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Trimming And Yanking In The Tiered Garden Beds - July 2011

Category: My Dry Tropics Garden | Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:25 am

In the last week of my mid-semester break, not only did I complete a huge clean-up in my shadehouse garden (see my last blog post - I also managed to finish another job that had been on the to-do list and had temporarily put aside while I was struck down with some horrid virus.

So, after managing to do what was needed out in the shadehouse, I went out with gardening shears in hand, determined to do battle with the tiered front garden beds.

One particular side of this tiered garden bed, the side that's tucked up next to the shadehouse garden, has what I call my tiered rock garden. This side was looking totally wild and woolly after our wet season. The Salvia madrensis looked like it was infested with huge woolly caterpillars and needed a short-back-and-sides, and the Giant Sword Fern needed yanking out.

This is the before shot:

Overgrown tiered rock garden bed ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

So many of plants in this middle tier were completely swamped by the Salvia and the Ferns. After some trimming and yanking it looked more like this:

After the tidy up in the middle tier of the tiered rock garden bed ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

With the Salvia and Giant Sword Fern tamed, a few of the other plants like that lovely variegated Ixora and the Turnera ulmifolia behind it, finally get to see some sunshine.

While I was out there working away on these tiered rock garden beds, I found something surprising. There was a Kalanchoe blossfeldiana that had somehow survived the the torrent of water that rushed through this part of the property during our wet season earlier in the year.

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

It was one of the little bits that I had broken off from the parent plant and just stuck in the soil hoping it would take. The parent gave up long ago, and many of the other little slips I shoved in the dirt had never even started, but this lone little thing had somehow taken. It had almost become squashed in the midst of my weeding and whacking frenzy, but luckily I spotted it in time. I have to give this survivor full credit for getting through or summer and autumn conditions, and then showing off its first blooms for our winter.

Then I moved onto the other section of tiers. Next to the tiered rock garden, there are two more tiers which are edged with red blocks. This area also needed a little bit of work. The photo below shows the 'after clean-up' view.

A section of the tiered block garden beds ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

While I was pulling out some clumps of the enormous Giant Sword Fern in this section, I spotted this!

Dietes bicolor ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

It was just on a year ago now that my husband bought home a poor little piece of this Dietes that he'd noticed growing in the garden bed at his workplace. He'd thought I would probably love it and ripped out a piece.

I prompty shoved it in a spot on the middle tier and forgot about it, not expecting it to do anything really as the poor thing had been yanked out without any care whatsoever. It had a tiny little straggley piece of root on it and that was all. I hadn't really noticed it in amongst the ferns that had taken over, and just like the Kalanchoe, I was not expecting it to survive the river of water that swept over the tiers for weeks and weeks. But ... there it was!

Dietes bicolor ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

That, however, was not the end of the surprises. I decided I'd better move the Bletilla striata from the top rock garden tier. The poor Bletilla really clashed with the other plants around it, especially my orange Iris domestica. So it needed to be moved down to one of the tiers in the red block section where it was amongst friends like the lovely Angelonia, Scaevola and blue Salvia.

As I was preparing a little spot for the Bletilla, I noticed that a slip of Inky Fingers Coleus that had broken off the parent plant and had been shoved into the soil at the back of this tier, had also taken off and was looking very fine indeed.

Inky Fingers Coleus ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

By now I was eager to get some plants that had been languishing in pots in my shadehouse garden out into the soil and light of the tiered garden beds. I planted up my Toad Lily right next to the Bletilla.

My pink Justicia brandegeana, or pink Shrimp Plant, was planted in the top rock garden tier, along with a little bit of bracken fern, a red Salvia and a little red Gerbera. Grow little babies, grow!

Shrimp Plant, Salvia, Gerbera, Fern newly planted in top tier ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

These new plants are at the front of this garden bed and are surrounded by my Hemerocallis 'Wedding Band', an Iris domestica and an Iresine herbstii, which got a great trim and tidy up.

In the neighbouring top tier, a pink Brugmansia and Pentas were planted

Brugmansia and Pentas newly planted in top tier ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

in front of the Aralia 'Firestorm', the young Lagerstroemia indica and the pink Euphorbia pulcherrima. I came back later and planted some Salvia splendens in there as well.

I'm more and more pleased with how the two top tiers are looking these days. I can't wait for that patch of Hemerocallis to bloom in the spring.

Top tier of the tiered block garden beds ( photo / image / picture from Bernieh's Garden )

Last edited: Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:39 am

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eileen wrote on Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:00 am:

Gosh I could do with you here to tame my garden for me!! When you decide to get going you really make a grand job of things. I'm so glad you found so many surprses when you were cutting everything back. Somehow finding plants you didn't expect to see spurs you on doesn't it?


Bernieh wrote on Sun Jul 17, 2011 12:11 pm:

It was the approaching end of my holiday break, and the fact that not much on my list-of-things-to-do had actually been done, that originally forced me to start, but you're right, the surprises I found certainly spurred me on.

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