Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | July 14, 2013

It’s a Bark Chip Kind of Summer

This has been a huge year for weeding and bark chip spreading. I have been working on this task for months. I am caching up from the past four years when we had so much ground water and hordes of mosquitoes, I was simply not able to weed and what bark chips we had down, basically just floated away.


Our pole barn; where we park our cars, keep our lawn tractor and my husband keeps his “stuff.”

Hauling and spreading bark chips on the garden beds here is a lot of physical labor but an important one. Not only is out soil a poor quality and the weeds so many some kind of mulch is necessary This natural mulch eventually ends up breaking down and building us the best loamy soil ever.

What I can’t figure out is why the weeds grow, well like weeds, and the grass grows almost not at all?

I just finished the pole barn bed and thought I’d share this bed here today. I elected to plant clumping ornamental grasses in this spot, because they are not fussy about their soil and because I like how the grasses look against the brown paint and tall building.


The pole barn flower bed is lined with field stone I collected from fields and roadside. I hauled every one of those stones home myself and place them!

I planted a mix of tall standing and draping over grasses for visual interest. This year I removed the stones, weeded, put the stones back (many had sunk into the soil) and then added new bark chips.

Also the grasses are a low maintenance kind of perennial. I only have to cut them back in the fall, no deadheading, no stem cutting and no special soil amendment efforts.  And they do well in either sun or shade.

This spot received sun in the a.m. and shade in the p.m. and lots of water off the barn’s metal roof.

Small House / Big Sky Donna


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