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My Vegetable Garden Make Over

I love vegetable gardening. There is nothing quite like harvesting and cooking vegetables that you have grown. 

If you like to grow vegetables but are a beginner, be sure to ready my post about how to troubleshoot vegetable garden problems as well as some solutions.

It is helpful in learning what to do about problems like peppers not ripening, tomato leaf curl and cucumbers turning yellow with a bitter taste, as well as other issues in the garden. 

See how I transformed my eyesore garden bed into a combined perennial vegetable border

One of the problems that can happen when you start a vegetable garden is dealing with 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.

My perennial and vegetable garden before photoWhat 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?

I started with my rough garden bed plan and a lot of motivation.  The first step was to get a general pathway formation going in the bed. 

Beginning of my garden pathsThe urn at the center of the pathways was broken by tree trimmers early in the season, so it needed replanted to hide the damage.

This damaged urn will be the focal point of my path design.Some vinca, ivy and creeping jenny as well as a taller dracena and some petunias did the trick nicely.

This urn planter was damaged by tree trimmers but you can hardly see the damage when it is filled with creepers.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.

Urn planter at the center of caged tomato plantsThere are two seating areas in this bed.  One is a lounging area under a crepe myrtle tree with hanging planters and a wind chime.

Lounging seating area with hanging baskets in the trees and a wind chime.The other is a park bench area at the back of the garden that overlooks the whole bed.

Park Bench seating areaThe 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.

Japanese Silver Grass and Butterfly bushes line the fence lineIn  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 are growing green beans that I have already harvested twice this season.

Daylily of the a year is a focal point of this bed.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.

Vegetables and perennials grow in harmony in this bed.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?

Twin bean and cucumber teepees make great climbing supports.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?

My husband's idea of how to close a crawl space opening.I had a small clump of elephant ears that had originally started growing in my compost pile.  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!

Elephant ears cover the crawl space opening well.This is the progress of my bed so far this year from initial planting.  Two months ago:

My mixed border 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.

Paths lead to a seating areaThis 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!

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Friday 27th of June 2014

So clever. I love the flowers covering the broken urn. I know how hard it is to part with lovely pots when they break. Great idea.


Friday 27th of June 2014

The urn was a gift from my mother so I really wanted to save it. Carol

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