After some major vegetable garden bed grunt work on Saturday, I tackled the garden beds around my deck. Again, the weeds were a mite out of control. They had moved on from weed stage into "growing roots, becoming ground cover and in general growing too large to easily pull out of the ground without a shovel" stage.
Now, here's the kicker: I weed these stupid garden beds every single year. Either I don't get mulch on them, or the weeds take over anyway. Here are the beds in early summer last year, when I was trying to decide what to plant:
Both sides were taken over by weeds by the end of the summer, since I never got mulch down. I managed to weed the right side earlier this summer when I planted the rose bush in front (which I now forget the name of. It's either Aloha or Gertrude Jekyll?) but then...say it with me....didn't get mulch down. Well last weekend, I got mulch down!!
That's the rose I ordered from Chamblee's nursery in the front, and a Knockout rose on the right, with daylillies and some black-eyed susans on the right.
To the left side of the deck, in shade, I planted a Midnight Duchess hydrangea last year. It's done pretty well in the shade.
This time when I mulched, I decided to use blackout/weedblock cloth. It doesn't really do a lot, since most of my weeds are the groundcover kind that grow on top in the mulch, rather than through the bottom. However, I have some uber-stubborn weeds that terrorize my side yard that are a PITA to kill, so I used the weedblock to prevent them from coming back.
My secret: I put down newspaper under the weedblock for a double layer of protection! I save my papers for a few weeks, and voila! I've used it under mulch without the weedblock, and it does a pretty good job of stopping weeds. And it's free!
I used about 5 cubic feet for the hydrangea bed, and about 7 for the roses bed. Last year I had mulch delivered, but this year I've been picking up 3 cubic feet bags at Lowe's for about four bucks a pop. It's so much easier than shoveling, and I'm not planning on mulching every thing this year, so I'm saving quite a bit of money.
Next up was the corner bed. It was the first bed I planted when I moved, but it has fallen by the wayside this year. For whatever reason, the black-eyed susans just did not come back after the winter. Plus, Bristow runs through this bed constantly, killing just about everything. On top of that, frog's leaf, a kudzu variation, and the PITA weed have taken over, stilting the growth of most of the lillies. I'm sure it'll come back next year, provided Bristow can keep his muddy paws out of it!
First year. Aww, it's all so tiny!!
This year. You can't see it, but B has worn a path around the edge of the garden from his incessant pacing.
Look what I ran into while weeding! Ack!!
I tried to get Nellie to eat it, but she wanted nothing to do with it. Smart dog.