Refreshing the Mailbox Garden

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Last week we toured our butterfly garden and I offered some tips on Planting for Visitors A Butterfly Garden. But today I want to take you through a (very) small stroll of our mailbox garden. When you think about gardens, the mailbox area isn’t a space that typically comes to mind. But I’ve seem some pretty impressive mailbox gardens and well, I would love one of those too! What I really love about sharing What’s in My Garden on Behind the Designs is that it has really caused me to take a hard look at some of the gardens and ask myself if I can improve them. So I fully expect this fall and early spring 2022 I’ll be making some (more) changes.

When we created our first mailbox garden area we just mapped out a space and “borrowed” plants and flowers from our other garden areas. We settled on a baseball diamond shape with the point at the end of the driveway where it meets the road. Our original mailbox garden plan measured approximately 6′ by 4′ which in hindsight is pretty small. But it worked with the plants we had in that garden at the time.

However, this garden area was desperately in need of some attention. I also needed to start relocating some flowers from our butterfly garden so we can raise that garden bed up. One problem we’ve always faced with this garden is the lack of soil. We’ve added layers of soil and mulch periodically but it just seemed like every year we need to add more.

Another eye sore for me was the tube edging we had used; it just wasn’t giving me the look I had hoped for. So this year we decided to not only make it larger but also add a budget friendly freeform rock border (all rocks came from our back yard). Having a border is important because it helps keep my husband from chopping down the flowers with the weed whacker!

As is typical of most of my projects, I forgot to get a before picture, as well as, “in progress” pictures. The picture above is the only one I could find, dated to 2012, and it was taken from the backside looking at the back of the mailbox.

Since this garden wasn’t very lush yet, I added in a hanging decorative jar on shepherds hook, some smaller rocks at the base of the mailbox and a few stepping stones. These petite mini rose bushes looked great the first year they were planted but then they never came back the next year.

Before we tackled the project of refreshing our mailbox garden, we sat down to iron out what our goals were for that space. I’m also very experienced at starting projects during the hottest times of the day, which happened with this outdoor project, so I’ll also count it as a workout.

Goals for Mailbox Garden Refresh

  • Make the space larger.
  • Change the tube edging for a rock edge.
  • Put brick edging on street side.
  • Add the butterfly bush off shoot from the butterfly garden.

It’s not the prettiest of pictures but shown above is the “finished” mailbox garden. We did not mulch yet because I wanted to make sure the plants were exactly where I wanted them. When we started this project nothing had bloomed and I didn’t have an exact recording of what plants were where or even what all the plants were. To that point, I thought I had some white daisies in this garden, but I guess not.

While I can’t wait for the butterfly bush to grow and fully bloom, I do recognize that it’s a bit close to the black eyed susans (rudbeckia hirta) which is not what I wanted. That said, there will likely be another small revamp in 2022 to make the space a little larger to accommodate that bush. I can never have too many butterfly bushes in my yard; right now I’ve got four planted (one of which was given to me by a good friend).

Top Flowers and Plants for Around the Mailbox

These plants are all perennials and flower beautifully. You might notice quite a few of these plant names because they are in other places in our gardens. That’s because I “borrow” from my own gardens to fill in new gardens.

  • Daylilies
  • Coneflower
  • Sedum
  • Lavender
  • Salvia
  • Hostas
  • Columbine

So let’s take a mini tour of what other plants and flowers we have in this mailbox garden space. I’m happy to say that most of the flowers that were in the original plan were recycled and transferred back over to the new larger layout.

Since our house is all yellow I tend to shy away from this color when choosing flowers for the gardens. But, these black eyed susans were given to us by a woman who lived a street over from our house. We were taking an evening stroll one day and noticed this woman was pulling out her gardens and had a bunch of plants in her front yard. We always noticed her gardens because they were so pretty and gave off a cute cottage vibe.

She saw us looking and said she was clearing her gardens out and we were welcome to anything we wanted. So when we got home we got in the truck and headed over to her house. I think we ended up with daisies, black eyed susans and purple coneflowers, all of which are still in my gardens.

The first picture in this blog post are what these black eye susans look like now -they spread easy and fast!

These purple allium (allium aflatunense) are bulbs and although I gingerly took them out of the ground and put them back (in the new larger space), I won’t know if they survived until next spring. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. They are so pretty and had just started to finally spread. The bulbs are located between the big rock and mailbox.

Did you know? Allium is also called an Ornamental Onion.

Behind the Designs

For some unknown reason, I lovingly call these flowers “whoville” flowers. Something about them reminds me of the Whoville characters in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I don’t question it, I just go with it.

Shown above is my beautiful yellow asiatic lily (lilium asiatica) which was given to me and it has always sat right in front of the mailbox. It’s a vibrant color that really catches your eye and pairs perfectly with the black mailbox.

Here’s a funny story -I think. We actually have two mailboxes, one for spring/summer, one for fall/winter. Our house sits right at the curve of the road and is at the bottom of a small hill. Every year we change out our more expensive mailbox for a cheaper one because every winter someone inevitably feels driving 90mph (a little dramatic but you get the point) down our wintery road is the smartest thing to do….and our mailbox has paid the price.

Although I’m not 100% sure, I believe this is our purple heather. We have a bunch in our butterfly garden and I’ve noticed smaller bundles of this flower coming up in other places in our gardens. I do believe though that I borrowed a piece of this from the larger one and purposely planted it at the mailbox. Two colors you will find a lot of in my garden are purple and pink.

Just before our old neighbors moved away they said we could have a sample of anything in their garden. Our own gardens were filling in nicely but I did take a sample of the pink flowering plant above and some pink creeping phlox (also known as moss phlox). If you know what the plant is pictured above, please comment below, I’d love to know.

It is the plan to get all the pink creeping phlox ground cover to spread along the front of the mailbox (where the square bricks are). The nice thing about creeping phlox is that it’s a great ground cover and looks beautiful spilling over rock gardens and rock walls.

2022 Mailbox Garden Plans

  • Make garden just a little larger.
  • Adjust butterfly bush so it’s standing straight.
  • Pull out some of the black eyed susans.
  • Add some creeping phlox ground cover along the street-side bricks.
  • Add a generous layering of mulch.

Now that we finished talking about refreshing the mailbox garden top plants and flowers to use come back next week when I’ll share with you about planting a good foundation garden for curb appeal.

If you are inspired to create your first mailbox garden or refresh your existing one don’t forget to share by tagging me on Instagram and using #btdinspired, I’d love to see your work (and I just might repost your photo)!

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