Step 4: Put back some of the dirt you took out.

Here’s the site 24 hours after the rain stopped.

post soak 2

The soil remains quite squelchy, as it is supposed to, but the kids and the mosquitoes must get over the idea of a pond (maybe later, elsewhere).

Stepping forward a few days, I ordered my soil amendments, which arrived last Friday.

the truckload

This is four cubic yards of 60% composted horse manure and 40% decomposed granite. It’s gorgeous stuff, if you get turned on by dirt.

I added back a layer of excavated clay soil, then a layer of manure-granite mix, and ran over it lightly with the tiller, taking care not to let the tines plunge in too deeply (I don’t want to hurt the big tree roots).

grit layer

I smoothed all this over with the back of a rake and planted it up. Because most of the plants are dormant, there’s not much to see at the moment. Here’s a plot sketch (don’t judge):

rain garden first planting

I’ll mulch a bit later, but life won’t be happy here if I order mulch before I’ve got the pile of compost spread.

A word about Ajuga: This is a plant I have grown to love. When I first moved to this house, I hated it; it grew everywhere and I couldn’t get rid of it fast enough. But time and other responsibilities brought me a fresh perspective on this helpful groundcover.  I don’t do anything to cultivate it, except throw a clump down where I think I might want it to grow (honestly, that’s it). It’s evergreen, and it chokes out most weeds. It looks after itself. It survives brutally hot, dry summers, looking a bit wilted (like everything else, including humans), but perks right up after a rain. It needs no mowing. It sprouts little sprigs of blue flowers in spring. And it looks better than mulch. So I’m adding plugs here and there to the rain garden as I get segments planted. I hope I’ll have lush greenness before very long.


1 thought on “Step 4: Put back some of the dirt you took out.

  1. Pingback: Garden log, 3.31.14 | MissingHenryMitchell

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