Freshening the mailbox garden

The little planting bed surrounding our mailbox has always been a trouble spot. It's next to the street but that's not really a problem (except maybe in winter because of the snow that gets piled there and the salt that gets applied to the road). The main problem is that it's also next to a large Ash tree which sucks the moisture out of the ground and shades the area for most of the day.

As a result anything planted here doesn't do very well, declining over time until it dies or doesn't return in the spring. As you can see it's currently in sad shape, so it's time to do something about this!

The little hosta that's been surviving here can stay. Even though it seems to be a little bit smaller each year, if I give it a little more attention in the form of more water and some fertilizer a couple of times this summer, it may do okay. The weeds have to go though:

With those cleared out I can dig a few planting holes. This is some hard digging! Very dry soil, and a lot of these tree roots:

After loosening the soil and adding some compost, I also added some organic fertilizer:

I added quite a bit actually as the tree will steal a lot of these nutrients, and I want the new plants to get some at least.

Here's the finished product:

I put a small Fargesia robusta bamboo in the pot (just put the plastic nursery pot inside the clay pot), planted a couple of 'Palace Purple' Heuchera, added some 'Beatlemania' sedge, creeping Jenny, and this ajuga:

The ajuga (right in the middle) is the only plant I'm not really sure about here. This is what I hope it will look like soon:

If it doesn't start looking better in a couple of weeks I'll pull it out and put some more creeping Jenny there. The lack of sunlight here may keep it from looking its best -- I'll give it some time though.

Here's another look:

I think it's a pretty attractive little garden now, don't you? The pot is the real focal point here -- it really adds some visual punch as well as helps with some additional height. If I keep up watering and fertilizing, these plants may actually fill in a little and be even more impressive next year.

This was a simple project that only took about 30 minutes, and has really made a big difference. The mailbox garden is probably the most visible in my yard, and now I don't have to be embarrassed by it.

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