With dry weather finally here I’ve been busy trying to find a way to keep my pollinator’s bed from becoming a swamp the next time it rains. This bed sits in a low part of my yard and the water collects in one side of it. The flowerbed is divided into two parts, the left and right. Typically the left side is the drier side until you round the corner and from there is stays a little damp. The right side of the bed has always been the swampy side. The bed itself is very flat and almost feels one dimensional so I decided to do something about that.
Rainwater runs down the yard and into the flowerbed every time it storms. My first thought was to install some plastic landscape edging on the upper side to keep the water out. I’ve used the edging before and it wasn’t horrible to work with but my gut told me to build the bed up. Even if I installed the edging I was afraid my plants would still suffer. It wasn’t necessarily the fact that the water was running into the bed but that drainage was also non existent. And my flowers were showing it.
Most coneflowers do not like prolonged soggy roots
My gorgeous coneflowers took a huge hit this Spring because of all the rain we received. Luckily now that things have dried out a bit the cones are coming around. Because this is an ongoing issue though it’s bound to happen again unless I fix the problem. So the hubs and I chose to build the entire bed up and dig a moat around the perimeter. At first I wasn’t sure if the moat idea would work but the night after we redid the left side of the bed it poured. When I checked it the following morning the built up bed looked fine but the back corner of the moat was filled with water. It did it’s job!
Moats aren’t just for castles anymore
As for the flowerbed itself, I removed all but four plants on the left side. Yes, I realize I just planted this stuff last Fall and it’s not ideally the right time to transplant but this is what I do. I don’t follow the rules, I make my own occasionally and sometimes I get lucky and sometimes I get mad. So I’ve taken out the plants and used my garden claw to grind up the ground. I incorporated some new mushroom soil I bought (two scoops from the local nursery) into the existing ground. Because of all the prep work that went into this bed last fall and possibly because of my prior lasagna technique, the soil looks pretty darn good. Woohoo!
We used the dirt from the moat and the mushroom soil to build up the flowerbed until it was a mound that looked like my vision. At this point we replanted the plants and started on the other side. It took us about a week to finish the bed because of rain and us getting busy but we finally did and I love the results!
It’s amazing how much nicer the flowers look and how the entire flowerbed commands your attention now. I plan to cover the entire bed with newspaper and mulch soon, too like I did here. Down the road I plan to divert the water collected in the moat to our lower pond. But that’s another project for another day. 😉