Saturday, May 25, 2013

Update on the full sun/tomato flower bed

The new full-sun flower/tomato bed we put in this spring is going gangbusters. So I thought I'd give an update, particularly as, now things are actually coming up out of the ground it is a bit easier to see the design.

We dug the garden early this spring and planted it in April. The main post about the planting is here.

Now, end of May, it's starting to look like a real garden. Here is a shot from the end nearest the house, with a long row of daylilies on the left and a row of mostly later summer perennials on the right, from nearest to furthest in this shot: pincushion flower (struggling), coneflower, russian sage, black-eyed susan and more russian sage. In between, on the crest of the mound, are two sets of basil.

Below the perennials, on the yard side, is a row of alyssum seedlings, which have done much better than I would have thought. They're absurdly happy. I planted 3 different colors and a seed tape of traditional white alyssum, so I will be very interested to see what colors I wind up with.

Where the garden widens out, I put a rock garden. That was a happy accident that was never planned in the design, but I've been thrilled with the outcome so far. Here you can see along the top of the rock garden there is a semi-circle of perennials: thyme, creeping phlox, two different species of creeping sedum that I chose just because they looked good, separated by a mini-dianthus, and behind those a small maroon chrysanthemum and a white sea thrift, then lavender and a 12" pink dianthus on the far side.

Here's another view:

And, up close, thyme and creeping phlox (still in bloom):

creeping phlox and sedum:

sedum, dianthus, sedum, lavender:

And, finally, looking back across the grouping from the street side :

On the interior of the rock garden, I planted more simply. So far there are only hens and chicks and a tall sedum. It's a small space and I think perhaps better filled with just one or two varieties. Plus, the creeping sedums along the top will spill down over the rocks, filling in the spaces between.

On the far side of the rock garden are three peonies, which I transplanted from a spot at the back of the house that has become too shady over the years, where they weren't blooming well. Two of them are about to pop:

The third, in the bottom third of this shot, is struggling and won't bloom this year:

This is the one I dug up by the roots, moving only the roots, rather than the entire root ball. I wouldn't recommend that method of transplant, at least not given my experience with it. The two that are about to bloom I dug up a full 18" tub of dirt, roots and all, and lugged them around the house in my arms, like a baby. Those are the ones that are doing well and will bloom, despite the transplant.

Now, we'll walk to the far end of the entire garden and look back, and here is where the tomatoes are. To be completely  honest, I don't think I left enough room for the tomatoes, especially given that these are heirlooms. This is my first ever attempt to grow heirlooms, and I didn't realize they would be 6-7' high and sprawly. I'm used to tidy hybrids. But, here they are, in a little row, very tame so far!

In two rows alongside the tomatoes, I planted marigold seeds, which are up and running. And behind the tomatoes is a row of 3 tall dahlias, for constant bloom, 2 of which are up so far, and behind that a lily bed, which is still mostly just dirt. About 8 of the 15 lilies have come up so far, so these are getting a late start this year. Next year, I'm sure, they'll be up sooner. Here are a few shots of lilies coming out of the ground, just to give us a proper sense of accomplishment:

Among the lilies, I planted seeds to shade the roots of the lilies and provide some fill and color. Hollyhock, most of which will only bloom the second year, so these will be quiet and low this year. 

Cleome, which are sprouting everywhere:

And, verbena bonariensis, which I've never planted from seed before and am not sure has come up.

From there, we round the corner of the bed, near the street sign, and there, up against the street sign, I planted a globe thistle, surrounded by what will be very tall day lilies:

The problem area is still the low spots along the street, where there is no curb to speak of. After a heavy rain, the water pools there. I had to save a worm yesterday ...

And tho I planted marigolds here along the street, I'm not sure there will be much of anything here until I solve the water issue.

So, looking back from the street, it still looks a bit sparse, but it will fill in, and I somehow managed to coordinate with the colors of the azalea at the front of the house, without having actually given that consideration. (The little fences are temporary. I'm hoping once everything is properly established there won't need to be a fence. If there does, then I'll put in something more permanent). 

Overall, I am very, very happy with the result of all the work. Can't wait for the daylilies to bloom!

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