Yard crash progress as of 3/28

It was a back-breaking, sore-all-over labor to work the north-side shade bed and start the task of planting groundcovers and creepers in the stone pathway. But we accomplished a lot over the weekend, including our final tree selections @ Chambersville: a shantung maple and a Viridis japanese maple, both 30 gallon specimens. Due to the wet weather so far, Chambersville won’t be able to deliver our new trees until sometime mid-April.

Before pictures:

20150627_North Bed Pre-fence 20150702_North Bed Pre-sod 20160220_Yard Crash Groundbreaking

After pictures:

20160314_North Bed and Path Development 20160322_North Bed and Path 20160330_North Bed 6p 20160331_North Bed 9a

We mulled over the idea of adding blue glass to the marble rock river winding down to the path from the gutter. The man also wanted to add a marble rock feature to the front bed, but I’m not as open to the idea.

Plantings in the north bed: Carex Everillo, Hosta Fire and Ice, Astilbe (x5), Lime Marmalade heuchera, Foxtail fern, Cedar Sage, White Star caladiums (x3), White Splash geranium, green oxalis (white-flowered), Hort Couture Glitterati Ice Queen, wild red columbine, Sugar Plum heuchera, Japanese painted fern, Hort Couture Plum Crazy oxalis, Contessa Burgundy geranium, black mondo grass.

Plantings in the north path: Platt’s Black brass buttons, scotch moss, irish moss, variegated oregano, roman chamomile, Grace Ward lithiodora, Archer’s gold lemon thyme.

One month later

The winter garden is finally shuttering up the show. The annual holdouts such as the angelonia and the ornamental peppers have given up their last seasonal colors. The man and I had done some diligent pruning and clean up of the front beds, such as shearing back the gaura, removing dead coleus and cutting back the salvias, including the Victoria Blues. I had planted some violas and ornamental cabbages/kale in the gardenia bed, which have been blanketed by fall debris. Too bad we didn’t have a way to compost all the autumn leaves; that’s a project for next year, hopefully. 

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.

Strolling through the nursery

A visit to The Plant Market in Dallas, TX yielded a bounty of colorful pictures. Some of the most memorable sights are their azaleas and roses, which are fiercely blooming and scenting the air around the nursery. Also most of their japanese maples are in full leaf, a fiery display of reds and greens. Among some of the candidates I wanted to take home: I found a Harvest Lemon Chiffon Heuchera that I found attractive and about the right size to add to my purple planter box. However I’m still holding out for a variegated mondo grass.

4/1/2009 The Plant Market: Yellow Marigolds 4/1/2009 The Plant Market: What flowers are these 4/1/2009 The Plant Market: Rows of Azaleas 4/1/2009 The Plant Market: Peachy Lady Rose 4/1/2009 The Plant Market: More Marigolds 4/1/2009 The Plant Market: More Japanese Maples 4/1/2009 The Plant Market: Mellow Yellow Spirea 4/1/2009 The Plant Market: Japanese Maple 4/1/2009 The Plant Market: Harvest Lemon Chiffon Heuchera 4/1/2009 The Plant Market: Flaming Roses 4/1/2009 The Plant Market: Coralbark Japanese Maple 4/1/2009 The Plant Market: Azalea Closeup

Romancing the black

The black plant in the garden always makes a statement. I purchased 5 bareroot Ophiopogon niger (black mondo grass) from Brent and Becky’s last year…and while they aren’t as robust as I’d like, they are still eyecatching. That black mondo grass incidentally has gone up in price at B&B, and I’ve since lost 2 of those plants.

Today I’m taking a very close look at sedums and ajuga. Of the sedums, the dark purple-leaved cultivars are particularly attractive. Both Black Jack and Postman’s Pride are border plant/specimen contenders for the S1 bed where their dark foliage will contrast nicely against the white/blue theme setting. Of the ajuga (bugleweed) I’m studying the Black Scallop and the Braunherz, 2 glossy-leaved groundcovers that may see use in the back beds.

Now another “colorful” plant that I’ve used, with some disappointng results two years ago, is the heuchera. The Texas heat proved too much for the Heuchera caramels that I trialed. But the S1 bed has a more controlled water schedule (and some shade protection) which may allow the heuchera to thrive. Some cultivars that drew my attention: Black Beauty, Midnight Rose, Obsidian, Plum Pudding, and the americana Chocolate Veil. The Sooner Plant Farm based in Oklahoma looks like a great place to purchase these plants.

But before I close, let’s not forget the fringe flower, or loropetalum. I’m thinking of filling the hole vacated by a dead nandina in S1 with a short, dark-leaf cultivar…the shortest I’ve found is a “dwarf” called Daruma, which still grows 3-4 feet high. My only concern are its bright pink blooms which might clash with the white and blue theme of S1.