It is finally consistently warm enough here in Seattle to plant! A few weekends ago, my roommate and cohort Jess and I went to Swanson's Nursery in Ballard to pick up the plants we had decided on for the front bed.
We decided on a small shrub variety of rhododendron, two types of daphne (one winter blooming and one summer blooming), kaleidoscope Abelia, Calicarpa dichotona (summer snow beauty), as well as a few succulents for a rock garden and two lavender plants we had in pots.
Once we bought the plants, we started by laying out how we wanted the whole thing to look (which I forgot to take a picture of, because that would be helpful). Once you achieve the look you want, make sure to give each plant adequate spacing per the planting instructions from the nursery. Plant selection is a place where most of your money will probably go. Which also means it is where you can save or spend the most based on if you can catch a sale as well as the type of plants you choose. I used the Sunset Gardening Guide & the vast expertise of the Swanson's Nursery employees to determine what would work.
After the layout is complete, start from one end of your bed and dig a hole for each plant that is slightly bigger and deeper than the pot it came in. Remove the plant from its plastic pot by compressing the sides, taking care not to pull it out by the base if at all possible.
We felt our soil could use a little oomf so we added a soil conditioner around each plant and then covered it with the bed soil. At this point, just repeat until you have planted your whole bed! The last step will be to give everything a good watering.
We also decided to include a small rock garden in our bed at the place where our gutters splash down. We used extra rocks from the side of our house and planted a few succulents which we hope will spread throughout the rocks to add another delightfully Seattle touch.
Additionally we added a few lovely pots on our front porch for added seasonal color. The process for these guys is pretty similar to planting the bed
To pick out the plants I wanted, I looked through the pictures on Pinterest as well as on the Better Homes and Gardens website. You'll start by filling your pots with potting soil almost to the top and compress it down. Then remove each plant from it's plastic pot and gently break apart the roots before nestling it into a small hole and pressing the soil around it. Repeat until you've filled the pot, adding more potting soil so it reaches the top of the pot. As before, you'll want to water everything well.
This brings us to the end of my Landscaping on a Budget series! The total cost of potting soil, compost, plants and planters comes to around $400 with approximately 15 hours of labor total. We ended up spending the bulk of the money on plants and were able to get the bags of soil ($4-$6 each for local & organic!) and pots on sale (25-30% off) at our Fred Meyer. This is the place, I feel, where you can have the most control over the budget by looking for plants sales and doing the leg work to get the plants you want for a price that works for you. We didn't end up having time to wait for a big sale at our nursery but many have mailing lists so if you aren't too picky about timeline you really can stretch your budget.
Let's get connected! I love to hear from you guys about the amazing gardening projects you are working on! Show it to me with #SpringCleanBetaTester via twitter, facebook and pinterest