In a little more than a week, the biggest storm of the winter is a distant memory. Since the snowfall on March 2, we’ve had three days with highs in the 40s and 50s, and another three in the 60s (counting today). What’s more, highs for the next six days are expected to be mostly in the mid- to upper 60s, and Wednesday could warm up into the low 70s! True shorts weather in March! With average high temperatures this time of year in the mid-30s, the warmth of late is nothing short of unbelievable.
So, Sunday afternoon I walked the backyard – definitely a bit easier than last week’s venture in the snow. Picked up the trash that had blown under bushes, checked out some of the shrubs and raspberry bushes, and tried to fill in the holes where Chloe (our beagle) had already started digging.
More importantly, I took measurements for what will be my flower project this year. Except for the marigolds that I’ve ringed my garden with the past three years and a few salvia plants that anchored each corner, I’ve consciously decided not to plant flowers. The biggest reason, I suppose, is because I didn’t want flowers to take up space I used for tomatoes, beans and peas and other yummy veggies. There was a brief moment last spring during which I toyed with the idea of expanding the garden so I could devote space to flowers. But that didn’t happen — and it didn’t bother me either.
I guess the possibility of flowers still lingered, though, because over the winter, I was looking at the backyard from our office window and it hit me that I had the perfect spot — beneath our clothesline! The only thing it’s used for is to hang an occasional rug or our daughter’s smelly soccer shoes, and it’s a pain to mow around the poles (or so my husband says). So why not try to convert the 8- x 20-foot space beneath it to a flower garden?
I’d like to use the metal poles for a climbing flower like clematis, but I’m not sure if a pole would be enough or if some sort of trellis would be needed between the poles. It can get quite windy at times, and I wouldn’t want a trellis to be torn out and with it, the flowers. If I do put up a trellis, would that block the view of the flower garden from the house? Or, maybe just a trellis on the side farthest from the house so I can see the flowers from the house, but still see the clematis, too? For the poles nearest the house, maybe some other type of climbing flower that could easily wind around a pole and not need a wider base. Some type of climbing rose, perhaps? Or, just thinking on the fly here, but what about wrapping the poles very loosely in some sort of chicken wire that wouldn’t be as likely to blow away but could offer a wider base for a climbing flower? I’m guessing there are other options, too.
Another big decision is whether to go with all annuals, all perennials or a mix. While I like the idea of planting perennials and not having to worry about the flowers a lot, I also like the idea of being able to add or change one if the desire so arises. Kind of like booyah, where you might add a different ingredient from batch to batch, depending on how the previous batch tasted. Hmmm, I think I just answered my own question!
I know for sure that I want flowers from spring into fall, so picking out the right mix of perennials and annuals will take a bit of work. And I want to put our bird bath in the middle and have a few stepping stones, so I’ll have to plan heights around those elements.
So, it seems the next step is to spread out the seed catalogs and garden planning books and get to work on a list of flowers. I’ll plan on updating the blog with my progress in a week or two, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear suggestions for the clothesline poles as well as what types of flowers might work best in the space. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.