Tuesday Garden Party 03.25.14

Well, looking at some of the posts linked up to last week’s Tuesday Garden Party, it seems like there’s a lot of seed starting going on as well as early spring blooms. I hope those of you in the northeast who are still getting some of the white stuff get a break soon and can see your own garden beds come alive! Sheesh, it’s like the Long, Long Winter for you guys!

In the meantime, you can live vicariously through us that have gardens we can get out in! So, on that note, I’ll share some of what I accomplished on Sunday afternoon in a couple hours (I was feeling the pressure to get some stuff done in our pretty, sunny weather we’d had for a few days, ’cause they’re telling us it’s going to be mainly rain for the rest of our Spring Break this week).

Front Garden Beds Before and After - An Oregon Cottage

I concentrated on the front flower beds, since that’s what everyone sees and I was getting tired of all the brown, dead sticks! Though as I put these two photos together, I realized it doesn’t seem that much of a difference – hence the ‘before and after’ labels. Trust me, I hauled two wheelbarrows of dead stuff and weeds out of this area alone.

You can also probably tell that I took the before picture about a week earlier (see the difference in the tulips on the upper left?) – that’s because I fully intended to get to it sooner. Pretty much the story of my gardening life. The spirea needs to be cut back some and I didn’t get to all the weeds and nothing got it’s layer of newspaper and compost, but my goal was to get everything cut back. It’s just a step at a time, isn’t it?

Dead Hebe

This, however, was the saddest part of my front bed garden: my favorite dry shade plant, a purple Hebe bit the dust after our bout in December with negative degrees (you can go here to see it in all it’s June glory – along with more of this front bed). I’ve waited awhile to see if any life would come from it, and in fact, only cut it back – just in case it has some life left in the roots somewhere. The biggest problem is that I haven’t seen this variety of Hebe anywhere since purchasing the two plants I have at a nursery sale about 4 years ago. Sigh.


And of course there was weeding, even though I was concentrating on cutting back and pruning. This prolific early spring weed was the main thing I pulled tons of. It’s a wild cress, but we call them ‘poppers’ because if you wait to pull them after they’ve got seed heads the seeds pop in your face and fly everywhere. Every spring I’m hopeful that I got most of them before popping…until I see all the new plants the following spring, ha!

3-14 Front Garden Clean up

I’ll leave you with a few shots of the cut-back and mostly cleaned up front porch garden. It’s this time of year that I’m glad I interspersed the hydrangeas with evergreen boxwoods – they’re truly doing their job of adding winter and early spring interest. I’ve decided this year to leave the small Japanese maple leaves as a weed-deterent layer and we’ll just lay the newspaper and compost over them when we get to it.

3-14 Right Front Garden Clean Up

This part of the front garden is exposed more to the western wind, but I didn’t lose too much to the cold, surprisingly. Some of the creeping phlox is brown, but I think that will grow back, and I lost a pretty big Lithodora, but that at least will be easy to find a replacement.

Is anyone else taking stock of losses from this last winter? I think most areas of the country had some bout of extreme cold, didn’t they? I’ve got a lot more dead things in the backyard, so our list will grow, I’m afraid. I hope you fared okay!


  1. says

    I have those popper weeds all over too. I hate them. I didn’t get to weeding last week but I hoping to get some weeding done this week.

    My phlox fared really well, I hope yours comes back. But we had some bamboo in pots and I think we might have lost two of them. They look really bad but we are holding out hope they will come back. The other one looks really good but it wasn’t in the wind as much.

    • says

      Oh, Shelly, I too, have a beautiful stand of clumping bamboo (that I spent more to buy than any other plant!) that is completely brown. :( I’m afraid to go out and look at the base to see if there’s any new shoots – I figure the longer I wait the better chance there is that it may come back, right? :)

      • says

        We didn’t have to purchase our bamboo, our neighbor was removing it so we received it for free. But I know it can be so very expensive. I haven’t checked for any shoots yet either. Hopefully they will all come back. Your right, it can’t hurt to wait. :)

  2. Rebecca Haughn says

    found your Hebe plant being sold at a place I have ordered from before, also put the search on low to high cost and it was the under 20 dollars for it. If you want it then please check them out, I hope I have helped.


    • says

      Oh, thank you so much, Rebecca – that was so generous of you to take the time to research that for me! I’ve ordered from J&P before, too, and you’re right, they are a good company. I’ll check it out. :)

  3. says

    I have a whole row of dead lavender! One variety made it through just fine but the other is toast. I am going to need a weekend to dig it out. We also have had such dry weather that I think that is going to stop me from planting anything in its place this year. We are on water rationing so establishing anything new this year is almost impossible. Sigh.

    • says

      Oh, I wondered how you were faring with the CA drought, Barb! I didn’t know if you were enough north to steer clear of it, but water rationing – ugh. Major bummer for gardening. :( I’m saving my dead herb garden for another post – I’m still in shock over the loss because they are plants we just usually don’t have a problem with! Such are the ‘joys’ of gardening and weather. :)

  4. says

    Oh I sympathize about your victims of frost! It has been mostly dry in California but in December, the frost came. It killed a few favorite succulents and turned all the mandarins on my tree to yuck! And they had looked so promising to. Oh well. Next year.


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