Posts Tagged ‘phlox’
This is one of those lemons/lemonade things.
For some reason, none of our Asparagus survived this winter. I don’t know if I hadn’t planted them deep enough or if the winter was too bitterly cold, or if there was a disease or fungus or whatever. But no Asparagus.
So…after looking at that empty bed for a few weeks, waiting and waiting, I decided to dig. At first I was digging to see if there was anything happening down below. When I found all of the Asparagus gone (DOA) I decided to really start digging.
I get excited when there is a blank space in the garden because it’s so fun to plan an new garden area and to make it happen. This new space is between a peach tree and the grape arbor. At the back is a 6′ wooden fence and large rocks in the front. A blank canvas.
I wanted something that would grow tall in the back, taller than the fence but not tall enough to shade the grape vines on the arbor. I wanted something in the mid-range in the middle and a little shorter closer to the front. Then much smaller plants in the very front.
On top of all that, I wanted plants that would have a long bloom time and be long lived. In other words, a permanent bed. I don’t like spending a lot of money on annuals that have to be re-planted each and every year.
I chose Hibiscus (Rose of Sharon, Hardy Hibiscus, Althea are other names) for the back. They will grow to about 8-9′ and bloom all Summer and Fall.
In front of the Hibiscus I decided to use Centranthus ruber (Jupiter’s Beard) since it can get to about 4′ easily and blooms from Spring through Fall. A very tough and beautiful plant and so easily grown.
In front of the Centranthus I used Garden Phlox. It too has a long bloom time and is very easy to grow. It will reach about 30″.
For the very front I planted Snapdragons. They aren’t perennials but they have re-seeded freely in my garden so I think I can could on them to re-appear each year.
On each side of this bed is a stand of Hollyhocks which re-seeded a few years ago and I just let them stay.
Now the fun of watching and waiting. It’s one thing to plan it all out and know what each plant is supposed to do, but waiting and watching for the magic to happen is part of the joy of gardening.
If you like a lot of different kinds of plants…
If you like a lot of flowers blooming…
If you don’t want to worry about strict, formal lines and forms…
If you want your garden to feel natural, like it all happened on its own…
If you like using vintage pieces in your garden…
If you like the idea of plants seeding themselves or multiplying on their own…
If you want a garden that make you want to just hang out and relax in…
Maybe a Cottage Garden is just for you.
A cottage garden is loosely planned, and heavily planted. I think that most gardeners are a lot like me when it comes to plants. It seems that I’m a plant-aholic. I can’t seem to ever have too many. Even when I’m sure that I’ve maxed out the space available, I can always squeeze in one more specimen I’ve found.
Plants that bloom, smell good and re-seed or spread will eventually find a way into my garden. The great thing about having such a variety of plants is that most of them bloom, but not at the same time. So I have something blooming somewhere all during the growing season. If you have all the same plants then the blooms are all done with at the same time.
I did lay out a plan of the yard but only loosely designated a certain area for “flower bed” or “berry patch”. I paid attention to the height of the plants, so they would all fit together nicely, and to the sun and water requirements. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to the bloom time but I didn’t really do that, and most of the time I was lucky. The blooms for any season, spring through fall, are spread around the whole yard pretty evenly.
If you follow the planting guides on most seed packets or plant instructions, your garden will look good eventually. While the plants are growing and reaching their full potential, there can be a lot of empty space to fill. It can either be filled with annuals for a year or two…or three, or with mulch. I like to plant things much closer than the instructions say because I like a very full garden. If the plants get a little crowded, it’s okay. If they ever get too crowded, I divide and move some or share with friends.
I like blooms. I love having flowers in the house, so I plant plenty so that I can cut plenty to use and to share. Try some of the cottage garden favorites like hollyhocks, foxglove, phlox, daisies, roses (of course), peonies or lilies.
It doesn’t take a lot of room to have a cottage garden either. A tiny plot by the back door will do. How about a 3′ border down the side of your lawn? I’d rather have the 3′ lawn and the rest in flowers, but that’s just me.
Mix in some vegetable plants along the way. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, squash and many other beautiful vegetable plants will fit right into a cottage garden.
Formal gardens are pretty but they don’t draw me in and make me feel as happy as I feel when I’m in my (slightly messy) cottage garden.
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Taking time to enjoy the garden is such an important part of gardening.My husband would probably smile to read this.
As a gardener, it is hard for me to just stroll through the garden without bending over to pull a weed or move something around. Even as I sit and relax with a book and cool drink, something will catch my eye and I’ll get an idea of where to move a plant or how to change something.
I’m trying though, sometimes I have to focus on just listening to the birds and enjoying the beauty of the garden. Forget about the weeds, I know they will be there tomorrow and will be easier to pull because they’ll be taller and I won’t have to bend over so far.
In case you don’t know, a perennial is a plant that comes back year after year, getting bigger and more beautiful each year. With perennials it’s sleep, creep, leap. They don’t do much the first year but gather strength. The second year they will began to put on more growth and the third year they take off.
The cooler temperatures have me searching the nursery sites and catalogs for some of my favorite plants. If you plant perennials now they will have a head start in the spring because they will have a stronger root system.
Here is a list of some of the plants in our yard and so I can vouch for their beauty and ease of growing. In my yard it’s survival of the fittest so if they don’t do well they kind of drop by the wayside on their own. There are so many more plants than this but these are some of my favorites.
Pulmonaria (Lungwort) (semi-shade)
Centranthus (Jupiter’s Beard)
Campanula – Canterbury Bells
We’re in zone 6 and so this is what we can have in our yard. I use to live in zone 8 where I could have Angel Trumpets, Crape Myrtle, Plumbago,Hibiscus, Citrus Trees, Palm Trees and Gardenias.
I really do miss the Natchez Crape Myrtles. They were so big and graceful… but I couldn’t have peonies there.
Do you have any favorites in this list?