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Perenial Landscaping ideas
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carrie palmer
9 Posts
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1
November 24, 2016 - 5:36 am

I finished a new patio in my yard a month back and created a few perennial garden areas which I wish to be lush thick gardens. I have amended the soil & bought all the plants & fertilizer and has used landscaping fabric & mulch around the plants. I did a thorough planning by drawing the landscape design as suggested in an article I found online http://infinitygardens.ca/blog.....ndscaping/ But I need guidance if the landscaping fabric would prevent the plants from spreading and "filling in" the garden? What kind of mulch should I opt for? I hope the plants would eventually fill in the whole garden? I prefer to avoid the heavier wood mulch we see at gas stations & home Depots? Thanks for any advise.

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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2279 Posts
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2
November 24, 2016 - 6:02 am

Hi Carol, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and all your loved ones. 

I recommend NEVER use landscape fabric.  Yes, it will keep your plants from spreading and having a lush garden.  Bark (untreated & uncolored) mulch is the best in my opinion.  It will break down to a beautiful soil amendment.  Thus, people who put down landscape fabric and then mulch will still get weeds, since broken down mulch is a perfect growing medium. Yes, your plants will reseed and grow in the mulch, just like weeds will grow. If you have landscape fabric done, your plants roots system will only go down to the landscape fabric, very shallow & unhealthy.  I always put down cardboard or THICK newspaper (black & white print non glossy) first and then the mulch.  This method will choke out the grass & weeds and feed your soil.  Shredded bark will break down faster than the chips.  Only keep the bark on the TOP of the soil. Never work it into the soil.  Let Mother Nature do her thing, decomposing matter and building a healthy soil.

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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carrie palmer
9 Posts
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November 25, 2016 - 12:06 am

Lark said
Hi Carol, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and all your loved ones. 

I recommend NEVER use landscape fabric.  Yes, it will keep your plants from spreading and having a lush garden.  Bark (untreated & uncolored) mulch is the best in my opinion.  It will break down to a beautiful soil amendment.  Thus, people who put down landscape fabric and then mulch will still get weeds, since broken down mulch is a perfect growing medium. Yes, your plants will reseed and grow in the mulch, just like weeds will grow. If you have landscape fabric done, your plants roots system will only go down to the landscape fabric, very shallow & unhealthy.  I always put down cardboard or THICK newspaper (black & white print non glossy) first and then the mulch.  This method will choke out the grass & weeds and feed your soil.  Shredded bark will break down faster than the chips.  Only keep the bark on the TOP of the soil. Never work it into the soil.  Let Mother Nature do her thing, decomposing matter and building a healthy soil.

I too wish happy thanksgiving for you and your loved ones !

Thanks for your feedback on fabric and the bark coloring. The newspaper and cardboard trick seems very interesting. Yeah I too prefer shredded bark. 

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Katie
Wisconsin, zone 5
32 Posts
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4
April 23, 2017 - 8:23 pm

Hey all, I'm looking for some advice. I bought a new house last year and it's basically a blank canvas from a garden perspective. There are some evergreen type bushes here and there but they were not maintained properly, and all other areas are just landscaping rock with no plants. That being said, I'm relatively new to gardening. I know the basics, and I want my garden beds to be almost all perennials. I am looking for advice on how to start a new perennial garden (keeping in mind I don't grow money) 🙂 I'd love to have something like Lark somewhere very down the road, but need to start with the "bones". Any suggestions?

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KeyWee54
Western Kentucky Zone 7a
616 Posts
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5
April 24, 2017 - 5:09 am

Good morning Grace!  About 13 years ago, I was where you are now ~ we moved from SE WI to Western KY and it was a blank slate as well (you should see it now!).  I have been to Lark's place and yes, it is very amazing but it is years of care to get where she is now.  

When we moved to KY, I brought about 100 perennials with me from WI, but since you can't do that, here's what I did that you CAN do:  Start planning where you want some height in the garden and then work around that.  Height can be trees, shrubs, vines, and hardscape items like trellises and arbors.  Lark has some great (and inexpensive) ideas like using old patio umbrella innards for support.  Next step is to get acquainted with other gardeners in your area and ask for starts.  I got amazing plants from local people that I still have today (and they serve to remind me of their kindness every time I look at them).  Don't worry if you don't know anyone ~ gardeners love to share, so if you see a house that obviously belongs to a gardener, ring the bell and just ask!  Next thing you can do is to search out the "dead rack" at big box garden centers (I still do this) where you can get neglected plants for pennies on the dollar.  With a little TLC, they will be fine.  And lastly, do NOT be afraid to make mistakes ~ I still do and always will.  Nowadays, it is easy to do research before you buy, but don't depend on the store to be completely honest about zone and care ~ they just want to sell to you.  And even more lastly ~ ask, ask, ask ~ you can always depend on Lark to share any knowledge and help that she can.  

Hope this helped some!!

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Katie
Wisconsin, zone 5
32 Posts
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6
April 24, 2017 - 11:05 am

Thanks for all the info. I'm still kicking myself for not transplanting some of the perennials I had at my old house, but I ran out of time on the move. I have a line of pine trees at the back edge of my yard that back up to my neighbors fence so I was planning on putting in stuff there, and then extending those gardens up the sides of my yard til it meets my house, so the backyard is surrounded by a natural fence. I grew some common perennials from seed this year so I'm hoping to use some of those to start and add from there. I have 2 small kids, hopefully by the time they are headed to high school I'll have a well established garden! 🙂 Thanks for all the advice on where to find flowers!  There are a few nurseries in the area that have really good fall deals on perennials. If I'm ever able to figure out how to download pictures I'll send some "before" pictures. Then i can send updates as I go. I'm hoping to visit Larks garden some time this summer, I'm sure it will be more than inspiring, her videos are just amazing! 

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KeyWee54
Western Kentucky Zone 7a
616 Posts
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7
April 25, 2017 - 5:01 am

It sounds like you have a good plan for what you would like to see happen in your yard, and we are excited to see the before and after pictures.  (I am not so very good at posting pictures as I always have trouble with the sizing ~ will try to do my B&A pictures and see if I have any luck:)

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Katie
Wisconsin, zone 5
32 Posts
(Offline)
8
May 25, 2017 - 1:24 pm

Hey all, I've been hardening my perennial seedlings and I plan on putting a bunch of them in the ground this weekend. Any advice on planting them? They seem so little and fragile,  I was thinking of putting 2-3 of the same plant in a group, thinking their root systems might grow together to form one healthier plant, but at the same time I don't want them to die from competing resources. Thoughts?

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Katie
Wisconsin, zone 5
32 Posts
(Offline)
9
May 25, 2017 - 1:31 pm

Just a few....Pic-7.jpgImage Enlarger

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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2279 Posts
(Offline)
10
May 27, 2017 - 7:12 am

Grace, I feel the same way with new plants.  The are so fragile compared to 'store bought' plants that have been grown in a greenhouse for a long period of time and have been fertilized a lot.  Yes, I think putting 2-3 plants in a group is a good idea.  I sometimes make a chicken wire cage for protecting them from being walked on, chewed on or having other mature plants lean on them blocking the sun.  It is a lot of work.  I keep the chicken wire up for a year, so next spring I know to look for the young plants.  Does that make sense to you?  I too have so much to plant yet and the weeds are growing so fast.  All the rain has made for very healthy plants INCLUDING the weeds. Have a great day my friend.  ENJOY!

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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