Thursday, June 25, 2009

One Garden Reno Down, Another to Go

The garden reno at my parents' place is done. I'm very happy with the results. More important, my parents are happy and even the neighbours like it. Here's a shot of the final stages of work. I was worried about the soil and had planned to do some heavy amending with compost. When it came time to choose plants it became apparent that most wouldn't mind their soil on the lean side. So instead of amending all the soil I gave each planting hole a heaping trowel full of compost and top dressed the plants. So far, so good. The plants seem happy.

I have always been a casual user of mulch but this garden project has made me a true believer. Mulch is the perfect finishing touch. I chose a black cedar mulch that really makes the plants "pop."

Salvia "Blue Hill" made the cut. I have become a bit of a salvia nut as of late. It's an amazing plant isn't it? So undemanding and yet so giving when it comes to blooms and foliage. Six plants cut a swath across the front of the yard with the hostas as their background. I'm planning to plant a river of daffodils behind the salvia in fall.

Two types of yarrow, "Summer Pastels" and "Cerise Queen," protested vehemently when I planted them. They flopped over so badly I was sure they were dead. But wouldn't you know it that just two days later they were the plants that stood tallest and proudest in the garden...and they were blooming like crazy. I think yarrow will prove to be a good choice.

Interplanted among the yarrow at the back of the border are purple coneflowers. Honestly, I don't think I could plant a sunny garden without including purple coneflowers. They are the perfect flower as far as I'm concerned.

Two Amsonia "Blue Star" anchor either side of the hosta planting. I'm looking forward to their blooms but am even more excited about their brilliant yellow fall colour.

Here's the fun part of planting in other people's gardens: you get to try plants you've always wanted to try. The Kniphofia or Tritoma "Flamenco" is well past its prime this season but I'm already dreaming about the display next spring. I put six plants directly behind the hostas which will hide the faded foliage of the red-hot pokers once the display is done. I'm planning a fall planting of the tallest tulips and alliums I can find and placing them among the "Flamencos." (One great thing about buying plants after their bloom time is the very big discount at the check-out. More than 50% off. Hurray!)

Liatris, like purple coneflowers, are just about perfect. I planted ten plants altogether. Two groups of five plants each add some height at each end of the hosta planting.

Two types of coreopsis are front and centre in the garden. "Moonbeam" is there because of its infamous blooming ability.

I couldn't resist tucking in a Coreopsis "Zagreb" (Zagreb is where my father is from.) I prefer it to "Moonbeam" because its yellow blooms are much more vibrant.

And finally, at the front of the border, there are several triangular groupings of Lavender "Munstead." I planted them with the intention of creating a hedge that will spill onto the sidewalk. Anyone walking by and just slightly brushing the plants will be able to enjoy the astounding fragrance. It will take a few years for the hedge to reach its full potential, but when it does it will be fantabulous!

Doing this garden reno was such a great pleasure. The work was most satisfying. And for a while it distracted me from the fact that my own garden is out of control. Just look at those Jerusalem Artichokes taking over the back yard garden. This part of the garden has been neglected for some time thanks in part to ongoing renovations next door. Those renovations appear to done (finally!!!) and that means it's time to get this spot looking ship shape. Ahh, a gardener's work is never done...and that's a good thing.

(P.S. Thanks to everyone for their plant suggestions. Just about every suggestion made it into the garden. Those that didn't weren't available at the garden centre. I'm still on the look-out for prairie smoke. When I find it, though, it's more likely to end up in my garden.)


Garden Lily said...

Irena - Congratulations! The reno'd garden looks wonderful, and the black cedar was a great idea. I would love to see photos of it later in the summer and fall.

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

The garden looks wonderful! It doesn't look brand new; it looks like it's been there for years. Well done!

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

Thanks for the info on my ?? plant being a Mountain Bluet. The friend who gave it to me thought it might be a Bachelor Button; but another more knowledgeable gardener said last weekend that she didn't think it was. (Perhaps not a traditional Bachelor Button.) But I checked out your suggestion online, and there it is! Thanks again; it's always nice to know what your growing.

Helen said...

Well done. Aren't you lucky to have had such good garden-making weather this year! Sounds like it will be spectacular in seasons to come. Please keep us posted.

Connie said...

Congrats...Your garden renovation turned out beautiful! I love the color of that Yarrow. I have the Cerise one, and it is a good performer for me.
Can't wait to see this garden when it all fills in and matures a bit more.