About 17 years ago, we erected a rock/cactus garden around a large, protruding rock near the foot of the hill. We filled the bed with two types of yucca, two types of cacti, a small tulip poplar tree and three spreading junipers. Because the bed was arranged on the slope, the junipers were arranged at the top of the bed, going straight across, to eventually spread down into it. As the years passed, they spread and became very pretty.
A black plastic edger was used to outline the upper portion of the bed. Above the edger, we planted two Natchez crape myrtles, one at each end. We installed red brick edgers around the bottom of the bed, in a semi-circle, and then planted liriope (monkey grass) on the lower side of the edgers. Next, we filled the bottom of the bed with gravel and rocks. The garden was quite attractive, and for most of the upcoming years, the bed was mostly self-sustaining.
Now, for the past few years, the bed has become an eyesore. Tall weeds have propagated among the cacti in places that we have been unable to reach without getting large cactus stickers in our flesh. With all of the rain this spring and summer, parts of the cacti have rotted and turned black. As the yucca have aged, they have become dead in places and have become less attractive. The bed has become more of a liability than an asset.
We have begun to disassemble it. Oscar removed the red brick edgers. We gave away a number of the yucca and the cacti to a couple who were willing to dig the plants up for their own use. They also dug up the monkey grass and replanted the clumps in bare spaces along the driveway for us. After they have finished taking what they want for their own use, we will remove the remaining plants and return the area back to grass. The large, protruding rock will remain and will have to be cleaned around each time Oscar mows.
As I have said before, we are attempting to make our landscape maintenance easier. Oscar used to tell me the planting areas were growing too large. He’s really nice about not saying “I told you so.”
Carol (Bonnie) Link is an Etowah County Master Gardener and an experienced garden writer. Her weekly column is designed to help and encourage others in their gardening endeavors. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.