My Mailbox Garden

My Mailbox Garden

I did a post a while back on my front yard garden spots where I wrote about my mailbox garden and felt today that I needed to update what I’ve done since then. I really haven’t done much, as far as adding plants goes, but I can definitely tell you that a little mulch goes a long way toward making a garden look great! Aside from the water retention benefit and the addition of organic mulching cleans up an area. It prevents weeds and helps cultivate the ground for your plants. Aesthetically it changes everything about the garden. Here is a pre-mulch picture of the mailbox garden that wasn’t weeded yet. It looks pretty ratty. The plants themselves look good but the area around them looks very unkempt. Weeds are sprouting up all over last year’s mulch and are taking away from what the flowers are there to do.

Here’s a similar shot of the mailbox garden after the mulch has been added. The mulch makes the plants stand out much better than they did before. I used the old newspaper trick underneath the mulch as a weed barrier. I just laid down newspaper and wet it before putting the mulch over it. The newspaper breaks down over time helping to enrich the soil and taking care of many of the weeds. There will still be some weeds popping up close to the plants themselves but these weeds will be far more manageable. I don’t like using landscape fabric unless I will positively never plant anything in that location. Newspaper is easy to cut through and extremely easy to come by!

In my mailbox garden I used drought tolerant hardy perennials to create a low-maintenance garden. I wanted something nice to look at that didn’t need much care. I picked two ‘May Night’ Salvia nemorosa plants, two Verbena plants, one Achillea millefolium and four bearded irises. One of the verbenas died last year but the ‘Purple Homestead’ verbena has thrived. I highly recommend ‘Purple Homestead’ verbena for a low growing, drought tolerant, hardy, groundcover-like flowering plant. I say groundcover-like because its spread is somewhat limited to about a 2-3 foot spread but with several plants you could easily make a nice display. It propagates easy, so that makes me a big fan!



‘May Night’ Salvia nemorosa is another of my personal favorites. Yes, it’s very popular right now for some very good reasons. It’s another drought tolerant, hardy perennial that looks fantastic. It repeat blooms and just loves to grow in Tennessee. The flower stalks add visual interest and height to my mailbox garden. There are many variations of Salvia nemorosa and they are all worth a look for your garden!

Our Achillea millefolium or Yarrow is another good fit for this little garden. It matches the other plants drought properties and will provide you with offshoots that you can move to other places in your gardens. It’s foliage is pretty cool too. You can see how the Salvia and the Yarrow fit together in the mailbox garden.

Here is one of the many irises in our yard. It is one of a handful that I put in the mailbox garden. Right now this is the only one that is flowering by the mailbox. Given time I’m sure they will all bloom.

In this last picture you can see the spot where the other verbena should be. I’ll replace that soon with another to match the right side. Not everything will live all the time. What I like about this little garden is the combination of textures and colors. Each plant has a different type of flower and foliage. From the fern-like leaves of the achillea to the straight and pointed irises each one has different aspects that work well together. When you observe the flowers you can see the cloud-like flowering plane of the achillea is broken by the spires of the flowering salvia. The verbena takes over the ground in the front while the iris floats above the clouds of achillea.

I have plans to eventually expand this area beyond the light pole to the left but that project will have to wait. I still have many things to do before I can tackle that one!

Dave

Dave has written GrowingTheHomeGarden.com since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 5 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. A real nice mailbox garden…
    Our mailbox gets little sun so it is difficult to find something which blooms in the shade…

  2. Great work Dave, and good plant choices for a sunny area. I love the homestead purple and may night, both excellent plants. I tried the achillea in previous gardens with mixed results. It seemed to get weedy looking and became very sprawling. We are trying the red ones now, so far so good. The verbena spreads alot, doesn’t it? I know how you like to take cuttings, a bit of a hobby, but the verbena can be divided now, my favorite way to propagate, without you having to buy another plant, just water well until it takes hold.

  3. Very pretty. I wish I had a mailbox garden. Just a box on the side of a highway. I’ve tried to decorate it but not much success. The mulch does add so much!

    Frances, I did not know you could divide the Homestead so I am thinking I need to get dividing! Thanks.

  4. How pretty. I need to thank you now. I have been trying to figure out where to plant a new Peggy Martin rosebush. Now I have the answer. By the mailbox of course.

  5. The mulching did make a huge difference! It looks great! I have several of the ‘May Night’ salvia and really enjoy their long-lasting blooms.

  6. Great looking mailbox Dave. Now I know what plants I can use as my mailbox is in sun all day. Gets really hot too.

  7. I love the monochromatic look of light and dark purples. It’s a soothing look for a hot space. You did a great job putting it together. That verbena is such a great plant. I spreads like crazy in my garden.

  8. Thanks Skeeter,

    There are probably quite a few things you could do in the shade, like some of those hostas around your patio. Heucheras and impatiens would be good also.

    Frances,

    I do like taking cuttings, you can make more plants from them than division and in a yard that had nothing to start with more is always better! I’ll probably wait until next year to divide the verbena but I may encourage it to layer.

    Tina,

    I can see where that would be tough to garden off of a highway. I’d be tempted to use rock and gravel around the mailbox and maybe some sedums. Low maintenance stuff where you won’t have to be out around the highway much.

    Thanks Deb,

    I just got my wife a rose bush for Mother’s Day, although we won’t plant it by the mailbox it would make a good spot for one!

    Robin,

    The ‘May Night’ Salvia’s are great! It is an easy plant that just loves to shower you with blooms.

    Thanks Lola,

    Those plants should work for you. They like the sun that’s for sure!

    Anna,

    For some reason I seem to gravitate toward the blue and purple colors. Different shades but cooler and softer than the reds. I did put several reds in my rain garden that I’ll have to show off eventually once the plants get a little farther along.

  9. Very nice! I wish my mailbox were on my side of the road. lol Mine is across from my driveway (everyone’s on our street has to be on that side) – and I have a very small area to plant a mailbox garden. And, it’s a very wet area much of the time. Oh well. No mailbox garden for me, I guess. lol

    I’ve got to try newspaper under the mulch this year. Last year the weeds overtook all of my gardens, and I jsut gave up! lol

  10. Gypsy Sunrise,

    You might be able to put out some daylilies to enhance the mailbox a little. They aren’t very picky with the soil. Newspapers are very useful under the mulch! Weed fabric will protect the garden from weeds for one season then weeds will pop up as they get blown in by the wind. For me it’s cheaper and better for the soil to use those papers!

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