I love vegetable gardening. There is nothing quite like harvesting and cooking vegetables that you have grown.
There is also nothing quite as depressing as losing all those vegetables to marauding squirrels.
After my fiasco last year with the squirrels, I decided to transform my vegetable area into a combined vegetable perennial border. (see my plans here.)
The project was a big one. I started with a blank slate and one tiny patch of spring onions that I wanted to save.
What an eyesore! The neighbor two yards down from me has an awful scene that I wanted to hide. I knew that my next door neighbor planned to add a garden shed and a vegetable garden of their own, so I hoped that some of the eyesore would be somewhat hidden but still…not very appealing to look at is it?
The urn at the center of the pathways was broken by tree trimmers early in the season, so it needed replanted to hide the damage.
Some vinca, ivy and creeping jenny as well as a taller dracena and some petunias did the trick nicely.
I knew that I wanted to grow tomato plants so I caged them in four areas beyond the urn to make a sort of archway entry to the back part of the garden. (I will be SO glad when my neighbor moves his darn truck out of my pretty view.)
The plants are full of tomatoes. The squirrels are eating my neighbor’s peaches now, so hopefully, I will get the tomatoes when they are ripe and not the squirrels.
The other is a park bench area at the back of the garden that overlooks the whole bed.
The fence line was a challenge. The overlooking yards are such eyesores that I wanted large plants to hide both the chain link fence (which I hate) and also the neighboring view. I chose Japanese Silver Grass and Butterfly bushes to alternate along the fence line and also planted some sun flowers behind them for filler too. The Japanese silver grass came from a huge clump in my front yard that had taken over the front border. We divided it into 5 smaller clumps. They will grow to about 8 feet when established. The butterfly bushes are a deep purple color and will grow to about 5 feet tall.
In between each of the pathways are several small triangular shaped beds. One of the prettiest holds this lovely day lily clump that I transplanted from my shade garden. It is right in front of the park bench seating area, so I can admire it in comfort. Behind it grow bush beans that I have already harvested twice this season.
I love the way the vegetables and perennials compliment each other in this bed. Broccoli, spring onions, lettuce, and both perennials and annuals fill this part of the border.
My front chain link fence is hidden by my twin bean and cucumber teepees. These are the two most commented on areas of my garden by my friends. Aren’t they adorable together?
The crawl space opening to our house was another challenge. The dogs keep trying to get in there so this is my husbands idea of a “fix.” Charming right?
I had a small clump of elephant ears that had originally started growing in my compost heap. It had rotted severely after the winter and I decided to see if it would “take” after digging it up and transplanting. It did! And it great style. It is a much larger clump than it was before and it covers that horrible crawl space opening beautifully. They will die down in the winter but hopefully, by then my newly retired husband will have a more artistic way of closing off that opening!
This is the progress of my bed so far this year from initial planting. Two months ago:
And now. It still has a way to go since there are many small plants and not a lot of established ones. Should be wonderful later in the summer.
This bed has taken my several months of very hard work. When I got it all done, I had to go back through and weed the smaller bed areas. Even with the mulch down, the weeds still grow. (not on the paths though…the barriers under them keep the weeds at bay very well.)
Do I miss my all vegetable garden? Yes, sometimes. But it was a LOT of work and I neglected all my other flower beds to do the work last year. I have the veggies we eat the most in it and it’s gorgeous to boot. I can hardly wait to see what it looks like as the summer progresses and the plants get larger. I’ll add more perennials to it next year. It’s a keeper!