I’ve had a sad little corner of my back yard for too long. And, it’s time to fix it. I’ve already done a few improvements here and there, like replacing the front side of the chain link fence with a wooden one, but I’ve been working on a new corner garden lately, and I’m finally far enough along to share the first few glimpses with you this week!
It all started with a gift card. Like most DIY budgeters, I can really stretch a dollar when I need to, and an opportunity popped up for me to take care of this little nook thanks to a sponsor who just so happened to be a brand I’ve used in the yard before.
I love it when lucky coincidences like this happen, because it means that I get to do something I was pretty much going to do anyway, only I have an actual timeline that forces me to get my butt in gear as opposed to procrastinating indefinitely. Enter: Endless Summer® Hydrangeas.
If you’re a fan of the blog already, you might have seen me mention them before. I’ve had some of their Original variety in various parts of the house for several years now, and I absolutely love the color they add to both the front and back yard. If you’ve missed those posts where I show them off, here’s just a small sample of their gorgeousness:
*sponsored and affiliate links may be used in this post*
I could say that I get credit for any of that, but I really can’t. They’re just really easy plants for people who are bad at growing things (ahem, me) to build up their gardening confidence. I think my favorite part is that instead of blooming once, Endless Summer® varieties bloom over and over again, on both new growth and old (during the winter, the old stems on typical hydrangeas die off and you trim them back, but with these you can be super lazy like I am and let them be, because after August 1st don’t want to wind up cutting off the new buds that will come the next year). When they bloom and re-bloom through the fall, the color is absolutely stunning and totally different than how it looks in spring and summer:
With the new garden bed I wanted to plant, however, I was after a variety called BloomStruck®. From the images I’ve seen online, these bloom from pink to blue just like the ones I already have, but the color of the looks like they’ll be a deeper, moodier color.
I can’t wait to surround a petite blooming tree with these, with a spot in front for gravel and a small bench. In my head, I’m basically looking at this:
And thinking of a gorgeous little garden nook, with a small white-flowering tree, with just enough room to sit and read on a bench, surrounded by deep, purpley-pink flowers. Plus, as they bloom, they’ll make for excellent bouquets inside (especially when I mix them with their other variety counterparts).
When shopping at the local nursery (you can find a retailer here), I asked the clerk where I could find the BloomStruck® hydrangeas, but I probably didn’t even need to; this brand specifically puts all of their plants in a big blue pot, which is easy to spot when shopping around.
I loaded up a cart and headed for the checkout. To my surprise, they offered me a bag of ladybugs (yes, living ladybugs) to take with me and put in my new garden. Ha!
I loved the novelty of it, but promptly forgot about them*; it was time to plant!
*don’t worry, I later remembered.
With supplies filling the truck I borrowed, it took about a day and a half to get everything into the ground (and I’m still not done!). It’s not that planting them is all that difficult, but the prep and finish work: planning out an entirely new garden, making sure I’ve spaced things correctly, dealing with the frustration that is landscaping fabric, mulching, and cleaning up surrounding areas takes time.
I also want to cover over the chain link with fence panels (thus why you see them here), but with rain interrupting the project for the last few days, this is still on the to-do list. To be honest, one of the fence panels fell over and almost squashed all of the progress I’d made (thankfully the hydrangeas bounced back quickly), so I’m safely storing them away from the new garden until the shrubs have a chance to get established, and then I’ll go back in with the fence upgrade.
Planting the hydrangeas themselves was far easier; all I had to do was space them evenly, dig a hole (you can get planting soil if you’re starting a new bed, but the soil quality in my yard is pretty good on its own right now), and plop it in. I like to rub on the root ball a little to get it loose so that it takes to the new soil quickly, and then I put a little fertilizer on top once they’re in (Osmocote is my go-to for all of my plants, but I’ll talk more about color-changing fertilizer for hydrangeas in a future post).
For garden beds that I change up a lot, I don’t like to use landscaping fabric. It’s pricey per square foot and figuring out where the holes are each year is annoying, so I tend to use a thick layer of newspaper for beds like the mailbox and front garden because it breaks down over the season. But since I plan to let these BloomStruck® hydrangeas be the sole star of the corner garden, landscaping fabric is an excellent weed blocker to cover over all of the other areas (unfortunately, my back yard has weeds in abundance).
Next, I surrounded the new tree (it’s a tea olive, which is a shrub, but you can trim it to be like a tree as it grows bigger) with some leftover edging from another spot in the yard, and filled in the entire area with a thick layer of mulch. Good thing I did, too — the temps have been fluctuating a lot in the last couple of weeks because of rain, so the new beds have been kept very happy until I have a few more dry days to take next steps. But, as summer rolls on, I’m hopeful that this will be one stunning before and after!
One side of the house already has a few Original varieties in place, so I bought a few more with the gift card I was provided to help balance out both sides of the patio. Doing so will give a nice variety of color, even though they are the same plant (which is nice, because then it’s the same in terms of care).
As you can see from the growth on the biggest one that I planted a few years ago, they need lots of space to fan out as they mature. Even though they haven’t really taken up much time for me in the past, I really want all of the new ones to grow in as quickly as possible, so I’ll need to keep them fertilized in a timely manner (FYI, it turns out there’s a text program — text ENDLESSSUMMER to 73095 — that is designed to provide timely reminders to make sure I’m doing the upkeep correctly).
I’m not quite done yet, but this area is already looking incredible for spring! I’ll have more posts to share during the summer as I give this area more updates, and you can already see that I have some plans for the fence too. I honestly think this is going to be one of my favorite spots in the entire yard once it’s all finished.
And as you might have seen from the title of this post: there’s a giveaway for you, too! Here are all of the details:
Endless Summer® Bloomstruck Hydrangeas Giveaway!
- Prize: One (1) pair of Endless Summer branded gardening gloves and one (1) Picnic Time ‘Gardener’ 5-Piece Garden Tool Set With Tote And Folding Seat
- Number of winners: one
- Giveaway ends: Friday, May 19th at 11:59pm
- Geographical restrictions: U.S. only
- To enter: Leave a comment on this post answering the giveaway question below. Yes, you have to leave a comment. Or don’t, but if you don’t, you probably won’t win. I check them because I’d much rather reward a regular reader (usually giveaway jumpers don’t stop to leave a comment, so that seems to help your chances!).
- Please update the Rafflecopter widget to confirm you’ve left a comment. Winner will be chosen at random via the widget auto-generator.
- Giveaway question to answer (many of you know how this goes): Have you ever gotten a weird gift with purchase? What was it?
Ready, and… GO! Good luck!
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