Hi I'm new to this site! Looks great so far and exactly what I was looking to join. Ok let me give a timeline and then on to the questions: 6+ years ago - previous owner tossed down caseron and nothing would grow in my 40x30 area (more like 80x80 but I'm working with 40x30 right now) 4&5 years ago I tried to grow various of anything in the 6 garden boxes - nothing but weeds. Tail end of 4 years ago I removed those garden boxes and I'd like to point out how cobbely the original soil was - sheesh! 2&3 years ago I had begun removing soil and replacing with sand and a 3way loom - built a nice 2 tier granite rockwall around the 40x30 area with one man rock (i'm a big guy... these were not 1 man! more like 2 man ). This 40x30 area is when I planted my tulips and daff's to start. Last year I removed tons of weeds revamped the 40x30 area with a slate rock walkway, some more puny flowers and small shrubs and lots of bark. The bark ended up being 4-6 inches deep. I also planted many day lilies early winter 2004 - they are growing this year finally yay. This year I removed yet more weeds literally 3+ feet high over 80% of the garden (due to rain - redmond, wa and indoor projects I just got to this task yesterday) - anyhow where are they coming from? The bark? The 3 way loom? other then the dandylions the rest are different from last year. Anyhow I removed a large majority last night - reminding me that my upward dimmension sucks - as I mentioned I have puny-sparce flowers for such a large area... 1. I'd like to avoid chemicals to avoid the previous owners mistake. How do I manage - do I choose a better source of bark? Is there a type of bark that is better? I mean I do need a mulch as the underlying mix of soil remains a dull grey - not so pretty. 2. Any recommendations for flower/bush mix that will give me full year of green and most of the spring/summer/fall with flowering? (redmond, wa is supposed to be zone 7) and I do have a semi permanent watering system to water this area. So far I can assure you that my daylilies are surviving, my tulips this year were sparse (due to lame winter and maybe a mole...) - no daffs tho!. My wife wants some rhodies - which I'll plant in the next few weeks. If anyone can provide a list of flowers/bushes that will satisfy #2 above I'll be extremely happy - I personally like the ornamental mix with the green leaves myself - but dunno the names of everything. Thanks much Jeff I think I attached properly - here is last spring just after all the tulips popped - and before the mole destroyed our lawn and apparently ate all the tulips. Like I said I need dimension and longer green/flower time - less weeds.