under the old pine tree…

remember this little photo i mentioned here?

i spent a good part of this past weekend in the yard.  what started out as a weeding session beneath an old pine tree (to the right, in the above photo), turned into digging out the entire area. really, it was a losing battle with the weeds. there was very little actual grass left behind, the weeds were tall and some were prickly and not very friendly. the kids’ play area is nearby too, and the weeds invited wasps and the odd raccoon to leave behind telltale signs of its nightly visits. so, digging out a perimeter around the base of the old pine tree seemed like a great and easy solution at the time.

as most of my plans go, things got complicated as soon as it was too late to turn back.

it took me almost a full day to dig. it was hard earth, lots of roots, and i really need a wheelbarrow. i borrowed this from the kids to truck the dirt back to my compost pile:

once the earth was turned, and the garden bed laid out, i started thinking about what to plant under there.  but i had to keep these things in mind when making my choices:

  • acidic soil – from the pine needles that drop.
  • shade – it is a large tree, near a fence, and receives little to no sunlight.
  • drainage – the area is on an angle, sloping away from the tree towards the fence.
  • roots – the tree, being old, has a firm hold of the earth with its large roots.

with all that in mind, and the garden bed in place, i did some research and decided what plants i would try to grow. day 2 was fun, when i got to plant the goodies into the earth.

a fern that i moved from a different part of the yard…

lily of the valley, transplanted from an abundant patch in my front yard.

they come up each may, and smell sooo pretty. the rest of the summer, they fill the garden with green foliage…

these are caramel huechera (pronounced HEW-kera), a native species of north america. they’re also known as “coral bells”…

planting these was inspired by this post from willow house chronicles. i really enjoy reading her blog. she shares interesting stories and beautiful photos about her life in rural eastern ontario.

for my own records, this is the plant tag for the heuchera:

i also planted a couple of really sad looking hostas. i thinned them out from elsewhere in my yard…

wish them well.  but i think they’ll be ok…

i also planted bleeding hearts

(and again, the plant info for bleeding hearts):

the kids helped by displaying the stones and gems i uncovered as i was digging. the one at the bottom middle actually had a crystalized white mineral growing inside…

we all thought that was pretty cool.

and these two look a little startled in their new surroundings; they’re a long way from their days on the dollar-store shelf. but i think they’ll settle down with time…

rewarding work, but there were some challenges. i’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out as the plants (hopefully) grow.

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13 Responses to under the old pine tree…

  1. Corey says:

    Lovely! That’s a lot of hard work right there but so rewarding. ? I’m so excited; my hosta came back!

  2. Jess says:

    My stepmom gave me a bunch of hostas from her yard. They all didn’t make it. I don’t know what I did wrong!

    • iMadeItSo says:

      you might not have done anything wrong jess… there is a virus that hostas get, believe it or not. also, too much direct sun may kill some varieties. or maybe the soil chemistry was quite different than at your stepmom’s. try again :-)

      • Corey says:

        My hosta in in the absolute last spot in my yard to get sunlight during the spring. I think that last bit of warmth was like an alarm clock.

        Definitely try again, Jess!

  3. Nancy S says:

    Looks great! Thanks for the shade plant recommendations…under a tree is always a challenge. My mother had Lily of the Valley and they spread out nicely after a couple of years. Best of luck!

    • iMadeItSo says:

      i’m amazed at how well lily of the valley spreads! that’s why i planted only a few of them. when i go to the garden centre and see one lowly lily of the valley in a pot for $6, then look at my front garden full of them… i can’t help but think i should consider insuring my yard ;-) i’ve freecycled a bunch in the past, and given them to family and neighbours too.

  4. Cute garden! I hope your Caramel heuchera does well for you. Thanks for the link. : )

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