Overwhelmed by my garden.

msdeedMarch 18, 2012

I bought this house three years ago and when I saw the property I feel in love with it. The previous owners however were tired of taking care of it and it really showed. For the last three summers I've been moving pants and giving them away and so forth but with all the work it's getting overwhelming. I was wondering if there is someone that can help me figure out how to give my garden the flare it needs. I don't mind buying new plants or using old ones, I just need some direction. Please keep in mind I took these pictures today and technically it's still winter here in the Chicagoland area. I haven't gotten out there to clean out my beds yet.

Small section of purple flowers found in this bed every year. They bloom in early spring only.

This is the other side of that same bed.

This is another bed, it receives full afternoon and evening sun. There are Hostas, Hydrangeas, some ground cover as well as other plants unknown to me.

Any help is appreciated!

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Without knowing what you've got in there, it's pretty hard to even speculate. The purple flowers are crocus - one of the minor bulbs and a welcome harbinger of spring. Nice to have and easy enough to dig up and reposition somewhere else if desired.

If the sunny patch next to the basketball area is Hemerocallis fulva or the orange ditch lilies, there might be a better use for a sunny patch. However, ditch lilies can take foot traffic and errant basketballs infinitely better than most things.

The piecemeal approach might be what's exhausting. If this is what you've got after three years of moving and giving things away, you might pick the spot that irks you the most and devote the coming season to get that under some control. Or pick the spot you'd most enjoy looking at and working on as the first step. You learn pretty quick that you can't do everything at once.

Do you want flowering perennials, a mix of shrubs and perennials; cottage garden or more formal? Unfortunately, it's all work that can repeat itself every year.

The Morton Arboretum in Illinois and their online plant database is a good resource.

Here is a link that might be useful: Morton Arboretum

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 5:30PM
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In summing up your desires so that I can understand them, the only thing I grasp is "...help me figure out how to give my garden the flare it needs." ... which does not sound like a landscape issue, but strictly a garden issue. Which means that you're happy with the garden size, location and the way it relates to the site; you're just not happy with what's in it or how those things are arranged. Is that right?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 7:19PM
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I can relate to feeling overwhelmed with perennial beds. I planted tons of tiger lillies, yuccas, which I see in your pictures, irises, and other perennials that were on the property, to my front yard. It created a huge amount of work which I hated to do since I'm on a very busy highway. I ignored my back yard, which is practically paradise, until I hired a garden consultant last spring who spent 2 hours telling me to get rid of all those perennials! You're easiest option is grass. Second easiest, plant small evergreens and mulch heavily. If you put newspaper under the mulch you'll suppress weeds even more. If you want a little flare, stick in few well-behaved bulbs NOT tiger Lillie's--they're thugs, or some annuals from a garden center. Finally, if you do decide to keep beds, I'd make them narrower. It looks like you're still letting the previous owner decide what your yard should look like. I hired two guys to help me since my beds were about 10times your size. We ripped out the perennials, planted evergreens--euyonomous, boxwood, miniature holly, and mulched. We were done in an afternoon, I haven't lifted a finger in the front, and it still looks great.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 9:04PM
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I would really like a mix of perennials and annuals. I actually like getting my hands in the dirt and making things pretty in the spring. Maybe I'll just start over and get new plants. There are some designs over at bhg that I liked. Any suggestion on great annuals that will be okay for puppy's and rambunctious boys?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 5:08PM
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GaGard, we try to find more singular and creative ways of expressing our inner selves here.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 8:20PM
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