Reclaiming Flower Beds

We've had a glorious week of warmth and sunshine here in the Pacific Northwest. Quite unusual for April in these parts...but I won't complain.

The work at hand has been to reclaim the old flower beds in the back of this old house I now call home. The elders of my husbands family share fond memories of the way the great grandfather and grandmother had created a lush and flower rich landscape with a massive victory garden that covered the back half of the yard.

I have planted raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, a service berry, dwarf combo fruit trees and raised veggie beds, which makes me feel like we are off to a good start towards bringing food production back to this home. However, bringing the great grandparents flower beds in the back to life, well that's another story.

Above is a picture of the left side flower beds looking back. It's a size-able space and it is completely overrun with invasive wood hyacinths (spanish bluebells) and weeds. (A lot of weeds.)

My plan is to create a bee/butterfly/hummingbird garden, complete with grasses and long lasting blooms. I've been collecting an assortment of plants, but to my delight, what I have is only a drop in the bucket for the space I'll need to fill.

I am also working on starting plants from seed. While I won't be able to enjoy the blooms this year. It's so cost effective to start many a perennial this way to enjoy for season's to come.

Over to the right looking back, is the shade garden.

The space is shaded by a dogwood, a snowball tree and a star magnolia. All of these trees where planted by my husband's great grandfather and grandmother. Pete and Nellie enjoyed looked at the trees through their dining room window. I have found the view delightful as well.

One thing about the view that I am plotting to change is the view into the neighboring yards. I have planted clumping bamboo over on the side with the sun garden. I'm willing it to grow, encouraging it to take whatever space it needs to provide a good screen of privacy. The other side is a bit more challenging and due to space constraints, will require more of a creative, manufactured structure rather than a green screen.

At any rate. I have spent all of the past week digging out the weeds and wood hyacinths from these beds.

Progress has been made and nearly all of the shade plants are happily in. Many of the plants I brought with me from our prior home, some of the plants I've purchased and recently, a few of them came from the Portland Area Garden Bloggers Plant Swap.

I've got my hubby working building a nice boarder around the edges for me as we have stone left over from last falls front flower bed project.

What on earth will I do when I no long will be able to photograph the neighbors truck in my gardens? :)

It's been a busy week of digging, planting and more digging. I'm pleased to get the plants in the ground. With every shovel of dirt I sort through, looking for rouge wood hyacinth bulbs, I remind myself that I am putting my stamp of this yard and home, and that gives me great satisfaction.

What is happening in your gardens in April?

Cheers, Jenni


  1. That is so much work...but oh so worth it! Your flowerbeds look like they're well on their way! :)

  2. You've made great progress! Don't worry, I'll help you fill up those beds. Do you have a gardener's riddle/sieve? It would help with sifting the wood hyacinth bulbs out of the soil.

    1. No, I don't have a gardener's sieve. That would be helpful. I'll keep my eye out for one and thanks for the tip!

  3. I love that first picture and thought oh my look what she has done, it's beautiful. Then you say you were going to dig those up, along with weeds. Oh my goodness! Those blue flowers are amazing.

    I like what you have done with your gardens though and in time the neighbors' truck will show now more.

    I went to a spring plant sale this morning so have some goodies to plant myself.

    Hope your week is a good one.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  4. Wow, what great changes you are making, and still keeping the history of the plot.

    I love it.


  5. Things are slowly starting to come into flower in our garden about a month behind but it's still cold!

  6. It is indeed the digging season. I've been doing a lot of that too, with the sore muscles to prove it. No gym membership fees necessary this time of year. And look at all you have to show for your efforts. It's going to be fun to watch your garden come together.

  7. Oh that looks like so much fun. I remember how much I enjoyed reclaiming our old garden in Lead. You have so much space in that garden. Your neighbors truck is kind of like our plow truck. That dumb thing is always in the way of my photos. Have fun. I can't wait to see the progress.

  8. Everything looks so incredibly good! I can't wait to see how it all fills in :-) How wonderful to be able to integrate your ideas, personality and loves with such a rich history!

  9. Lookin' good. You will loose some "character" when the truck is no longer visible, but I think the pretty flowers will make up for it! I like the shade garden. I'm a little jealous because I don't really have a shady area so I've been creative, but a whole bed devoted to it would be nice.

  10. I spent part of the weekend digging over some flower beds; hard work, but the end result is always so fulfilling. So much work to do this time of year but enjoyable. I too have a shady area I'm trying to plant up so I've gotten some ideas from your photos.

  11. I'm considering digging out a couple of beds of those damned Spanish Bluebells AGAIN because, although they're lovely, their foliage tends to crowd out other plants that I'd prefer to see. In places where I put annuals or things in pots, I've let them go and pulled them the minute they stop blooming or throw a pot on top of them. They act as a place holder for a while. Unfortunately, even with this treatment, they've spread. Sifting the soil, as Alison said, is a good idea because even one tiny bulblet can lead to trouble!

  12. Wow, what progress you've made. The transformation is amazing. I've got a few of those bluebells coming up. I sure didn't plant them so I'm thinking a plane flew overhead and airdropped them. Either that or it was the fairies. At any rate they're going bye bye.

    My neighbor has put her compost bins right on the other side of the fence. I can't do anything about the smell but I put up a bamboo panel to block the bin and the accompanying blue tarp. It was like $12.00 very well spent. I guess it wouldn't completely cover that pickup but it might help. :) Happy gardening. You're well on your way. This weather is fabulous.

  13. What a great space you have to work with! Your hard work is paying off, as the area is looking really good already. I can't wait to see it all filled out. Dare I say it, but I've had some Spanish Bluebells in my garden for several years now and they never seem to multiply...I rather wish they would.

  14. Yay! There is NOTHING as satisfying as starting a new gardening space...and now you get to watch it grow and rewarding!

  15. Love it! All of your hard work is paying off and it's coming together nicely. Enjoy the beautiful weekend. :)


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