Garden Makeover, Day 1: Digging, Killing and Cussing

In my back yard there is a garden built on a slope that I’ve been struggling with since I moved in. Some of the plants there are good, but not many. It was filled with spread-everywhere lilies-of-the-valley, boring pink phlox and some kind of eat-your-yard ladybells. I love hostas, but the ones in this particular garden were nondescript and boring. The peonies are not a color I like, and there was an ugly, sprawling rosebush. Here’s a view of it in June 2011, before anything much had bloomed:

Not bad looking, I suppose, butSlope Garden June 2011 it’s just not interesting enough for me. I design gardens carefully, paying attention to details, crafting vignettes, and this garden was a jumble of a few unrelated colors and invasive plants. All I really wanted to keep were the Siberian irises and the peonies. Well, not even the peonies, but I figured I could plant some things around them to ease the shocking effect of the color.

Not so fast, pardner. When I got into working with this area, I found out just what a mess it really was. Continue reading

What Is This Plant?

In this unusually early spring, this perennial is already blooming in my garden. I have no idea what it is! Can anyone enlighten me? I live in Zone 5, if that helps.

I’m supposed to be hypomanic in January

AmsoniaJanuary is usually the month when my mood starts to soar into hypomania. Garden catalogs are arriving, filled with loveliness I want for my garden. I make lists, spreadsheets, drawings. Where can I use amsonia (at right); which variety is best; which nursery has the best price?

No – not this year. Keep looking, keep looking…

Artemisia Powis CastleOne ‘Powis Castle’ artemisia (at left) will be perfect to separate two rather garish peonies and soften their magenta color. I’ll get that from High Country Gardens. That goes on my “definite” list. So does artemisia ‘Seafoam,’ which will form the base of a floral waterfall. (I can’t afford a real pool with waterfall and fountain, so I’m going to make the image of one with plants.)

Oh how I want those 3 lilies from American Meadows! And that darling little false cypress – chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Chabo Yadori’ for my collection of dwarf conifers.

Old Hosta Garden

I also collect hostas (there’s my old hosta garden at right, from before I moved), and there is one I really want this year, a new dwarf called Fireworks. It’s expensive.

Yes, I love variegated foliage, but I don’t focus on foliage plants only. I want some new daylilies in soft yellow and salmon, I want the blazing red of geums, Maltese Cross and Oriental poppies. I want another fuschia ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’ – tried to overwinter last year’s, but Buzz Continue reading