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Do It Yourself

Muddy Flowers

by Mireille Bourgeois

I don’t really want to blog about this because it makes me sad, but I do need a little advice. This novice gardner has experienced her first bump in the road. My first flowers may be ruined before the tulips even flower. Please note: I *may* be being dramatic… wait until you see the sad pictures below. But first, here is what they looked like before. Just take it in, those colors. Just lovely.

I planted various bulbs last December. Not knowing what I was doing, I just dug a hole and dropped them in like the package said. I hadn’t dug out a nice flower bed, or really thought ahead of time about what I may want to add to this area next spring. I was amazed when they started growing and proud. The hyacinths came first. Those gorgeous purple flowers growing into fluffy cylinders were mesmerizing. Everything was so pretty that it inspired me to dig out a flower bed around it, linking the flowers to the lilies that had previously been planted by the past owner. Below is a before shot of the flowers plopped into a really weedy and patchy front yard.

I dug around the flowers carefully, and managed to dig out a decent flower bed without damaging any of the bulbs. The flower bed still needs a good glamorous edging, but my brother the landscaper has the garden edger and he’ll hook me up with that extra oomph. NOW, the problem at hand. Our front yard is full of various types of weeds and deep root systems to match. While I dug out the bed, I revealed very dusty soil and dry-dirt loving ants everywhere. (I’m not kidding, it’s like the house is built on an ant hill and I have no idea where the nest is). The soil was so dusty that it became clear that before planting anything, I should turn the soil and mix in some nutrients. I didn’t find a single worm in the whole area. Just ants and spiders. I was happy that this new project could create a much healthier soil in front of the house and maybe reduce the amount of ants we get inside the house. So I left the bed as is until I got the proper supplies. Then it rained. A LOT. For two days.

The dry soil turned into mud very quickly and splashed with best effort all over the side of our house, but most sadly, all over my flowers. ARG! I went out after day one and tried my best to wash off the mud from the delicate flowers but really I think they are stained and still mucky. Also, it’s suppose to rain all week. SO, what do I do now? I will continue my flower bed project and hope that the healthy soil will create more absorption rather than splashing! I hope that another gentle wash of the leaves will preserve the brilliance of the flowers and their leaves.

The next problem is that I discovered holes throughout the leaves of the tulips. I sprayed them with a food-safe soap product thats suppose to keep the bugs away, but now that it’s raining, I’m not sure it’ll work. A friend of mine mentioned that ants are friends of aphids which are the number one insects that concern me as a (new) gardener. I did lots of research and read many tips from pouring boiling water onto ant nests to pouring one’s own urine on them to kill the ants. Though there are many large ant nests behind our back yard that are likely linked to all of the neighborhood’s ant problem, there isn’t a noticeable ant nest in the front yard. What I took away from this is that the best thing to do is to plant other flowers and herbs that will deter the pests from taking over.

This blog has been useful in my research.

http://www.beginner-gardening.com/garden-ants.html

It also suggests to use Diatomaceous earth for ant problems, therefore, I’m thinking about adding some of that soil into all my flower and vegetable beds before planting, but I have no idea about this soil, the drawbacks, etc. So there it is. I’m a little sad now that all my front yard flowers are muddy, and all my tulips, front yard and back yard have holes in the leaves.

My good friend Krystal said that she’s worried about my new gardening obsession. Actually WORRIED. hahaha. She says that I need to go with the flow and not take it too seriously. I will try my best to CHILL out. This is me connecting with my zen. Ohhhmmmmm.

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Muddy Flowers

  1. I wouldn’t call that a fail, you just need to cover your soil with more plants and mulch. Once it’s mulched you can gently sprinkle your flowers to rinse them. Unfortunately mulch is a fine hiding place for slugs, and that may be your problem with your tulips. You could try to lure them away with beer. Works with some guys, too.

    Posted by planthoarder | April 24, 2012, 12:59 am

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