Mom made a perennial bed around the front of the house. In the ten years since she passed, the bed had been neglected and gotten root bound. I decided it would be easier to move the entire bed than to try to thin out the existing one.
The old vegetable garden is a rectangle 30'x90'. I put it back to grass this year, but it is a real pain to mow. It is the biggest unbroken section of grass in the entire 1/2 acre yard. Hm... Why not? I could put the perennials there. They would have lots of room to expand, and they would fill a goodly part of that disgustingly large mowing area. So... how should I do this?
I have always loved fish ponds. Perhaps I could make the flowerbed large enough to contain a koi pond. I also love weeping willows. I know their roots seek water, so maybe I could put a willow in the low spot, near the ditch that always floods. Unfortunately, that's awfully near the water main, so I'll need to check with someone before I buy the tree. I don't need willow roots breaking through the PVC pipe.
Oh, I could put lilac and mock orange bushes out there! In the spring, when the bedroom windows are open, we would be greeted in the morning with the fragrance of lilacs and oranges. There would be room for some tall Pampas grass, too. I'm really starting to like this plan! I can see myself pouring over the Gurney Seed Catalog all winter dreaming about things to put in this flower bed. The "legs" of the keyhole can be used for herbs and annuals. Now which herbs?...
A friend told me that you can mark the layout for a fishpond by sprinkling flour on the ground. It works as your "chalk." Okay. I took a five pound bag of flour and roughed in the shape of my keyhole flower bed. To fine tune the layout, I pulled the garden hose to my flour lines and smoothed out the circle. Once the shape pleased me, I started digging the first arc of the circle. This would be the peony bed. About three feet in from the first circle, I dug a second arc for the irises. For an automatic watering system, I pulled the drain hose from the basement sump pump to the top of the circle.
The first arc is roughly 25' in diameter. It is about 30' from Fisher Street. Whether I plant a willow tree or something else, there will be room for a tree to spread and not shade the flowers. There are other trees in the property line on the north. The black walnut will shade my flowers during some of the afternoon, but I don't think it will be a problem.
Next spring I will see about putting the koi pond inside the circle of irises. It will be a little off center so there will be room for a bench beside it. I can see it now, sitting on the bench, a big glass of iced tea nearby and a book in my lap, listening to the breeze in the trees and watching the fish in the pond. Doesn't that sound like a great way to spend a morning?
But I still have to get there. I dug up all but one row of peonies from the front of the house. (I do want some peonies blooming next spring!) After planting 2 dozen bushes in the new spot, I still gave a wheelbarrow load of peonies to the neighbors. Next came the irises, and it was a similar story.
The day lilies that are left will be moved to line the new flagstone walk. Next spring, I will put in some yew or other foundation plantings. I wonder if holly grows in Kansas?