Most of the flowers in the bed by my sidewalk were planted by the previous owner - including some obnoxious English Ivy. I'm sure it was pretty when she planted it, but abandoned for a year and it started to take over the entire bed.
After a good rain, I attempted to do battle with the ivy with just my bare hands. As you green thumbers can probably guess - it didn't help out much. Some of the newer ivy I was able to pull out by the root, but most of it was firmly rooted into the ground.
Round 2 came with the assistance of my parents. Our home is surrounded with red clay, so my parents brough a truckload of regular dirt to act as a top soil. My mom brought two spades (thankfully she left her extra with me) and we took care of the ivy that was choking out some of my other flowers, while my dad took the hand held tiller to the more open parts of the flower bed.
The tiller was a great idea, seemingly the only part of round 2 that worked. Its been a rainly summer, so it didn't take long for a few patches of ivy to sprout up again. Mostly close to the sidewalk (I dug down far enough to see that the roots have actually grown under the sidewalk), the brick foundation, and around the flowers. Basically where we either couldn't dig down deep enough, or were afraid to lose the other flowers.
I took my spade out for round 3, which only took me about 30 minutes. Both my mother and another gardening friend have told me that I'll be fighting the ivy for the next year or two. Its sort of frustrating - I like projects I can tackle then mark off my list. At least I know now though, that the fights will be shorter and shorter.
Now on to the other features of my garden. (click to enlarge)
My irises have already bloomed and they were gorgeous. A few roses are still around, but they've seen better days.
There is a gorgeous patch of black-eyed susans.
I'm not quite sure what this purple flower is...Mari? Anyone?
The one contribution that we've added is a couple of sunflowers. My mom has some at her house, so she brought last year's seeds and planted them earlier in the year.