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This garden is the easiest to work with because it didn't have anything in it aside from the giant Magnolia tree and the Hydrangea when we started. There were no Holly bushes to dig up and no grass or weeds to eradicate. There was about a foot of dead <agnolia leaves, a few packs worth of cigarette butts and some soil that has been sucked dry by the roots of the tree.
In the late summer of 2009 we cleaned up this area, mulched it with pine fines and planted several Hosta and a bag of Lily of the Valley. All of these plants were donated by garden club members and their families. We also added some rich compost to the soil to give the roots new life.
It will take time for the Lily of the Valley to fill in, but within a few years it should become blanketed with them which will provide three seasons of cool green shade and a very fragrant spring.
Despite their late start, the Hosta did bloom their heads off in the early fall and I suspect the plants will be at least twice as large next year.
The Hydrangea (Endless Summer) put on a fabulous show all summer with three colors of bloom on one plant. We used a few of the dried blooms to decorate Abrahms' Delight and the rest remained as winter interest.
This is Spring of 2010 and the Lily of the Valley have already started to spread. It is only April and the Hosta are looking very healthy.