Missed earlier posts in this series? Catch up with part one or part two.
So the new area was born once I realized that we would be expanding the side garden again next spring into part of the past summer's pig area, and once I realized that the new herb area I set up in the side garden this past spring was really not large enough even for the plants presently in it. Looking at the space we would be expanding in to, I realized that for at least the next few years, there and potentially longer, there could be a slice of space between the garden and the chicken/orchard area that could definitely be a permanent flower and herb bed.
After scoping the area out, I started making a list of all of the plants I would like to put in there. First I listed all of the plants, both flowers and herbs, currently in the lower garden. Then I included the additional ones in the side garden that weren't just duplicate herbs. Next I thought about what other plants from around the property could or should get moved in. I came up with a few that may get moved in as well as all of the bulbs and herbs you've seen from the past posts that are in the gardens currently.
I also added some new herbs/flowers to my list that I would like to try in future years: echinacea, bee balm, lemon grass, mint. Some of these are on the list to add for next spring, some are likely further down the road, and some likely will end up elsewhere than in this bed, but they were all added so that I had a list of what I might like to fit into the new bed.
Once I had a list of all of the plants I might want to put in this new bed, I did some sketching. I went back through my old pictures of the plants throughout the last couple of gardening seasons, and wrote notes about the timing of the flowers on the herbs and bulbs, how tall the plants were, how big they got, etc. This sort of information helped me decide where each plant would go, and what other plants would look good near it. My ultimate goal was to have a bed that looked good throughout the summer, not just at certain time periods. Thus I wanted to have the flowers intermixed so that the early ones weren't all clumped together, etc. I also looked at the plants in terms of splitting some of them, specifically some of the flowers, so that I had more of some of the daffodil and iris clumps if they were getting larger, especially some of the ones we like the best.
Then I measured the bed, measured some of the spacing that was and wasn't working in the existing gardens, and I sketched some more. Finally I came up with a plan of what would go where. Then I needed to wait until the pigs were gone so I could turn this grassy space into garden - ripping all of the grass and weeds out, adding some pig manure, and transplanting lots and lots of plants.
In the next and final part of this series I'll share the after pictures, of what the plan on paper translated into on the ground! I know I promised pictures this time of the finished product, but I thought a bit more explanation of the process I went through in deciding what went where was in order first!