My garden often looks like a giant riot of happenstance blooms and branches but really, for the most part, everything I plant – annuals and veggies as well as perennials, shrubs and trees – is in its spot for a reason. The exceptions, of course, are volunteers like the sunflowers that return year after year, or the wild and often native perennials that I encourage and enjoy, such as goldenrod, aster, Queen Anne’s lace and evening primrose. These grow with such abandon and abundance that the most I have to do is ‘edit’ them – removing them where they encroach too much in the more genteel parts of the garden.
Did I mention veggies? I do have a few raised beds but they’re far from a water source; mostly I fill them with garlic and bush beans. Vegetables I actually like to eat I plant closer to home, in the kitchen/cutting garden outside the back porch, in a small garden on the sunny west side of the house and even in the Island garden, where last year I grew heaps of yellow zucchini.
I’ve been creating a long shrub border half way between the house and the driveway – I want to create some context, definition and create various perspectives. It’s been fun slowly adding to this border; filling the blankness between the shrubs with perennials and some annuals (can’t have bare spots while the shrubs grow!). I try to chose shrubs whose foliage or flowers will interact well with its neighbours.
Sometimes colour combos turn out better than expected; for instance, if a seed packet produces something other than what was labelled, or if willy nilly colours magically appear in just the right place.
I quite frequently plant something only to realize, a year, a month, sometimes just a day, later, that it’s in the wrong place. I did that this year with a little Ice Plant. Low growing. Dainty flowers. Knowing it liked good drainage, full sun and is drought tolerant I planted it in May on a slope on the Island, forgetting that, come July, the slope was totally covered by foliage from other perennials that also like full sun and good drainage. The Ice Plant seemed a goner until I moved it to a vacant spot in the shrub border.
Sometimes, of course, you don’t want or need colour. Just a single exclamation point. Something architectural that provides interest most or all year. Perhaps with some aspect of the plant repeated elsewhere in the garden, so that the eye draws connections. Purple shrubs in three spots. Solitary Emerald Cedars in strategic corners (ie not as a hedge). Tall ornamental grasses.
That’s it for my Six this last Saturday of the month. To see Sixes from around the world head on over to The Propagator’s site.