Thursday, March 25, 2010

longer days, more gardening adventures

Last Saturday I worked in the garden until after sunset, which now is almost 7:00! Thanks, Daylight Savings Time. I weeded, planted, divided, relocated, mulched, and watered. I worked mainly in the planting bed on the west side of my house (picture). With almost due west exposure, this bed gets the most sun of any of my planting beds and eventually this bed will be home to my future tomato plants.

An early goal of mine was to screen the a/c unit on the left and for that, I choose Euonymus 'Green Spire'. [Normally, I am NOT a proponent of Euonymus in general, but these plants look pretty good all year, are very cheap, and as far as I know will not become invasive.] The Euonymus hedge has been planted for a few years now with an initial investment of less than $50.

In front of the Euonymus hedge are ornamental grasses (still dormant), and a new patch of sedum that replaces the Black-eyed Susan’s (Rudbeckia) that I just relocated to elsewhere in the bed. The large shrub, butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii), which now reaches the top of the brick wall, is a personal favorite. In fact I plan to do another blog post specifically about this plant.

In front of the butterfly bush is Lambs Ear (Stachys byzantina). I believe I have the variety called ‘Big Ears’. This is a neat perennial with silver-green foliage and I can’t help but feel the soft leaves every time I’m nearby, they really do feel like lambs ears. In between the butterfly bush and lambs ear are my beloved peonies (which are just now starting to poke through the soil).

You can barely see the corkscrew willow (Salix matsudana) under the electric meter. This is a very cool, graceful plant with an extremely fine textured, medium-green leaf and yellow bark. Between it and the butterfly bush is my recently planted climbing rose (no clue what variety). There is a small trellis for the rose now, but I will probably run some wire for it to climb on this summer. The climbing rose takes the place of another butterfly bush, which I cut back and relocated to the planting bed across the driveway.

Near the middle of the bed, there’s a medium green groundcover that has basically taken over this portion of the planting bed. As of yet, this Sedum has remained unidentifiable. I have probably 10 different sedums growing throughout my various planting beds; they’re great low-maintenance perennials that come in a variety of foliage and flower colors (I’m a huge fan). But this one grows faster than any I’ve ever encountered. I’ll probably remove portions of this to make room for my tomatoes!

The blue pot will eventually be planted with herbs and/or seasonal color, and probably won’t remain in the bed. Behind the pot, against the house are a row of tiger lilies (Hemerocallis fulva), which will bloom creamsicle-orange. This plant is also fondly called ‘ditch lily’, and is a fine example of what I call a ‘native invasive’.

In the right corner of this bed is a newly planted upright rosemary, although the variety name escapes me now. I’m so excited about this rosemary and once it fills out (about 4’ tall) I think it will really help to anchor the space. My kitchen door is right around the corner, and I’m looking forward to using this herb while cooking!

Behind the rosemary is a patch of Pachysandra terminalis ‘Green sheen’. It’s an amazingly care-free evergreen groundcover, probably deserving of its very own blog post. Pachysandra has beautiful shiny dark green leaves of a medium texture. While no one buys this plant for the bloom alone, the dainty clusters of white flowers are quite nice; mine are in bloom right now!

This is my favorite planting bed because of the variety of foliage and bloom colors that all work so well together. I’m also really pleased with the year round presence the pachysandra, euonymus, butterfly bush, lambs ear, sedum, and now rosemary will provide. But in the summer, this bed literally comes alive with all of the warm flower colors of plants that haven’t even come up yet.

Throughout the bed are Black-eyed Susan’s (Rudbeckia), Tennessee Coneflower (Echinacea tennesseensis), other sedums, and various daylilies (from my uncle). I’ll take pictures along the way to document the bloom/growth progress. Bottom line, the garden doesn't look like much now, but i promise, an amazing transformation is in the works!

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