U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Friday, October 15, 2010

‘Accidental’ Flowerbed

Accidents happen, even in gardening. Once, I miscalculated the amount of soil amendment for our garden and got too much of it . After its biggest portion was spread on the lawn, under the hedges and on the flowerbeds, the remaining part was moved from the driveway to the ugly part of the lawn behind the house.

B e f o r e


I planned to move the mix somewhere fast so that we wouldn’t kill the grass we dumped it on. Well, that was the plan. In reality, the pile stayed there for several months. It became clear that the grass under it was gone. After lengthy consideration, I took a shovel, outlined the edges of the pile, and got myself a new flowerbed.


I’ve been told that the nutritious value of the mix probably got low by then. So, I didn’t have big hopes and considered it as a temporary home for newly bought plants and divisions of existing plants.


To make a long and boring story short, this is what I had at the beginning of this summer:

A f t e r


I move everything here that I don’t know where else to plant. It’s kind of a nursery. Some plants are here temporarily, until I find a permanent place for them. (Although, who doesn’t know that there is nothing more permanent than temporary?)

Grasses, hostas and heucheras love it here. They have part shade and consistently moist soil.

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Smaller pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them

Ligularia was the real winner. Two of them were sitting in pots for three or four years (I know, I know, it was cruel to hold them there!). Several weeks after I moved one of them to the pile, new bed, it became clear that the ligularias should be free!


Yellow blooms are lovely, although not my favorite color. What I love the most about ligularia are its leaves that are glossy when young.

Next to the ligularia picture is the picture of Bowles’ Golden grass in bloom. Variegated Japanese sedge grass is also doing great here.

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Alliums, poppies, rose, tradescantia and heuchera blooms add colorful happy spots to this place.

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Rain Gardener Gardening By Trial And Error and Grace (Gardening With Grace) commented on these heucheras in my August post Containers In My Garden. Thank you, ladies, for noticing! In this bed, I have H.Caramel, H.Beaujolais, H. Velvet Night and one more type, green-leaved, which I can’t recall the name of.

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On the pictures above, did you see a huge foxglove growing right in the middle of the Hakonechloa grass? It’s a volunteer foxglove. I probably needed to remove it when it just appeared, but the plant looked so healthy and big, I am curious what flowers will it produce next year. I hope the hakonechloa will survive. There are several of them on this bed, and they thrive in the part shade.

Plants which didn’t grow well in other parts of the garden seem to be recovering here. For example, knock-out rose and East Indian Holly fern that, before I moved them here, were suffering in dry soil. The only plant which didn’t survive here was Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium). It was probably my fault – it wasn’t the right spot for sun-loving grass. Too much moisture during last winter didn’t help either.


There is only one bad thing about this bed. Do you see a row of fir trees behind it? The trees didn’t miss a trick and sent their roots into the pile for nutrients and water. I cut these new roots from time to time when I dig holes for plants, but it’s clear who will be the winner. I just hope that the firs won’t suffocate my plants.

Even now, in October, the Accidental bed looks good. In the future, I plan to add a focal point to it, maybe, a little tree.

Plants are not shown in the pictures: Brunnera, Euonymus Canadale Gold, Euphorbia, Cape Fuchsia and some groundcovers.

I bet some accidents happened in your garden too!


Copyright 2010 TatyanaS


  1. Tatyana ~ Your accidental garden is lovely, and look how it has grown in such a short period of time. Just think of how it will look next spring.

    I've got some potted things I need to get into my main garden. Plus I need to scatter seeds too.

    Enjoy ~ FlowerLady

  2. I can only wish to have an accidental garden as lovely as this one !

  3. Hi Tatyana. Well it turned out beautifully even if it was an accident. It has filled out so well.I have so been enjoying your vacation pictures you have been posting even if I did not happen to comment at the time. Some days are just busier than others. Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. Mistakes are often opportunities in disguise just like your accidental garden. Everything is growing great. Look how bushy your ligularia is! Looking fabulous!

  5. G'day Tatyana ~ Actually, your accidental garden is fabulous. We are being taken over by Ageratum ... we started with 30 plants, for about 3 yrs. we put them in the circle as they aren't supposed to come back. Welllllllll, the past 2 years & this we have them volunteering everywhere!
    Love it!

