It’s hard to believe that we’ve been living with this brick bed enclosure for over sixteen years. But when you have an 1870 house, there’s something new to do every year, and certain jobs-new roof, new kitchen, window repairs-have to take priority. Finally, it’s time. This is coming down this year, to be replaced by stacked stone at about half or less its height. We already have the stone in another area of the garden (below).
At the very least, the construction of the existing wall is interesting. The layers of brick are held together by rebar and topped by nailed-togethertwo-by-fours that we painted green at some point. It’s not terrible-looking; some visitors (always male) have even admired it. But the problem is not really aesthetic- it is an enclosure that does not really perform the function of a raised bed (doesn’t quite keep soil in) and is way too high to support a layered planting. Seedlings are too short to stand a chance; plants have to shoot up quickly to survive. Over the years I’ve used it for tallish rose bushes (David Austins do well here) and even taller native plants and lillium, but I’ve never been able to properly organize the plants; it’s been kind of a wild corral.
With the much shorter stone border, I will be able to move taller plants to the back, use a few lower-growing varieties and make a better plan for early and late season blooms. Ideally. Because I have to admit that I tend to use tree roots, shade, imperfect hardscaping, and other elements as excuses for the fact that I am not really a conscientious gardener. Neatness is not my strong point and letting stuff get big and fill space is my favorite thing. Will a lower wall help make me a better gardener? Maybe.