|Side yard area after lawn was removed and new top soil was added|
So, I went shopping. I focused on finding the largest plants in my scheme. I'd plotted a prospective plan for the side yard earlier but I knew that, once I had the plants on hand, I would probably make adjustments. I figured that putting the largest plants in place would help me flesh out my other plant choices. Here's what I got:
- 3 Agonis flexuosa 'Nana'
- 3 Coprosma 'Plum Hussey'
- 2 Phormium 'Amazing Red'
- 3 Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum'
I also picked up a few small plants to provide some fall/winter color and moved quite a few plants in the adjacent border. There's still a lot of open space to fill but it's a start.
|View from backyard lawn|
|View looking toward patio|
|View from inside the house|
Believe it or not, the chair cushions provided the jumping off point for the plant choices. The new growth on Agonis flexuosa 'Nana' is a red/orange color. The color of the stems also picks up on the bark of the Arbutus 'Marina' on the other side of the open area.
|Agonis flexuosa 'Nana' (aka Dwarf Peppermint Tree)|
I wanted a dark-toned Phormium to complement the Agonis. After passing on P. 'Dark Delight' and P. 'Pratt's Black,' I ended up with Phormium 'Amazing Red.'
|Phormium 'Amazing Red'|
This appears to be shorter than the varieties I'd originally considered, although internet sources are divided on its size with estimates ranging from 2 feet to as tall as 4-6 feet. However, operating on the assumption that it'll stay fairly short, I moved the positions of the 2 I bought from the placements I'd originally planned.
I wanted to add more Coprosma repens 'Plum Hussey' to connect the space with the nearby bed created after the removal of our large Eucalyptus tree. The red tones in this plant play nicely with the Phormium and the Agonis but I need to add a deep green groundcover of some kind to highlight the variegation in the plants - that's still to come.
|Coprosma repens 'Plum Hussey'|
For fall color, I added a Cuphea melvillea 'Candy Corn,' which mirrors the colors in my patio pillows. It gets only 2 feet tall by 1.5 feet wide so I may get more.
|Cuphea melvillea 'Candy Corn'|
For additional color, I put in an orange Anigozanthos (aka Kangaroo Paws) and 3 Ursinia anthemoides 'Solar Flare,' which I'd previously admired. According to Annie's Annuals & Perennials, the latter plant should bloom soon after planting.
|Anigozanthos (no ID as to variety)|
|Ursinia anthemoides 'Solar Fire,' a self-seeding annual, which reportedly can be grown year-round in zone 10, and which produces orange/gold flowers with a burgundy ring|
I pulled 3 annual Pennisetum glaucum 'Purple Baron,' out of the back border, where their red-toned color had clashed with surrounding plants, and popped them into a large pot, which now anchors an empty area of the new bed.
|Pennisetum glaucum 'Purple Baron,' an ornamental millet|
One side of the new area is now partially filled but the other side is still relatively empty as I reconsider some of my original choices. I did add 3 Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' from 1-gallon pots, as well as a 6-pack of Echinacea 'Magnus;' however, it's going to be a while before those plants gain a real presence in the garden.
|Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' and Echinacea 'Magnus'|
More choices need to be made. I'm ordering some daylilies for a few spots. I also need to add more flagstone to provide a pathway across the new space. Ideally, I'd like to add a decorative element like a sundial or a peace pole in the middle but I may have to put that on my Christmas list.
I feel that I've made a good (if early) start. I predict that there are many more visits to the local nurseries in my immediate future as I chip away at bare earth. Fall is the best time to plant in this area of the country and I intend to take advantage of it. The days are still warm, the nights are cool but never really cold, and rain is, hopefully, on the horizon.