Saturday, October 3, 2009

Spiffin' up the school

My neighbor and PTA member Allison has asked for my help at our school. Not with school pictures or helping at a teacher appreciation day, but with landscaping.

"You seem to have a green thumb," she said. "We could use your passion for gardening at our school."

The front of our school IS pretty dull. There are overgrown daylilies and mangled shrubs. I look at it everyday when I pick up my daughter and it lacks color and interest. I knew that it needed a facelift.

"I'm no expert, " I tell her. "But if you need some help, I'm your person!"

And so it began ...

What to do with this eyesore? Yeesh. We have a handful of areas like this. Allison thought some bulbs might look nice here. Can I plant bulbs in this space and spruce it up with some Karl Foerster and some other grasses? I have little or no experience with bulbs - do I have to plant annuals over them once they die down?

What makes this planting tricky is that there is no one to take care of these plants once they are planted. They are on their own to survive.

We were supposed to plant tomorrow but recent rains postponed it until next weekend. The school's Boy Scout troop and their dads were going to do the tough work - dig out all the daylilies and rose bushes.

This retaining wall planter is attractive but look at the junk that's in there. (What were they thinking?) Should we put some perennials in there to give it some "bones"? I can see some wave petunias or sweet potato vine looking nice - spilling over the sides. Maybe a few morning glories? What do you think? What would be a good foundation for that planter?

We put out a call for perennials and so far I've yielded black-eyed susans, lots of irises, sedum and some coneflower. I have some May Night salvia that I split that we could use here too. It's a VERY long and narrow area. My master gardener friend Kathy suggested we repeat patterns: black-eyed Susan, monarda, Salvia, coneflowers - repeat. Problem is, not sure we have enough to fill the area.

All of these flowers are donated - and there's good and bad that goes with that ! I've had offers of snow on the mountain (no way!) and lots of invasive ground cover stuff. I hate to be picky but do you really want plants that are going to wear out their welcome?

Please share your ideas!