Another bed out of hand

If you have a garden, a yard and/or lawn, or just some potted flowers on your deck or porch, this is about the time of year that you start getting sort of burned out. Maybe this just happens in areas that have hot, humid summers (like St. Louis), but you reach a point where you don't really want to go outside anymore, and you really don't care about the garden.

(I'm saying "you" because although I'm talking about myself specifically right now, I've talked about this with a couple of my neighbors and they feel the same way right now -- so I'll stick with "you". )

It's not that you've given up, but you just need a break. That's a little bit how I've been feeling lately, probably due to the heatwave that we've had. During this time I see a weed and I look the other way -- I'm just not in the mood to do anything about it. This attitude eventually catches up with me, and I pay for it with ugly, overgrown beds.


You're probably looking at the photo above and thinking "hey, that bed doesn't look so overgrown or ugly!", at least I hope you are, since that's the "before" photo. That was taken three years ago when this bed filled with groundcover thymes was new and looking its best. Here it is now:

Even though it's taken from a different angle, you can see that it's not looking like it was in 2007. Several of the thymes died, probably from too much moisture during the winter. It's also very hard to weed beds that contain groundcovers I've found.

This bed is way too hard to take care of even when I'm not in the summer burnout phase, and the weeds have taken over. I'm going to clean it up today, and I'm going to be pretty ruthless about it. I think I may rip everything out of here and start over!

I mean, look at those weeds! The thing is, there are some plants in there that might be worth saving... thymes, sedum... no, I'm going to be ruthless and brutal and rip them out!

Well, maybe I'll give them one more chance. I ripped some of them out, but left a couple. I'm not done here yet, but got to this point by hand pulling most of the weeds, then going over the area with my scuffle hoe.

One of the big problems here was wood oats seedlings. Dozens of them underneath the parent plant.

I really like this plant, especially the seedheads:

But it's just too much work to keep the seedlings in check, so it's got to go. I do like it's bamboo-like foliage, but I can easily replace it with a pot of actual bamboo -- when I planted the wood oats I hadn't yet discovered the joys of growing bamboo.

So with it gone it's time to move further into this bed (to the left):

Ok, that's pretty weedy. Let's take a closer look:

Back into ruthless mode, as there's a lot to do here. There is a carpet of grassy weeds underneath everything else here:

I used the same approach as before: hand pull, then scuffle hoe. This time I wasn't concerned about saving any plants that might be hiding under there. This area is now clear:

And that means the entire bed is pretty much finished:

It looks a little sparse now, as I've pulled a lot of plants out. No problem, I'll just fill in some of the bare spots with potted plants:

Some bamboo, a potted Austrian pine, and a couple of other small pots and this area is looking pretty nice again! I'm going to have a hard time remembering to water these pots, since they're out of the way a bit, but these plants are pretty tough so they should be fine, even if I forget for a couple of days.

Cleaning up an ugly planting bed is always so very rewarding, even during the summer burnout period. I wish I had some mulch to put down...

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