When we last left E-Bed 2 there was not much left in it. That was necessary so a new idea would have room to bloom. For years I harbored an idea while I watched for a wheel that I could acquire to be the basis of my new design. I wanted to create a "Wheel of Thyme", and surround it with plants that move and bloom at different times of day and night.
I found a pair of large iron wheels on Craig's List this summer, and struck a bargain with the seller. All the while I was wondering what I could do with the second wheel.
We spent all one Saturday collecting them. First we discovered they were too large to fit anywhere in my large car. OK, find granddaughter and ask if we can borrow her pickup truck. She was at work as a swimming pool lifeguard, and couldn't leave her post. We drove across town, waited until a friend could find the keys, swapped keys, left the car, took her truck, had fast food lunch, drove to storage unit again, seller helped load the wheels, drove to the house, unloaded, and as a thank you gift... filled truck's HUGE gas tank for granddaughter, then drove back across town to the pool, and swapped vehicles again. The day was shot, but I had my wheels!
I knew I wanted one flat on the ground where it could be planted with different types of thyme. The other one... hmmmm... I knew I would need a vertical something to grow morning glories on. Would this second wheel work? How would we make it stand alone? The damaged section of the wheel was buried, then re-bars were cut to fit and driven deep into the soil. I hope it will remain standing when it is full of foliage and a strong wind blows. If you want to see the metal bars, just enlarge the photo by clicking on it.
So far it is still standing. I had some puny morning glory plants I had started from seed that were still in their pots (poor things); they were set in with the wheel. I thought they might die, but they are still living and blooming on the wheel. They latched on right away and started growing on it. (Notice daylilies behind wheel.)
It was late August which meant that my growing season was winding down, but I was able to find plenty of thyme. We were leaving the labels there for a little while until I learned to recognize their faces. We planted:
woolly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus) which is easy to recognize because it is fuzzy;
culinary thyme (Thymus vulgaris) which is tallest and thinnest so far;
and, Mother-0f-Thyme elfin (Thymus serphyllum)
I was not sure how they were using the name "elfin", so I looked it up and found it means "small and delicate", which is suitable for this tiny leaved, flat growing plant. I wonder why they call it "mother of thyme". Could it have been the species plant from which cultivated varieties were started. There are so many things I wonder about.
These are some of my wonderful helpers from the university here in town. Their fields of interests are: sports (track), animal science, and merchandising. None are studying anything about plants, but these are young people who want a chance to get out of doors and be partners with nature. We gardeners understand that, don't we.
When it came to preparing the actual wheel of thyme I wanted to try to duplicate the way we built the little raised bed for tiny plants. I do not have a true trough garden, so this was an improvisation.
We mixed coarse sand, compost, a little soil, and limestone that had been crushed to small pieces. After plants were set in, they were mulched with more of the crushed limestone.
The "trough" bed was successful almost to a fault, therefore we did the same mix for the Wheel of Thyme. When I planted an ornamental thyme in the raised bed, two years later it was taking over and choking out the precious little fame flower that had been doing so well.
Click and enlarge to see the beleaguered fame flowers.
Fame Flower is a native plant.
(Believed to be: Phemeranthus calycinus)
After that part was completed the rest of the whole bed was mulched with a good dark mulch.
Visible in the photos are some Portulaca plants that had been barely hanging onto life in pots in the potting area.
The next stage of the project was, and still is, to fill the rest of the bed with flowers that move and bloom at different times of day and night. The Portulacas do not open until noon. Morning glories are open in the early morning.
Some daylilies were not moved to the new bed halfway down the hill. They are behind the vertical wheel. They open about noon. (I think.)
Four o'clocks were planted among them. (white, yellow, and pink) I had started them from seed, and they were so, so glad to get out of those pots - remember it was August.
It is later now and the morning glory has filled out happily and is pretty each morning. Sorry, this pic is later in the day so no blooms here.
A sundial has been added that shows Father Time, and the first part of Browning's sweet verse:
“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, 'A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!'”
Nowadays the thyme looks like this and already needs weeding. Tomorrow the labels will be removed.
We have room for more plants to be planted come spring.
I have been making a list of plants that could be included. So far this is the list:
morning glories (morning)
daylilies (noon approximately - as far as I can tell)
moon flower (night)
passion flower vine (night?)
evening primrose (at dusk with the fireflies)
angel's trumpet (night?)
fame flower (afternoon)
Jewels of Ophir (afternoon)
chicory (night? early morning? too weedy?)
If I made an error in my list, or if you can add to the list, please leave a comment with your suggestions. I would love to learn more.