Lemon Coral Sedum and Red Begonias - Front Beds - Spring 2021

Every year, we've planted annuals in our front bed to add a little pop of color to the front of our house - with mixed results.  Last year, we used 24 Devine Lavendar Impatiens in the bed.  The most plants we've put in this area.  The full progression looks like this:

  • Our first full year - in 2018 - we planted some Ranunculuses - about eight of them. 
  • In 2019,  we planted 16 orange marigolds.  +8 plants yoy.
  • In 2020, we planted 24 Impatiens.   +8 plants yoy.
The second goal (beyond the color) is to help improve the soil in this area as when I got started it was solid clay - from the foundation backfill.  I amended the soil with Gypsum and have added some biochar/humic acid to the area, too.  And, of course I've added mulch to these beds over the years.  First, with hardwood fines, then in 2019 and 2020, I laid down cocoa bean hull mulch.  The thinking here is that nothing aerates and breaks up clay soil better than roots growing.  Every year that I plant here will make the soil a little bit better.  There's one other complicating factor in this bed though - that's the fine roots for the Norway Maple that have grown in this area and compete with any plantings.  

This year, I decided to try something new:  planting two different varieties of plants - utilizing a combination that I saw at the Morton Arboretum last year.  Here's a post showing off the entrance to the Arboretum where they used a combination of a carpet of Lemon Coral Sedum and a more upright, waxy-looking red/pink flower.  Here, below, is the photo I took of their setup.  Look at that carpet of sedum.

I found some good-sized containers of Lemon Coral Sedum at Home Depot for $4.98 a piece - and knowing I wanted to replicate that 'carpet' look, I bought twenty of them.  And, I backed them with 24 begonias.  44 total plants.  That's a +20 plants year-over-year.  Here's the container for the Sedum below:

Here's how they look planted:

I amended this soil with a new product (new to me) called Chick N Poo - a chicken scratch fertilizer that I found at Menards.  It is a 2-4-3 product that is pelletized.  When I dug out the wholes for all the sedum and begonias, I mixed in a little handful of the fertilizer in the whole to try to give these annuals a good start.

I'm posting this in mid-June, but I planted these in mid/late May and have been watering them in with the front lawn.  I'll revisit these to see if I'm getting that 'carpet' vibe from the Sedum.  I didn't capture the tags of the begonia cultivar that I planted, but I'm thinking that I should have bought ones with a little bit more height than the ones I selected initially.  

Also, for now, I'm adding some hardwood fines to this area to mulch these in, but when I get the cocoa bean mulch from Wisconsin later this Summer, I'll top this area off with a few bags of that Paris-inspired mulch.


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