At one time, when I was stressed or upset, I'd engage in retail therapy. These days I can hardly stand to go shopping (unless it's for plants, of course). Gardening is my preferred therapeutic outlet. This week I spent most of my free time in the garden, tidying things up, watering, and planting. My extended fountain border is 80 percent done. Because I'm buying my plants in the smallest sizes available to give them the best possible chance of developing healthy root systems in the soil I've provided for them, the bed still looks pretty bare; however, my side yard filled in fairly quickly in 6 months and I'm hoping this new bed does as well.
|Hazy morning view of the new bed from the backyard door|
|View of the new border from the north end|
|View of the same border from the south end|
I was going to include a list of plants here but I realized it would be ridiculously long. The total currently amounts to over 140 individual plants, falling into 40 different genera (and that doesn't include the seeds I've direct sown or the cuttings I'm in the process of rooting). A few plants were featured in an earlier post
. The majority of the plants were purchased specifically for this bed but a few were moved from other areas of the garden. Some of the edging materials came in small 6-packs, saving me a bit of money, which is a good thing as I still have empty spaces to fill. I've been looking for Coreopsis 'Big Bang Redshift'
and Uncina uncinata 'Rubra'
but neither are currently available locally. I know it's early in the year to be looking for the Coreopsis
, which the local nurseries usually only offer in flower so I may have to resort to mail order. I've found a variety of the Uncinia
in 3-quart pots but the price is high and it lacks the vibrancy of the variety I used in my other backyard border so I'll wait until Annie's Annuals has more available for mail order.
The feature plants in the new bed are a Japanese maple, a Leucadendron
, and a Phormium
|Acer palmatum 'Mikawa Yatsubusa,' which in time should grow to about 6 feet tall|
|Leucadendron 'Rising Sun,' which should also grow to 6 feet in height at maturity|
|Phormium 'Amazing Red,' a relatively short variety, growing just 2 feet in height|
pictured above is actually in the side yard but I bought another of the same variety for the new border to help connect the 2 areas. Two Carex testacea
were moved from the side border to the new border for the same purpose. Two new pots, both planted with Euphorbia
and the same mix of succulents, mark the transition from the flagstone path of the side yard to the grass pathway that runs between the new border and the pre-existing backyard border.
|Pot containing Euphorbia 'Dean's Hybrid,' Graptoveria 'Fred Ives,' Portulacaria afra, Rhipsalis ewaldiana, and unknown Echeveria|
|Pot containing the same mix of plants on the other side of the pathway|
In addition to the long border described above, I've planted the bed formerly occupied by our "snorkel spa," which was dismantled in January with plans to use the wood to make a table for the back patio. The space went from this:
|The snorkel spa before it was taken apart|
|The bed after the spa was removed and the gravel was cleared|
|The bed after planting|
This bed, sitting alongside one of our Arbutus 'Marina' trees, has given me a place to put some red-toned plants that clash with plants elsewhere in my garden. Four of the plants in this bed were moved from other areas: a Loropetalum chinense
, the Driyms lanceolata
, the largest of the 3 Argyranthemum
, and a purple/red Ranunculus
. The Loropetalum
, which had been in danger of being consumed by an overly exuberant gray Helichrysum
in the side yard, is no more than twigs with a few leaves but I'm hopeful it will fare better here. My favorite addition to this bed (other than the still tiny Paeonia cambesseddesii
in the middle front) is Dianthus barbatus 'Heart Attack.
' A perennial Dianthus
, this plant is new to me. It was advertised as "almost black" in color but the flowers are actually burgundy.
|Dianthus barbatus 'Heart Attack'|
I feel I've made good progress with my backyard renovation projects, even though there's still a lot to do. The garden is also a good place to regroup and refocus - and time spent there never results in buyer's remorse.