the bed under the office windows.

While she was going back and forth with the ‘barrow, I worked up at the far bed by the traffic circle. The entire bed has now been edged, and about half of it’s been weeded. Once the rest has been done, I’ll spread the soil around, to top dress the bed, and then spread mulch. At some point, we may end up getting landscape cloth but for now, we’ve got mulch so might as well use it.

I also planted two echinacea and two black-eyed susans (courtesy of Mrs Greco) in there, to fill in some more spaces. It’s looking pretty good so far …

There’s a nice purple/mauve haze from the Russian sage plants, and then there’s a fall aster in a pretty vivid purple, with white strawflowers on either side. If you have a chance, take a walk up to see it.

I’ll be in next week to finish off the bed, and then I think we can say that the third bed has moved into maintenance mode from here on in.

So, thanks again to Erin Greco for plants and labour. And for bringing my wheelbarrow along!

 

 

 

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