Then I remembered that 90_percent_sure had helped me get the flowering plants in front of my house last week. And I'd been a slug about getting them some mulch to keep them wet and keep the weeds down.
So this morning I toddled over to Home Depot, picked up three bags of cedar bark mulch and applied it liberally over the flower bed. Go me! $10 later I have a nicely composted area for the plants. (I'm thinking another $10 will help, but this is a good start.)