{Gardening} Raised Bed for Blueberries

Doug and I were always planning on adding more fruits and vegetables to our yard and this summer saw the addition of the raised bed for blueberries. After our sidewalks were ripped out and fixed last summer, we started looking at rocks and what we'd need for a raised bed. This is our front yard and it gets full sun and is a perfect spot for blueberries.

Over a few days time, due to not wanting to overload our SUVs with the 45 pound blocks (each), we brought home these beautiful stones from Menard's. They have a great combination of tan, gray, and red that tie into our house, sidewalks, and foundation stones that we have throughout the yard. As you can see in the photo below, this is right across the sidewalk from Lily's Garden (before the rocks were added). 

Doug bought two varieties of blueberries (they will hopefully ripen at two different times, much like my dad's bushes do). The front one, below, produced a handful of berries this summer. The little guy, that is hard to see in the back, didn't do anything yet but he's tiny and did, luckily, put some growth on. We only put two bushes in the raised bed because they will get large! 

The soil we used in a mixture of dirt, manure, and peat moss. On top is a thick layer of pine needles that act as a mulch. In Missouri, we typically don't mulch with pine needles (I've noticed some southern climates due pine needles for flowers) but they are great for blueberries. 

When I posted some of these photos on Facebook, my friends said they didn't have luck with blueberries. I'm hoping we do. My dad has over 10 bushes and has had a lot of good luck with them. I hope that due to his help getting the soil mixture right and by providing us the pine needles, they will grow well next year and continue to supply blueberries. Lily just loves to go out and pick them. We taught her years ago to pick the ripest berries and she's done a great job since. 

{Lily's Garden} Before and After

Isn't a Before and After always fun to see?! While we haven't worked on our house inside this year, I spent a lot of time outside. Luckily, the weather was great for gardening this year and I only lost a couple of plants (one being a questionable plant to begin with). I made the bed this Spring, edged it with bricks (once, then went back with more), and planted a bunch of new plants. 

The large purple bush in the middle is a miniature butterfly bush. I love the size it is now and hope it doesn't get much bigger. The bright pink flowers are vinca, which I will probably remove at some point but it was a great plant for the summer and grew well. There are two yellow double coneflowers (right next to the vinca and in between the butterfly bush and fence on the right), purple coneflower, white coneflower (or maybe a daisy, not sure), and a few different sedums. The low pink flowers in the front are ice plant and they bloomed all summer. There's a hens and chicks in the mix too but he may be moved elsewhere as the other sedums are trying to cover him. I put the pot in the back to fill in the back corner before the butterfly bush grew in. 

I love how it all looks now the brick edging is complete, the grass is gone, and the rocks are in. We also added a couple mirrored, small gazing globes that found a temporary home in the bed this summer (who knows where they will end up!). The bees and butterflies couldn't be happier with these flower too! 

For more garden photos, check out the tour of Lily's Garden or all of the posts here. I hope to have more before and after garden posts soon.

{Lily's Garden} The Rocks

As you saw in the Garden Tour post (and above), we now have rocks in the garden instead of the grass. It looks a million times better. Doug killed the grass and then covered everything with the black landscaping fabric. It took a lot of piecing together only because of the shape of the beds, but we have plenty left over for the back yard project this fall and next summer (more on that later!). He stapled it into the ground and then we ordered rocks from our local landscaping company. 

Below is a view from our deck in the back yard. You can see everything is covered and ready for rocks!  

Below shows that we didn't order enough rocks the first time! We ended up doing a 50/50 mix of small (pea size) and 1" creek gravel. It works well. I hope to eventually find some great stones for stepping stones but want them to be natural, not the square kind from a box store. Some day! I have three right now from when we bought the foundation stones. 

It took Doug some time in shoveling and moving the gravel around the garden. We did the first half one day and the second half another day as this seemed to happen on some of the hottest days this summer. 

If you notice, I went back after the rocks were down and added additional brick edging to all of the beds. I started adding one additional line of broken bricks to every bed and then still had some left over, so I went and did a third on the big, back bed. It allowed me to get all of our broken bricks out of the driveway. The extra full size bricks are now stepping stones but may be used elsewhere in the future. I was left with maybe 15 random bricks that had too much mortar left on them to use, so they will be put behind the dog house to keep a certain someone from digging to China. 

{Lily's Garden} Garden Tour

As our summer comes to a close (we're both teachers), we can successfully mark one big item off of our never-ending to do list... Lily's Garden is finished! Well, as finished as a garden can be, right?!? Enough chit chat, let's have the pictures do the talking! 

This is what happens when bird seed is allowed to go crazy (above). The sunflowers are bigger than my hands and the birds are loving it! There is a bird feeder in the mess, along with the now empty feeder I just moved. The birds are eating fresh seeds though, so I'm not worried about their feeders.

This is the back corner that is mostly shaded. It has four hydrangeas, as seen above, along with some hostas. There are two regular, mop head varieties, one climbing hydrangea, and one oak leaf. The red daylily is where the light typically ends as it goes above and beyond our house. The bird bath was my grandmothers and it needs a new bowl/bath piece as the original broke in half. 

Up close with the climbing hydrangea. Check out all of its feelers as it connects to anything. I've been slowly getting it to grow up the trellis that we put up a couple of years ago. I hope next year will be a big growth year for it, as it will be its third year and typically it takes three years for them to really grow.

Doug bought me the gazing globe from our local nursery. I had been eyeing it all summer and he got it for me as a reward for all of the hard work I've been doing this summer in the garden (mainly the bricks). It helps brighten up the lily bed as my poor little sedum seems to want to die and the lilies are done for the summer. 

These two are from the same plant (or they definitely appeared to be that way!) and I just loved the colors of the one opening up. The garden is full of bees and I don't use any pesticides, although that may be needed to kill the moles that have come back. I try to make it healthy for our bees and butterflies.

Above is from one of the newest beds, click here for what it looked like at the beginning of summer.

I'll be back later for some comparison photos and some detailed posts. I already have some plans for next year that luckily aren't too major. I'm planning on splitting some of the larger plants and putting some in the back yard. As for some of the beds, they'll be getting some extra plants next year to help keep some color going after the day lilies are done. But overall, I love how this year has seen so much growth in every area possible. New beds, reusing more of our recycled bricks, and finally getting rid of all of the grass with the rocks. I just love it, don't you!?


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