Gosh, what a wonderful day! I visited my parents, as I do on most Sundays, and it just so happened that my mother was making quite a project of the flower beds today. I drove into the driveway and saw two huge trays of flowers. One of Mexican heather, the other of vibrant orange dahlietta. It wasn't long before Mom and I were planting them between the rose bushes in the otherwise empty front flower bed, and then a large group of us (Mom, Dad, Grandpa, and Betty [grandpa's girlfriend], and I) tackled the bed in the back yard.
We learned someone else's lesson while prepping the back flower bed. If you're going to put down tons of river rock in your "flower bed" so you don't have to deal with planting anything, you really should put down landscaping fabric first if you ever want to grow anything there again.... or if you care at all about others who may wish to grow something there. It all just sinks into the ground. We raked out huge piles of rocks before we decided to just level it out, add topsoil, and just deal with what was left. After much debate as to how to best arrange the bed, we had all of the plants laid out. Mom and I armed ourselves with spades and small pots of compost and started digging holes. It was hell digging through that rocky soil! There's no way we could have gotten them all out by raking, so we were glad we'd decided to just deal with it spot by spot. We made sure every flower had some loose soil around it with minimal rock and a scoop of compost, and this is how we slowly populated the bed.
Mom kept thanking me, but I was absolutely loving it. Even digging through rocks wasn't so horrible once we saw the results. She then had me pot a small fern and two remaining dahliettas that she intended to put on the front porch, but she ended up sending it (along with one spare dahlietta) home with me as a thank-you. I felt a little bad, because I know she loves ferns, but she insisted and I have to admit that I really thought it was a lovely combination.
I arrived home to discover that Chad had erected the trellis for the garden (YAY!) and planted some bushy little perennials in the narrow bed on the west side of the house. I presented him with the spare dahlietta and he decided that he would also plant it, with some purple flowers we have, in that bed as well. He's doing such a great job with the beds! I'm going to take a ton of pictures when they really start taking off.
Next week, I'll take two Red Robin tomato plants and two strawberry plants to my parent's house. They didn't do a vegetable garden this year since they just moved to that house, and I know it'll cheer them up to have some cherry tomatoes and strawberries on the patio.
I also happened to snag all of the nursery pots... They were a pretty bright green and incredibly sturdy for "disposables," so I'm going to use them next year for my seedlings. No more ugly, flimsy pots!