Well I finally found some time to post a little something. This past month has been a busy one! I taught a class about setting Garden Resolutions for 2013 at Bonelli’s Cafe Italia, which was a lot of fun! Also, I gave a lecture about Invasive Plants at The Garden Center at their annual Educational Series. I love spending the day learning more about gardening and hanging out with fellow gardeners. Lastly, I was asked to be on the local garden show called “The Garden Spot”! I always enjoy talkin’ plants with Mike Wiggins.
Now that my speaking engagements have come to an end for a bit, I have been working hard in the garden. My goal is to get rid of all the weeds in the front yard and have at least one more flower bed ready to plant in the spring.
There are a lot of weeds to pull, so I’ve been trying to spend at least one hour at the end of the work day out there pulling weeds. The good thing about working at the end of the day is that I run out of daylight, so I wont be tempted to stay out longer avoiding office work needing to be done.
The first task that needed tackling was creating a pathway along the flower bed in front of the house. It’s important to make your garden accessible for you to be able to stroll through it and work within it. To ensure that I can get a wheel-barrel through and be able to walk side by side if I have a garden guest with me, I made the pathway 4 feet wide.
Step 1: Pull the weeds!
To do this I used a Scuffle Hoe since most of the weeds were shallow rooted. I would get a straight line of weeds going and pull them up in thick mats as if it were carpet. Although when I got down towards the end where the Florida Betony starts I made sure I dug them up with a trowel to be sure I got rid of them.
It took me a few days to complete this. My hands/arms needed a break. The bricks I laid there are only to help me stay in line.
Step 2: Lay down Landscape Fabric.
For some reason I did not get a picture of this step. Many people make the mistake of not creating a barrier between the soil and the pathway material. If you put gravel on top of this with no fabric, then you would be fighting weeds through little pebbles – really hard on your fingers. Trust me, I’ve pulled enough weeds within gravel.
This is the only time I think that landscape fabric is appropriate. If you were going to make a seating area in your garden, that would be okay too. Where it is not okay is in your flower beds. It restricts oxygen from getting to your plant’s roots and does not allow your mulch to decompose into the soil giving precious nutrients back to the soil. Over time the fabric will deplete your soil of nutrition. However, if you’re walking on it, then it’s not an issue. Another mistake people make is not pulling the weeds before laying the fabric down. It may kill some of the weeds, but it will be that much easier for weeds to still be a problem. To keep the fabric in place make sure to put the pins down or as I call them “large staples” in the fabric with a mallet.
Step 3: Spread your pathway material.
My choice of material for my pathways in my cottage garden is mulch. My front yard is just too big to afford anything else. It also gives a more natural feel to it. I used recycled tree mulch delivered to me from a local tree company.
Presto! You have a pathway! At first the mulch will be bulky, but it flattens with rain and you walking on it. Also, this mulch is very fresh, so the color will change as it decomposes making it not so striking, but more natural. Eventually I will have a connecting pathway that will go throughout the entire front yard cottage garden. In the picture alongside my new pathway is my next project to work on. Constructing the picket fence!