I’ve discovered a new thing I love doing. I like filling a pitcher and watering my plants. It’s very calming and therapeutic for some reason. For the last month we’ve been keeping plants alive and it’s amazing! I actually want people to come to our door instead of hastily sweeping our dusty stoop before guests arrive. Our planters from last month are thriving and Greyson and I are in awe. Maybe we’re not the plant killers we thought we were. It’s all thanks to Fairview Garden Center.
If you’re catching up with us, we’re excited and honored to be part of the “Weeds To Wow” Family Garden Project. Fairview Garden Center here in Raleigh, NC is helping us take on a project every month to make our yard a nicer place for our family to play.
Fall is planting season. We got to do something I’ve always wanted to do, but never attempted out of fear of floral failure. We planted a bed around our mailbox.
I was just thinking of planting a bunch of flowers, but Fairview knows better than me and had some amazing recommendations. We mixed evergreens, perennials and annuals.
Here’s what you need to make a fall bed like this:
1. Soil- Fairview recommends Daddy Pete’s Planting Mix, a soil conditioner comprised of cow manure and aged pine bark fines that will help improve soil air space and help retain moisture while adding natural nutrition to your soils. Daddy Pete’s is from a historic farm in North Carolina. Awesome, right? They serve both businesses and little gardeners like us. Check them out.
Funny story. We explained to Charlotte what manure is. She was worried it would “smell like poo poo” and kept her distance at first. We were cracking up. She learned after we spread it in the bed that it smelled fine, “fresh and gardeny” even.
Evergreens- We planted 2. Goshiki Osmanthus and 3. Crimson Fire Loropetalum. I’m psyched to have some plants survive through the winter.
Perennials- Or as I like to call these plants, the “Harry Potter spells.” 4. Euphorbia, 5. Heuchera and 6. Rumex. I imagine Hogwarts’ Herbology Professor Sprout uses spells like “Euphorbia Heuchera Rumex!” That spell make flowers rebloom instantly or something.
Annuals- Here are my pretty flowers! We planted burgundy and yellow 7. Pansies with 8. Ornamental Cabbage.
9. Plant Food- Like last month we used Osmocote Plus Indoor/Outdoor plant food.
10. Mulch- We used Daddy Pete’s Pine Bark Mulch. Pine Bark mulch is better for flower beds because it is lighter than hardwood mulch. This is all stuff I didn’t know until this project.
11. Deer Repellent- It is not unusual for us to have families of deer wander through our yard multiple times a day. They dash in front of our cars and nosh on our plants. This stuff is a necessity for us. Turns out, it’s made of like spices that wouldn’t taste good together like garlic and cinnamon with capcasin to make it spicy. Clever! I guess that’s what you use when you don’t have a deer repellent spell. Antlerous Repellious! (There I go with Harry Potter, again.)
We started by shoveling and hoeing a bed around the mailbox approximately 3′ x 5′. Greyson shoveled the dirt and grass into a wheel barrow. I don’t know about you ladies, but I love seeing my man working outside. I also love seeing my babies outside helping.
We ran into a little snag. A concrete snag. I imagine this is the case in many neighborhoods. Check out our mailbox pole. Yep, that is all cement we couldn’t shovel through. The same applied for the edges near the road. If you have a curb, it may be a different story when you are planting a mailbox bed. We knew the mulch would ultimately help shape our bed.
We planted the evergreens first, then the perennials. After that we put in the ornamental cabbage. Finally, we filled in with the flowers for lovely pops of color. We fertilized and added mulch. Then we watered well! No pitchers here. We brought the hose out to the road. I like to pour a cup of coffee, strap the baby in the stroller and water. It’s a nice little ritual. I talk to the kids about the color of the plants. Charlotte really wants to grab the hose and spray everything. I’ve tried to stop her and remind her to “water the roots!” Which is awesome, because she’s learned a lot more about parts of the plant and how plants grow and survive.
What do you think? What have you done around your mailbox and what worked or didn’t work for you? If you live in the Raleigh, NC area. Check out Fairview! If you live elsewhere, come visit us in Raleigh. Until then, check out their blog for tips and how-to’s.