Some time in the what feels like distant past, but really is only about 16 years ago, I build a bunch of raised beds in my yard using pressure-treated landscape timbers from Lowes. The years took their toll and the timbers deteriorated, completely rotting away in some cases. One end of one bed ended up more as a gradual rise in the grass rather than a 12″ raised bed. During the intervening years, several of the beds were overrun by weeds; in another bed, what started as a small clump of irises ended up filling much of the middle of one of the beds. While that, in itself, is not really a bad thing, I was trying to grow roses and the irises were getting in the way. Also, many of the roses I planted over the years ended up suffering from the lack of attention and, over time, ended up dying….. This is a picture from a while ago… it went downhill since this was taken… but it does give an idea of what it was like before:
What the garden needed was a refresh….
I have known for several years that the timbers needed to be replaced and at least one bed needed to be completely cleaned out… it had little trees growing in it, for goodness sake! While I could have done the work, I am not as young as I used to be and it would have taken lots of time over a long string of weekends to get it all done. [Sigh] I haven’t able to consistently find the time to WEED so how would I find the time to do a major garden project?! So I decided hire a landscaping company to do the work. I put together my Rose Bed Rebuild Plan as a page on this blog then Lara collected a list of well rated businesses off Angies List and had them look at the plan and give us an estimate. We ended up with only two estimates. While I would have liked to have had at least one more estimate, my original plan was to have the work done in later winter/early spring and it was now May…. I didn’t want to wait another year to have the work done… I had already procrastinated enough!
In addition, the soil in the beds needed a lot of attention. Last year, I had the soil tested by the NC Dept of Ag and found that the existing soil had a really low pH. Two of the bed were overgrown with weeds. I also looked at the bed that had the two The Fairy bushes and the White Pet and, steeling myself, decided that those are not roses that I wanted to grow there; they were not giving me joy. I had managed to root a The Fairy in the bed with the Souv. de la Malmaison so I still have that rose. So I decided they had lived their time and decided to just get rid of them. That meant that I had 3 out of 6 of the rose beds completely removed and refilled with fresh soil.
In the end, the work that I requested was a little more than just rebuilding the beds as described in the Rose Bed Rebuild plan. I also had an herb bed next to the house which had been taken over by the Cherokee Rose. Because this bed is against the side of the house, I decided I wanted the walls of that bed to be stone rather than wooden landscape timbers. There was also another bed, originally for herbs but now has tulips in it (Lara loves tulips)…. It does still have two long-lived lavender plants that Muir planted 16+ years ago.
Next time I will go into who we hired and how it worked out…..