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How would you handle the back of this garden?

Posted by Alisande Zone 4 (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 10, 04 at 13:50

We used to have a large (50x60) fenced vegetable garden, with a perennial and rose bed along one of the shorter sides, outside the fence. Both were neglected for years, and were soon covered in tall weeds.

I've made a lot of progress restoring the flower bed this year, mostly digging holes and laying down cardboard on top of the weeds, between plants. The fence that separated vegetables from flowers, and was a nice backdrop for the flower bed, is gone. So as it stands now the roses and perennials are backed by four-foot weeds. Obviously, this won't do.

I don't anticipate ever growing vegetables on that scale again. Nor do I relish the idea of eliminating 3,000 sq. ft. of weeds by myself. I could push over an area of weeds and do the cardboard thing with them, and it's possible I'll want to grow a few veggies there again, maybe next year. But I feel as though I need some sort of buffer between that area and the flower bed. Any ideas? Unfortunately, I'm not able to use ideas that cost a lot of money. :-)

Thanks very much!


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How would you handle the back of this garden?

If your plan is to keep the existing flower garden only, I would mow the weeds with my trusty lawn tractor. I'd overseed with grass seed in the fall (or whenever is the best time in your area), apply a pre-emergent weed control in spring, and a weed and feed in the early summer, carefully avoiding the flowers and any other ornamentals, as the weed killer will kill them. Hand weed a strip near the flower bed. Overseed again next fall, repeat until you have a decent lawn.
Once you have the weeds more or less under control in the strip adjacent to the flower bed, plant a shrub border as a backdrop for the flowers. Evergreens are nice for year round structure, or use whatever is most reasonably priced if cost is an issue. You can even start some shrubs from cuttings now in containers, in anticipation of needing a hedge.
Many shrubs are relatively easy to start from cuttings, and you may know someone who has a suitable plant that will give you some.
If that seems like too long a process, a simple post and rail fence behind the flowers might be nice if it suited your house style.
Or a simple homemade trellis with something grown on it. Or you could just treat the bed like an island planting and mow on all sides.
In all honesty, I'd probably end up planting the whole thing with shrubs, trees and flowers, but that wasn't what you asked. :oP


RE: How would you handle the back of this garden?

Mow the area down; spray with 'Burnout' or 'Scythe' or other organic weed killer; wait a week and spray again;next lay down black plastic held in place with rocks to smother weeds for a month or so. Remove plastic; lay down weed cloth; mulch heavily with bark mulch or gravel. That should do it, hopefully, unless weeds are primarily of the crabgrass and dock ilk!

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