Plants are leafing out in our backyard. The west foundation bed is looking alive! Dwarf vitex, crape myrtle, loropetalum and sambuca nigra are showing off some early spring growth.
The purple garden has been cleaned of the dried out ornamental peppers. I’ve also removed as much of the bicolor salvia as I could. Here’s to hoping that my reseeding efforts will bear fruit in the spring. I’ve sprinkled as much of the seeds closer to the side of the house, where it’s been a challenge to grow anything. The only plant that’s managed to endure in the damp ground that killed off a lavender and a rosemary is the citronella plant (Orange Fizz) which has soared to a whopping 3 feet high. Time will tell if it can survive the frost. Future plans: rearrange lorapetalum and purple salvias in a straight line, plant Picasso and Devils Wine callas.
I’ve gone ahead and planted the blueberry dianthus in the blue bed, after uprooting and repotting the plumbago and applying a generous layer of mulch. I’ve also taken some rooted bits of Wood’s Blue aster and replanted them. I finished off the bed with plantings of violas. It is perhaps the only color left…the oxalis top growth are turning an unflattering shade of brown.
I am happy to see that the herb garden is thriving, thanks to departure of the basil plants. The rosemary is enjoying good circulation, full sun and perhaps has grown more in the last few weeks than it has all summer. The oreganos, thyme and pineapple mint are sprawling happily…too happily in fact, since I’ve had to shear back the mint. I am hoping to clone the Hot & Spicy Oregano in the opposite corner of the bed, so that I can have a second specimen. The man and I have decided on two priorities for this herb garden in 2011: 1) plant only basil in this bed, and 2) purchase some fencing to keep the pups out. We might just pot up the pepper plants or set them up in a separate bed.
I’ve removed some of the Flame Callas from the courtyard flower bed. The bed is looking rather bare, especially with the annual azaleas dying off. I plan on moving the daylilies in this bed as well as transplanting the rest of the callas out. I hope to get some more red and white dianthus to completely border the bed. Some more of those chocolate ajuga might produce a red, white, and blue border in the spring. The question is: what shrubbery to plant for next year?
Shade garden: more ferns, caladiums and nandinas perhaps. I definitely want to look into variegated liriope as an option. I hope the hakonechloa come back.
Speaking of which, those dwarf mondo grasses bordering our gravel extension are doing quite well. I hope they will grow hardy in time for next summer’s drought and heat.
We can’t seem to not find anything we like at Strong’s Nursery: 1 basil lime, 1 lemon balm (melissa officinalis), 1 pineapple mint, one Spanish Lavender and another Hakonechloa Aureola (Golden Japanese Forest Grass looking a little burnt). At Home Depot, we finally got our paws on 2 catmints, Nepeta faassenii, though they didn’t look at all too happy sitting out in full sun, plus a larger rosemary specimen, Tuscan Blue. From there I also picked up a cheap 6-pack of marigolds (Durango or Safari series mix, Bolero being the choicest color), 2 more bicolor salvia coccinea, 2 Calico and 2 Purple Flash Ornamental Peppers, and a Tropical Breeze verbena (for my blue-themed planter). My man also picked up some sale items at Calloways, 2 Oertel’s Rose Common Yarrow and 2 Golden Fleece (Dahlberg Daisies).
I planted my yellow-themed box with marigolds and coleus, with the old Salsa Jasmines as bookends to the box. I still have plenty of coleus to spare as I consider setting up another planter box in the same theme.
The first lily bloom is not surprisingly the shortest lilies in the flower beds: Lollypop. It made a showing last Saturday with 2 flowers. An even younger bulb boasts 3 pink-edged blooms on a 18″ trunk. Another surprise bloomer is the Red Peppermint Super Parfait dianthus. One of the seedlings hatched yesterday, and it appears several more seedlings are budding. I’m not sure that I should pinch them back to stimulate more foliage. Other bloomers include Macrantha orange and white gumpo azaleas. The orange actually looks more like what Crimson should have looked like, and the white gumpo is a pretty single-flowered form.
The first purple garden is in place, with the Lorapetalum as centerpiece, and rosemary Tuscan Blue close to the patio door, next to the house wall. It is currently populated with 2 Compact Ballerina white gauras, one Calico and one Purple Flash ornamental pepper, one Spanish Lavender, 2 violet salvia greggiis and 3 bicolor salvia coccinea. I also transplanted the purple picoteed dianthus from the lily bed to this one, since the colors worked well.
The 2 golden fleece and the Cherry Brandy gaura have been planted in the front flower bed, in front of the shorter azaleas.
Plants currently making an entrance in the flower beds: 1 Fanal Astilbe (in corner bed), 1 Picasso calla lily
More seeds are in. I get to experiment with the seed sower I purchased and give the Burpees pellets another shot.
I convinced the honey that the front flower bed does indeed receive 2-4 hours of sunlight every morning…I suspect we will be reviewing our bedding plans and determine what shrubs might be suitable for the location. So far I’m convinced that at least 2 Encore azaleas, 2 nandinas and at least one green-leaved fringeflower will be represented. I’ve found a good list of shade-loving shrubs that I’ll also be using as reference.
I’m still deliberating on the placement of the kalmia. I’m not convinced that Minuet won’t overgrow its position by the door, but being a dwarf mountain laurel means it won’t reach the normal size of the species, right?
I will also have to look at the hydrangea section again…it seems there may be a subgroup of the shrub whose leaves don’t offend me. I’m not fond of the giant oak-leaved hydrangeas…I’d prefer a finer texture and smaller form.