When I moved into our home nearly 19 years ago, I was eager to create a lush garden, but like most new homeowners with a single income and a 7-month-old baby, money was TIGHT!
I quickly became queen of the free plants. I was happy to take in anyone’s unwanted plants as they thinned out their gardens. Irises, daylilies, hostas, and liriope/lily turf where widely available to me at what time.
I had long been an avid Saturday morning PBS fan. This Old House and The Victory Garden taught me everything I knew about gardening. Of course, my friend Martha taught me a lot too. So I took my garden hose and arranged it in an attractive curve and laid out my first garden bed in my front yard.
I took all that free liriope and divided it up into little chunks and used it to plant a sweeping border, separating the garden from the yard. Darn it, hindsight is 20/20. The liriope that I was given wasn’t the beautiful little plants that behave, nnnoooo, mine was the creeping lily turf that left unchecked will take over the yard and the garden. Now that I write this I see it so clearly. I was given massive clumps of the stuff, I had to saw it into smaller bits with a butcher knife, common sense should have warned me away from this plant.
Oh well, fast forward 19 years, and I have a flower bed and a yard full of this darn stuff. So this spring I waged war on the liriope. I spent days on end, digging it up. The awful stuff weighs a ton and is a tangled mess of roots. It took forever to remove.
Once I got a dent into it, I started gathering up the old bricks that I used to border the beds in the backyard. Those beds have also fallen prey to liriope and years of neglect, so stealing from them was a great option.
I quickly ran out of bricks and used the Nextdoor app to ask my neighbors for any old bricks that they had lying around. Our neighborhood is over 90 years old, so most homes have a random pile of bricks somewhere on our property, I was able to go pick up bricks all over Bellevue. Most of my bricks came from an old path that I found buried in my backyard that first summer. Score!!!!
So, 306 bricks later I have built my sweet little garden wall that is 100% higgledy-piggledy. It’s far from perfect, but I love it, and I have gotten lots of compliments from my neighbors.
Higgledy-Piggledy Wall How To: 1) Gather bricks. 2) Level the ground the best you can. 3) Stack two bricks one way, stack two more going the other way and repeat with a 3rd or 4th stack. 4) Use a 2′ level to make your brick wall level. Fill in or remove dirt to help get the bricks all nice and tidy. 5) Gather more bricks, cuz you had no idea how many bricks this would take. 6) Repeat steps 2 through 5 till you are done.
My trusty companion, Ozzy, was there with me every step of the way. He’s just not helpful hauling bricks, either are my teenagers. But, that’s ok, I have muscles again. People ask me if my kids help me with these DIY projects, nope, I don’t ask them to help. In fact, I don’t want help this is therapy for me.
Chippy and moss covered bricks are the best! Sadly, this bed gets too much sun, and the moss has all died. No surprise there, that was fun while it lasted.
Once I removed all of the liriope and the brick wall built I filled it with a mixture of garden soil and mushroom compost.
Once I had my garden soil mix in place, I got to planting. I had bought two trays full on teeny perennials for a dollar each from my local garden store, Azalea Garden Center. They were yellow leafed, root bound, and water logged. Much like my bricks they were less than perfect.
I think there are some underlying clues to who I really am in this post. LOL! Even when I have the means to pay more for things, I choose to spend less and get more. I’ve always been a trash to treasure kinda gal.
I did lay down some hard earned cash for some Foxgloves and Verbascum, and various annuals. I also replanted a few things from the back yard. The peonies and lilies weren’t getting enough sun anymore and stopped blooming a few years ago. I hope that they make it, right now the peony is looking rough.
I generally go with all red flowers, so through in a whole lot of pink in the bed is a significant growth moment for me. Red has been my favorite color forever and ever. I never thought I would like the color pink so much. I blame Grace Bonney from Design Sponge and my dear friend Kerri from @MsThingSmith.
I’ve mixed in zinnias and coleuses into what will become a perennial bed. The annuals will help fill in the bed this year while those tiny $1.00 perennials fill in. I topped it all off with a thick layer of pine bark mulch, and I’m looking forward to watching it grow.
Next up, making the front porch pretty with a load of new pillows!