By Jeff Ray

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM)  – This week’s story is about something you can buy. It is about a purchase I made two years ago and have come to conclusion might be the best money I have ever spent for my garden. “Best” in the sense of plant success over a large area.

It was two falls ago. I had cleared out a large garden bed just outside my house’s prime position, the dirt side of a large window that my kitchen table is parked next to. I imagine most people would assign prime position to the front of their house, the street view. For me however, as I sit for a meal and some family time — or simply enjoy a cup of morning coffee while reading my paper — the view from my kitchen table is an extension of my garden time. A visual confirmation of the work I’ve put in and continue to do to make my backyard a place I enjoy instead of simply a place I work. The fruit of labor in form of a good view.

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By happenstance, the clearing of this large bed coincided with a story I was doing on the ‘Garden In A Box’ program. I ordered one and a week later picked it up at the TCC South Campus. The kit comes with a planting lay out with the plants ordered by color tabs and numbers. Couldn’t have been simpler. It was a fall planting, so the plants didn’t really start growing out until the next Spring.

The kit worked for me like it was supposed to. Not every plant took off. The ones that liked that place in the sun and dirt worked better than others. I still ended up with a completely grown out pollinator garden (though one probably dominated a little too much by Greg’s Mist, one of the flowering perennials in the selection and a plant known for being aggressive). I don’t really care, as long as the steady stream of bees and butterflies continue, I’m as happy as any gardener can be.

The cost worked out to about $3 dollars a plant. But the real value were the instructions that were included. Not only are there three different basic designs to adapt to your space, but there is also information on how to care for plants in the long haul. This year the program offers a Shade version as well, an answer I hope to a shared problem most of with spaces around large trees.

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The best advice I can give on this is to make sure you have the 125 square foot space. When you first put in your little starter plants it seems like a horrible waste of space. But believe me, after about two growing seasons those plants will be tucked in rather tight as they fill the space.

The boxes have to be ordered by September 20th, several pick up locations are offered so you can find one hopefully not to far from your home. If you elect to try this, please take a picture of your newly planted bed. In a couple of years, I’d like to see another picture of the same garden bed. I’d like to show others how a well thought-out “garden in a box” can really fill your yard with low maintenance perennials that make gardening a little easier. And, I hope, provide a great view when sipping your morning coffee.

LINK TO ORDER POLLINATOR PACK

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LINK TO ORDER SHADE GARDEN PACK