Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Labor Days

Early fall is the perfect time to plant--or transplant. I've been doing a bit of both, spurred by the cool cloudy days we've been having, plus a real desire to transform this (before, below) into something much more attractive. I removed a large swath of Ageratum (mist flower) earlier this summer--it was just too aggressive and threatened to swamp the entire border. That left the border looking leggy and unfinished (which it iswas).

The space to the left of this "Limelight" Hydrangea was as a huge hole waiting to be filled with a large shrub. The sunflower looked beyond sad after squirrels climbed it and destroyed it. The dinner plate Dahlia next to the sunflower was not cutting it. (The flowers are gorgeous but turn to mush in a flash.) I knew I wanted something dark-leaved, so I set out to purchase either an elderberry or a ninebark. The black elderberry leaves were too fine, so ninebark it is!
"Inner Glow" ninebark

I also wanted something low and spreading (just not so aggressive) in front of the Hydrangea. Lamb's ear made an obvious choice since I already have one clump of it elsewhere in the garden. I transplanted two "white swan" cone flowers to the front of the irises, and I moved all of the butterfly weed that was languishing in too much shade. I've been pondering interplanting, so I spaced it among some pink "red fox" Veronica I moved to make room for the ninebark. The butterfly weed and Veronica are going to take time to recover, but it's looking better already with the addition of the large shrub, and my new pink Muhly grasses will block their ragtag appearance for a while. I moved some Veronicastrum (Culver's root) from along the driveway to here among these grasses, where I can enjoy them. Another experiment in interplanting, I'm hoping these combinations will help me keep track of where my tender perennials are when they die back in winter while disguising the gaps with plants that have winter interest.


Back in this corner near the shed, things were too cramped. I've been biding my time to move the beautyberry. Otherwise, I just spaced some things out, moved some volunteer Monarda (bee balm) and a phlox, rearranged some irises, and added another lamb's ear.

You'll have to settle for the long view, as this spot is not looking so hot up-close. We'll reap the rewards next year. All of the grass and weeds I dug up are being used as mulch for the pathway.
Over at the other end of the border, the bed I expanded last summer was looking sad as well. My soil does not really suit Agastache (but I will not give up on it), and a couple of these coneflowers had expired. Another squirrel-mangled sunflower rounded out the sad look. This plan was mostly for rearrangement to give these large plants more space. The Baptisia in the back are doing quite well. Monarda, doing too well, also needed some room. I noticed how well the Agastache looked with the Amsonia, so I moved them behind to disguise their leaves while still getting their blooms peeking over the green of the Amsonia.
Finally, I expanded this bed further and moved the beautyberry over here as a focal point, and rounded out the bed with lavender, a plant I was missing.



Wide shot, before:
Wide shot, after:

 I can't wait until next spring!

1 comment:

  1. Can I pay you to come to North Carolina and do this to my yard? :D It looks fantastic!