Revitalizing an Old Flowerbed

Mark and I are slowly tackling neglected yardwork at our home.  Our latest project is a flowerbed that runs along the narrow west-facing side of our house.   We have done absolutely nothing to this bed for the past three years.  And I suspect that the last time this it had flowers in it was back when we lived here almost 20 years ago.

I was eager to make this an early project  for us because it’s located close to where we park.  I wanted to see something colorful and happy when arrived home after a hard day of work, instead of an unattractive reminder of work to be done.  –I also thought this would be a quick and easy project I could use to test out several new-to-me annuals that are supposed to be sun tolerant.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  You can view our YouTube video of this project here.  I’ve included information about the plants we used at the bottom of this article.

How to revitalize a neglected flowerbed:

  1.  Remove old mulch, leaves, and debris from the top of the bed and place in your compost pile.
  2. Remove any dead, struggling or unwanted plants.  Relocate, give away, compost or trash as indicated.
  3. Trim away dead foliage from existing plants.  Lightly prune if needed.
  4. Evaluate the soil.  At the very least you will want to add fresh, quality compost to your existing soil and mix it in well.  You may even want to remove some of the tired old soil and replace with a fresher planting mix and compost.  Be careful when digging around existing plants so that you don’t disturb larger roots.  Cutting through ‘hair-like’ roots is usually not a problem, but damaging larger roots can harm the existing plant.
  5. Evaluate the planting site and determine sun exposure as well as the amount of protection from heat in the summer and cold north wind in the winter.  Also evaluate the bed for soil condition and soil drainage.  Choose new plants appropriate for these conditions.  Proper plant selection will largely determine the success of your gardening endeavors.
  6. Taking mature plant height, foliage and flowering color, and texture into account, arrange your bedding plants in the flowerbed.  When you are happy with the design, plant.  Use a starter mix or planting fertilizer when you pop your new plants into the soil.  Water well.  If bedding plants are ‘leggy’ or overgrown, consider trimming them back at this time.  Doing so will produce fuller foliage as the plant matures.
  7. Mulch well, making sure not to cover the stems or wood of bedding plants, trees or shrubs.
  8. Maintenance.  Keep watering throughout the season.  New plants will need careful attention during the first year.  If you are unable to water daily especially in the summer, install a drip system and a timer.  If you have planted lots of annual color, fertilize at least once a month.  As always inspect your plants regularly for water needs, fertilization needs, insect damage or signs of disease.  Treat any of these issues promptly.

Notes on our video:  The video footage we shot where I explained what plants we were using in our flowerbed turned out to be unusable.  So here it is.  We planted Black Rose Tattoo Vinca, Bordeaux Supertunia and Diamond Frost Euphorbia.  According to the plant tags, all of these purport to have the ability to tolerate ‘full sun’.  I want to see if this means full Texas sun, so planting them in a bed that faces west will be a real test.  After seeing the finished project, I do realize that the bed overall would look best if I had planted a small shrub in between the existing crepe myrtles.  However, we had a hard enough time planting bedding plants between the crepe myrtle roots, that I don’t think we could have made space for something with a larger root ball.



Leave a Reply