    Have a great weekend.
    TTFN ~ Hugs, Marydon

  6. Tatyana, I think my accidental bed is my veggie garden. I have had really good luck overwintering some late planted perennials. I even overwintered all of my daughter-in-law's daylilies when she moved. They all came back the following year in her garden.


  7. Love your accidential bed, seems it will provide an environment that you dont have elsewhere in the garden. Maybe you could remove some of the fir trees?!

  8. Thank you for your comments! I really appreciate them! It took me a while to write about my own garden after we returned from Europe. I am still overwhelmed with memories. I have hundred pictures of beautiful Italian streets, hotels, plants, etc. I hope to publish best of them. Thanks for sharing some moments of your gardens' life!
    PatientGardener, I like your idea, but we live in the state of tree huggers. They might remove me from the neighborhood if I remove some of the trees! He-he.

  9. Tanya!
    Thanks you soooo much for sharing your garden ideas and inspiring me to go to my secret garden and do some work there!


  10. I too have an "accidental" bed where I tend to store plants before I move them to a "permanent" home. Like your flower bed, it has filled in and changed character so that I no longer consider it a "temporary" garden bed. Some times the best things happen by accident.

  11. I would definately call that a happy accident.

  12. That's a beautiful accident. You have designed it very well. I wish I could do the same but my lawn doesn't die that easily, not even if I cover them with cardboard, mulch or stones.

  13. Your accident turned out really beautiful. I have these nurseries intentionally on client's properties. They are like yours in so many ways. We dump the extra topsoil, then add amendments and all the homeless and sick plants find their way to this bed. One client who is a nurse, calls her's the ER. They always find these unplanned beds become there favorites, because of the obscure and cozy location where we site them. A 'secret garden' of sorts.

    A really good and interesting post, Tatyana.

  14. That was a pretty nice accident. And practical.

  15. Tatyana, lovely addition to your landscape! but as I looked closely at your healthy Ligularia, it is apparent that your garden is in short supply of slugs. Shall I send you a few? ;>)

    Have a delightful weekend.

  16. Very nice new flower bed!
    thats what i call a nice accident

  17. Hi Tatyana, How are you? Haven't seen you for while. Glad to see your garden flourishing. Such a bed to accommodate plants for a while is excellent. I wished for one. At the moment I have Triumphator lilies, a Tree Dahlia and few new colours of Hippeastrum bulbs I bought lately who need a place. Always buy knowing well enough planting space is getting rare.

  18. Oh! So MANY accidental garden features here. How nice to see yours develop.

  19. I love to read your thoughts! As for the slugs, they are there, but they are shy and refused to pose for my camera!

  20. WOW, your accidental garden looks fantastic!! Better than my planned beds lol. I hope the pines behave themselves...

  21. What a lovely accident! I loved seeing the before and afters and the process of making lemonaid from lemons! Nice work :-)

  22. Ohhh...very nice accident!! It has filled in so beautifully,too! Lovely!!!

  23. What a happy accident. I love the foliage varieties in your new garden. Have been wanting to try the Japanese Hako grass. Very nice!

  24. Dear Tatyana, Your accidental garden does not look like an accident. It looks well thought out and as if it has been there for a while. I have had several accidents in my garden, but none as lovely as yours. Pam

  25. I love your accidental garden, which is probably the wrong word for it since you've obviously invested your skill and fantasy in it in the meantime. I have some places in my garden where I've just dumped superfluous soil, and one of them has become a mound of lovely snowdrops that just grew right up through the pile.
    I'll look forward to further pictures of Italy.

  26. Before and afters are so fun. :)

  27. What a nice accident!! The new flower bed looks awesome.

  28. I wish I could grow Hakonechloa. I've had one sleep for two years now. Just don't think it will flourish. I suppose it is in my accidental garden! Thanks for the post...

  29. As artfully shown, accidental gardening can be very rewarding. And you do have a green thumb and creative eye!

  30. Hi Tatyana~~ Well I must say you've turned blase' to beautiful. I hope those trees will find their nutrients else where and give your newbies more time to settle in.

  31. That must have been a big pile!

    It's left an interestingly shaped bed - maybe one which wouldn't have emerged if you'd sat down to plan it. Such is chance.


  32. What a happy accident! I love it! My flower beds and vegetable gardens all have to compete with tree roots, and the volunteer trees that come up either from seeds or the roots.

  33. both posts reflect how much our gardens are our souls.


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