Last week we a few rainy days. And was the rain ever welcomed! We have had one of the driest Mays and springs that I can remember. Before the rain came, I managed to fit in this project. I don’t have a before of this garden, but I was able to take bricks from it to create a mow strip in another area.
In an effort to lower or automate some of our yard maintenance, I have been Installing mowing strips around the gardens. Mowing strips are a great way to add interest to a garden edge and add a practical barrier between grass, weeds or even garden beds that you want to keep separate. This is a small herb garden that I like to keep near the house for convenience. It gets quickly overgrown at the edges and needs frequent edging. Also, the shape makes getting in close to mow around it difficult, exacerbating the issue.
These bricks were around a small bed in the front yard stacked in one single layer and a second partial layer. I am really not a hug fan of this style, especially with our house.
I eliminated a small unruly ring of gorgeous field stones from around a tree in the back and was able to free up a few more to redo the bed in the front yard. The hubs took on this project and straightened the ring around the tree so that it had a perpendicular ending to the walk and driveway. This eliminated the need for some weed whacking. The previous shape was more of a circle offset against the edges of the drive and walkway, creating an awkward little triangle of unruly grass that the mower could not reach.
While he worked on that project, I got started on the mowing strip around my herb garden. I chose to start at the left side that butts against the house and a stone pathway. I knew that I would have more room for adjustment at the other end where I could adjust the curve. I dug down and created a nice flat bed and checked the depth of the bricks regularly. I added soil or dug out more, as needed, checking that the brick was sitting flush and level to the grass and the previous brick.
I trenched out the shape as I went along, loosely following the curve that was already in place and adjusting it to fit the amount of bricks that I had. This garden had only a trenched edge previously and was constantly being encroached by weeds. Ideally a mowing strip should be installed over a layer of gravel. The gravel layer will help to keep the stones from sinking over time. I know from past experience that it takes many years for this to occur and since this may be temporary, I left the gravel out for now. I have plenty of gravel on hand (a post for another day) and it won’t be a big deal to add it later.
I had to tweak my design a bit near the end so that I would be able to fit full bricks and make sure they were flush against the house. I lost a bit of garden at the end, but I gained some in the middle. I also find that the new shape is much more interesting and has great movement.
I planted a couple of my basil plant starts and an eggplant and moved my thyme over. Oh, and I found St. Francis in the shed and added him too. I plan on adding another thyme so that I can dry all I need for the year and never have to purchase the stuff again.
This garden has such wonderful soil. The herbs I planted last year had tripled and quadrupled in size and were crowding each other out. Here is a shot after I moved the mint away from the sage, oregano and lavender.