We got about 3/4" of rain Friday, which softened up the ground enough that I could do a little digging. The first item on my agenda was to improve the soil in Teresa's Charleston Garden, which is still under construction. The Charleston Garden is a one-foot strip of dirt between our driveway and the property line, where we put up a little iron fence. The soil there was red clay, packed down hard from forty years of not being worked, and littered with rocks and bits of concrete and gravel from when the driveway was built.
I hauled a couple of cartloads of compost from my pile and worked it into the red clay, then added several bags of black topsoil and turned it again, until I had a rich crumbly mixture, the likes of which I haven't seen since I moved from South Carolina twenty-one years ago. I didn't know how to dig without throwing all my weight down onto the shovel. The first plant to go in was a Camelot Foxglove. We are holding off on the rest to see if any more rain falls.
Feeling more energetic about gardening than I have in months, I then decided to tackle the front bed, which has been a complete and total disaster this summer. Normally we plant impatiens there, but we didn't have the money to buy a bunch of annuals, which was just as well because they would have all burned to death in the heat, but their absence left big gaping holes of nothing but baked red clay and it looked terrible.
I got some more topsoil and worked it into one section, divided my coreopsis and spread it all around the back of the sunny part in a curving band, then divided the several clumps of Stella D'Oro daylilies that have been growing all over the yard until I decided what I wanted to do with them. These went in front of the coreopsis. The idea is that the Stellas will bloom early, then when their blooms are gone, the coreopsis will be in bloom. I then divided and spread out some asters and planted two big spaces with them for fall color, and set out three balloon flowers nearby for more late summer color.
I had so many plants from my divisions that I ran out of space for the coreopsis and asters, and had to put them in the back. I do need some more stellas, however, or maybe something else to wrap around the other side of the bed. It's not going to be the most exciting bed in the world, the plant choices are about as imaginative as those made by the Department of Transportation, and having so many stellas isn't the best option because once they quit blooming, their foliage isn't all that striking, but it is better than bare dirt, and as I get some money later, I can intersperse things that bloom at different times for more variety.
Finally, a layer of mulch (you can see in the photo where I ran out) and my bed is half done.