The side of my house visible from the street used to be called the Yuck Side. It's claims to fame were several utilities, a huge rain barrel, and a massive bleeding heart named Fred.
I assembled this wooden screen from plywood that I painted and embellished with decorative cabinet knobs and my favorite Dr. Seuss quote. The thyme was supposed to cascade over the top but it died, instead.
Frustrated and needing an outlet, I poured my anger and disappointment into an art project. If I couldn't fix the problem, I'd find an artistic way to cover it up while I worked out a real solution. The screen was a personal challenge. Would I really make it and then stick pictures of it on the Internet? If I could pour my energy into something purely decorative and slightly weird, surely I could figure out a way to create a beautiful bed from a hideous mess.
So I did.
This bed was full of weeds, ragged anemones that only looked good in the spring, persicaria (Painter's Palette), and an assortment of oddballs I couldn't find a home for in the main garden.
While my screen served to horrify and confuse, I began to research and plan. Starting in fall 2012, I widened the bed and added a couple hundred pounds of compost. I interplanted the bleeding heart with summer blooming Asiatic lilies to add interest when Fred had gone dormant. Secured to decorative metal stakes, they grow up through the bleeding heart foliage and help hide the utility boxes.
I thought these were going to be a deep pinkish red.
Added this spring, the handmade stakes from Battle Hill Forge are as beautiful as the lilies.
I put the stakes in place once the lilies broke dormancy.
'Buttered Popcorn' day lilies and phlox were added to help hide the rain barrel we call the Big Daddy.
Delta Dawn and Laura phlox
White mist flower, maltese cross (lychnis chalcedonica), Painter's Palette (persicaria virgniana), and more day lilies grow easily here. The maltese cross and the phlox clash but I don't mind. They're on opposite sides of the rain barrel so it's no big deal. At least not to me.
A newly added birdhouse
I decided to fight fire with fire and added native obedient plant to the weedy area next to the air conditioning units. It overtook the weeds and has filled the space completely.
It blooms in late summer and is a pollinator magnet.
Fall blooming 'Starman' geraniums and white mist flower grow in front of the rain barrel.
Toad lilies from a friend fill this area in the fall.
To protect my newest variegated toad lily from the rabbits, I covered it with a mesh colander. The colander provides light while keeping it safe.
This owl reminds me to keep the newly planted scutellaria (Downy skullcap) moist.
As for all those knobs, I found a blacksmith on Etsy who made me twisted iron rods with holes in them. I used a little Dremel saw to cut off the extra metal rod sticking out the back of the knob and secured them into the metal poles with waterproof adhesive. I now have 18 one-of-a-kind plant stakes.
I used them to mark any spot that needs special attention.
These were very easy to make.
I even used them along with a few wrapped iron rods to create a little barrier so my honeysuckle vine isn't chopped by the lawn mower.
I used the fox knob to scare off the rabbits. I think it's working.