The Q&A Archives: Preparing A Bank For Planting

Question: I have a bank next to my driveway ~ 10ft x 8 ft triangular in shape. Presently there is wild mint tea & a variety of weeds (including Poison Ivy) growing there. How do I go about clearing the ground & getting it ready for planting. I would like to plant flowers that would give me blooms from late spring through to fall & maybe even attract humming birds & butterflies to my yard. FYI I am a novice gardner. Thank you

Answer: Poison ivy and bergamot can both be difficult to remove, so they should be controlled prior to planting. The quickest way to accomplish this would be to use an herbicide containing glyphosate according to the label instructions. (It may take several applications to control the poison ivy.) This will also kill any other plants in the area. The next step would be to prepare the soil for planting by adding plenty of organic matter to it, then plant. Without knowing how steep the bank is and whether it is in shade or in sun, it is difficult to make suggestions as to what to plant. You may also need to work in increments to avoid soil erosion if it is very steep. Since you are a new gardener, you might want to take a look at a book or two regarding general gardening principles and procedures. One I particularly like because it is very straightforward is "Gardening for Dummies" by Michael MacCaskey, ISBN1-56884-6444-4, Dummy Press. There are also books specifically about annual and perennial flowers in the same series, and these may be helpful in planning for butterflies and hummingbirds. Good luck with your project!

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