Remember forever ago when I told you about our plan to install a rain garden? Well it’s finally done! After months of delays waiting for the ground to thaw, our lot to be graded and uncooperative work schedules we put in the last of the plants and mulch this past weekend. Here’s a recap of the process from the beginning.
The free tires we had delivered while the house was still under construction last fall were already covered over with snow when we moved in back in December, so they remained where they had been dropped until spring. Luna enjoyed them as a lookout spot during this time.
Once the ground thawed, I arranged them into a semi-circle shape to act as the retaining wall at the back of the garden. We placed large rocks from around the property into the center of tires to keep the wall from shifting.
As the garden started to take shape, I quickly realized that using individual bags of soil and compost I’d purchased wasn’t going to be efficient, so I decided to order a delivery of top soil mix. Unfortunately, I had to wait for the builder to do our final grade, which was rescheduled several times and finally happened a few days before our road trip. This provided the required ‘dip’ to the area between the driveway and the garden so that water runoff will be directed toward the garden and pool there to be absorbed.
The top soil was delivered soon after we returned home, but conflicting schedules didn’t allow me to get back to the garden until several weeks later, when the hubs and I mixed in the sand and compost before spreading everything out to fill the space. There were a few spots where the tires didn’t line up just right, so we filled those with large rocks to keep the dirt and subsequent water from escaping.
Bacardi and her siblings ‘helped’ throughout this process…
We decided this was an appropriate opportunity to spread Sangria’s ashes, so we scattered her throughout the soil before planting. I also gathered a variety of rocks to create stone cairns in memory of other special pets either of us had lost. In addition to one for Sangria there is one for the hub’s dog Kenai, our previous cat Kitty Meow and my goats Daisy, Rosy and Quincy.
Next I laid out all the plants I’d purchased and collected over the last few months to decide what should go where. Once I was happy with the arrangement I set to planting, filling in the empty areas with spring bulbs. I had also purchased mulch to top the garden, but ran out and couldn’t find more of the same kind so late in the season.
Another few weeks passed and I found cedar mulch at the hardware store, so I purchased enough to finish the empty spaces and sprinkle over top of the other mulch so they’d blend together. Most of the annuals I’d planted had already died off, so I replaced them with perennials I’d purchased at a Master Gardener plant sale. I also added a clemantis on either side of the garden against the retaining wall so it will attach to the tires and cover them as it grows. Then I planted Aleutian Speedwell along the front edge of the garden. In time it should spread and act as a ground cover for the slope into the garden – part of my agreement with the hubs that the backyard will be the only landscaping that requires mowing.
As I planted, the hubs and kiddos watched from the lawn mower parked nearby. We rescued both the mower and that cool trailer attached to it from someone who planned to take it to the landfill! Both needed a little work, but it’s been super handy to have them for projects around the yard.
Once I was finished, the hubs loaded the dogs up in the utility trailer and drove them back up to the house so I could get some kiddo free shots of the finished garden. We placed our bargain bench off to the side so there’s a spot to sit and reminisce next to what I’m now calling our Memorial Rain Garden. Eventually I’ll create a paver pad for the bench along with a pathway down the hillside to it, since I plan to fill the rest of the area around the garden with local ground covers that will spread.
Here’s the view from the house, where you can see how it is situated in the low spot to collect the run off from the driveway.
And I’m happy to see that we’ve had an increase in “good insects” like this butterfly since we’ve started planting!