Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More Fernscapes in the Woodland Garden

One more fernscape for a quietly spent Memorial Day ... It's a wider shot of the ferns and Dicentra we have in the middle space of the Woodland Garden, just behind the Hollies.

Though it was still pretty muddy today out in the garden, I did manage to spend a couple more hours working on the small bed next to the front steps. (The one with the primroses.) It has been in dire need of a good raking and weeding and general clean up before I could get serious about getting it planted for summer. So now, aside from re-placing the rocks at the front of the border, it's ready to get planting. In fact, my reward to myself today was planting one of the coleus we got over the weekend ... it's a really colourful one with lots of veining ... called "Peter's Wonder" if you happen to see it when out shopping. (For Iowa readers, it came from HyVee.)

This has always been a challenging little bed (about 3'x3') to achieve a measure of success and make it look really good. When we first moved here, there were a few perennials planted there: mainly a small Meadow Sage (Salvia nemerosa), some struggling small clumps of Bee Balm ... everything in it was basically struggling due to a thick overgrown mass of the dreaded 'Privet Lilies' that run rampant across the gardens and yards of just about everyone in our part of town. Well, as soon as I heard from a friend (who lives out in the country) that she was looking for a lot of daylilies to screen her a bit from a ditch, I was wheeling and dealing. (Because we can't get rid of these in the back either because they grow under the fenceline.) Here's where I landed: I proposed giving said friend all the daylilies she could haul or manage to plant (especially from this bed!), but politely suggested that should she ever want to thin her peonies out (I'd heard her mention this before), we'd sure be grateful to give them a new home. You see where this is going now ... a few weeks later at work she said she had peonies for us and had them in a box in her car. Deal sealed and two gardeners came out happy at the end. So the very first peonies we ever planted were Elaine's peonies, since they originally came from her. You'll be seeing them soon, when the peonies finally start blooming, and I'll point hers out.

Currently this little bed is undergoing yet another overhaul of sorts, though we've slowly been adding some more perennials over the past few years to see what would really take off, some Munstead Lavender, ferny red yarrow, an Artemisia 'Silver Mound' that ended up being one of last year's casualties due to the cold. But the real success story is the Primroses (see previous crowing on this subject) and now, apparently, the new Toad Lily I put in last year (a lovely purple one!) is quite happy in its new space as well. So currently, aside from a few snowdrops who are starting to naturalize and that rogue red tulip, that's pretty much the content of this little bed. The trellis is testimony to several past failures with clematis and (supposedly perennial) passion flower vines, but now we're just planting morning glories and Spanish Flag (Mina lobata) on it, which is much less worry and hassle.

So this is what I'm planting soon (probably tomorrow if it's not too rainy): I'm going to add another 'Silver Mound' where it once was doing quite well, I already planted one coleus and I think I'll add a few more. Then come the seeds ... Nasturtiums up front by the rocks, a small patch (on the sunnier, driveway side) of Balsam and a few Cerinthe seeds, just to see what comes of them this year. And, if I happen to find a new Toad Lily that wows me, I might put another of those in by the other one in the hope that they eventually colonize like some of our others have. Other than that, I plan to let this design go and do its thing (hopefully well!) ...