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!