ressurecting flower beds, need some help!

lavender_wingsJune 2, 2010

Hi Everyone,

My name is Mindy, I live in the Denver area. I'm new here, and completely new to flower bed gardening. The house that were are currently living in used to by my fiance's parent's house and his mom was an avid gardener and I've only had a vegetable garden last year. Both the front and back yards are completely edged in beds, and the back yard also has terraced beds. The house was vacant for a couple of years, and the beds neglected. I've tried asking my MIL what do with the beds and she was really vague about it. They used to be very beautiful and lush, and now they're in such a sorry state it just makes me sad to look at them like this!

I'm now trying to bring them back to life, but really have no idea what I'm doing! I've been trying to take out the obvious weeds (haven't gotten to all of them yet), but with some of the plants, I can't tell if they're weeds or not. And there are many things coming up this year that didn't come up last year. A lot of it seems overgrown to me, so I've started taking out some of the plants that look spent, which is helping, but beyond that I'm clueless! The driveway is also lined with hedges, but it's dying and I don't know why. It doesn't appear to have any diseases, but large parts of the bushes are just dead now.

If anyone can offer some advice on how to go about this, or direct me to a good place to start, I'd appreciate it!

Thanks!!

Mindy

BTW, I'm including a link to some pictures of it. I took them mid weeding so there's stuff everywhere!

Here is a link that might be useful: yard album

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col_sprg_maters(Front Range 5)

Taking over an In-Law's fatigued 'work of art' can be loaded with mine fields.

I would start by:

1 getting a moisture meter and seeing if things are too dry

2 asking the neighbors for info/ pictures about the flower beds. Take foodie/goodies

3 consider the labor, cost, fertilizer & water to do what every you think.

Our water bills are really going up in colorado and it might be time to think about a fancy xeriscape garden

so get the meter and start taking readings; might ask the water company for the last 3 years bills and forecast what the worst one would be today.

thats my input

D in colorado springs

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 3:23PM
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Dan Staley

You want a decent ID book. There are some weeds in there, but not many; there are, however, some things starting to be shaded out, some getting too big for their spot, some inappropriate for our increasing water costs (Denver Water will, trust me, start tiering your rates and second tier - landscaping - will be designed to help you go xeric).

Go to Denver Botanic Gardens or a decent library for a good book for the Denver area-xeriscape plants - go when Master Gardeners are there (weekends often). You don't want an English cottage garden in this place, you want plants adapted to our climate. Those butchered-into-poodle shapes-Ribes or whatever make me sad and they should go. You'll likely grow to dislike aspen and that silver maple. But overall not bad.

Dan

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 3:38PM
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sorie6(6b ok.)

How about trying to figure out whats there. Letting it grow this yr. Get your book and label the plants. You may be very surprised at the plants that are there. Maybe MIL has some pics of the gardens. Just another thought.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 5:58PM
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lavender_wings

Thanks for the help everyone!

I've been poking around on different sites and several of the plants out there right now are listted as xeriscape types that are good for the area. So, once I get all the junk cleared out, I'm going to just plant more xeriscape types. Water is just too expensive to do otherwise. And probably mulch too, there isn't any out there and all the areas that aren't covered with ground cover dry out really, really fast, are starting to look sandy, and in some places cracking.

The butchered hedges are my FILs...he doesn't want anyone to touch them. Last summer when they were here, they cut them down and said "they'll come back!" but this year they're just even more dead and look horrid. And then the parts that are growing back are just spreading instead of staying in the hedge area. I think they're called golden privet. Should I just try and remove them and replant, or would there be too many roots in the ground?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 8:23PM
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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

While the house was vacant, were the beds ever watered? If not, I'd bet that if it's still alive, it's pretty xeric :-)

You might also be interested in this xeriscape site: http://www.gardencentersofcolorado.org/xratedgardening/.

If the mother doesn't want to help ID, maybe the neighbors can at least tell you what are weeds. Some of them might fool you for a season, but you'll figure out pretty soon what you don't want to let grow.

Here is a link that might be useful: X-Rated Gardening (Xeriscape)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 9:46PM
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autodidact

Sounds fun. Where in Denver are you? Maybe some of us could make a field trip to your house and share some thoughts. *hint* Skybird *hint*. Whatever she had in there, you probably only want to keep the xeric and plant new xeric perennials. There are so many beautiful flowers that do well in Denver. Do rush down to the Botanic Gardens and make yourself absolutely sick with envy and crammed full of ideas.

This sounds like a very fun project to me. Frankly I envy you. The beds are already made, and now you get to plant them!

Also you should come to the Spring swap next year. Also do you know about free mulch from the city?

There are so many good books for gardening in Denver, all available from our fabulous public library. They will give you lots of ideas. Colorado Gardener's Guide. Month-to-Month Gardening in Colorado, Best Garden Plants of Colorado...

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 6:05PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Field trip works for me, AD, if Lavender is interested!

I'm sorta out of Colorado right now, and I did look at the pics when they were first posted, but didn't have time to reply before leaving, but the very first suggestion I'd have would be to start getting rid of the snow-on-the-mountain---the green and white leafy stuff that's under the tree (if I remember right) and clearly spreading all over the place-----which is exactly what that stuff does. Other than that, I agree with what others have said---get rid of as many weeds as you can (and snow-on-the-mountain definitely falls into the weed category in my book!), take care of the rest of it, and keep trying to identify exactly what you have where. There are a lot of good plants in there, and even the neglected looking ones should come around nicely with a little TLC.

If AD whats to join me for a field trip and you're interested in identity on a bunch of the perennials, Lavender, let us know.

Overall, you have the start for a really great garden there.

Bedtime---will be driving most of tomorrow again---and will once again be computer incommunicado!

Skybird

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 2:47AM
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