You read that right ladies and gentlemen. I actually remembered to water the plants. Well mother nature has helped me out a bit by bombarding our yard with inches of water a day for the past week but before that…I was all over it!

If you recall from this post, I decided to cheat and use a pre-planned garden for our front yard foundation plant beds. Well let me tell you, this is one crime that I am proud of because these plants are actually growing! Thats not to say that we haven’t put a little elbow grease into these suckers. We most definitely spent the time preparing our soil properly before sticking these guys in the ground.

Here is a reminder of what we were working with before.

We had a plethora of overgrown holly bushes and weeds galore. I started by pulling all the weeds from the beds. I’m embarrassed to say that task was an entire day unto itself!

After my knees and legs recovered from that battle, we decided that the holly bushes had to go! After some thorough research we realized that (a) holly bushes are virtually indestructible (b) our’s were planted way to close to our foundation and (c) they are ugly. Because the holly bushes were planted by Moses the previous home owner eons ago, we knew we needed to bring in the big guns. A chain and a truck with 4 wheel drive. Thats right, we chained the bushes to our big ole F-150 and accelerated. Those babies didn’t stand a chance.

 With all the previous shrubbery and weeds out of the way, you would think that it was time to plant. Oh no no no. We had, little did we know, 18 hours left of manual labor before the thought of planting could even enter our minds. The evil word of that weekend was ROOTS. Turns out that ancient plants and no previous owner maintenance gives the future home owner an entire bed of roots. We barely even had dirt left for planting! I manually pulled up roots from both beds ALL weekend long and some I just had to give up on. It was very satisfying though once I removed as many as possible and I had a nice blank slate. To help with the next step of adding compost and top soil, we needed to loosen up the dirt we did have so we rented a tiller from Home Depot for half a day (about $35.00) and loosened up all that southern clay.

After removing all the roots, we were left with a lot less dirt than we started with. A few years ago, Wes and I learned a little trick about landscaping supplies. Don’t buy them from a big box home improvement store. Yep, that’s the trick. It will save you bundles. Instead, we visit a local landscape supply company in town and purchase our edging, mulch, top soil, etc. from them. The only catch…BYOT…Bring Your Own Truck. The products are available to the public but they aren’t neatly packaged like a retail store. You pay by the yard and they just dump it in your truck bed. We paid $20.00 for half a yard of top soil which was MORE than enough for our two plant beds. Had we gone to Home Depot/Lowes, we would have paid more than $50.

So we brought home our superior blend of gardener’s top soil and dumped it right on top of our red clay. *Ok, now you can start thinking about planting*. But before we talk about planting, I must confess something else. You know that I cheated with a pre-planned garden layout but I also cheated by simply ordering the plants from Spring Hill Nursery as well. Yep, mail order plants. Seemed crazy to me too but the more I thought about it, the better it seemed. I didn’t have to troll the aisles of our local garden center only to find that they didn’t have the same plants outlined in the foundation plan and then I didn’t have to worry about selecting any substitutes. My gardening confidence is not nearly high enough for that so I ordered them. They arrived in a nice neat little package with a diagram of how to plant them and that’s all she wrote. Now I have this!

The plants are still small and a few haven’t quite come into their own (hence the empty spots up front) but I think it looks 20 times better than the ancient holly bushes. This weekend I’ll be filling in with dirt around the beds to hide the new edging and level everything out. Then adding mulch to help keep the moisture in the soil and to dress it up a bit. But in the mean time, here are a few close-ups. Happy Spring everyone!

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