Sunday, May 6, 2007

How it's going

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The front garden has undergone a big transformation. When I took out the beloved but way overgrown rosemary 'Arp' and, sadly, the Fairy rose that Dad had given me years ago (not enough sun any more), to say nothing of grubbing out tons of vinca, I had an almost clean slate. I am trying to keep in mind that this is the garden I see most frequently so it should be the best and most well-tended of all. It is mostly shaded now, with just a few slivers of early morning and mid-afternoon sun.

The astilbes have struggled a bit, I think because we've had such dry summers. Playtcodon is very happy, coming up in random spots as the fancy strikes it, ditto garlic chives. The edging of coral bells that Mom gave me when I started the garden continues to thrive, though I have a few bare spots that I need to fill in. The only problem there is the timing: the fuschia azalea that came with the house is in full bloom at the same time, and the soft coral clashes with the intense azalea color.

At any rate, I checked out and quickly bought "The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer" by Stephanie Cohen and Nancy J. Ondra. I love this for its practical approach and its specificity. Based on their design for "an elegant entrance garden" (not that I'm making any claims), I designed the front garden to include dark foliage (Heuchera 'Plum Pudding,' Cimicifuga 'Hillside Black Beauty,' et al.) and brighter colors (Hakonechloa macra 'Albo-striata,' my new favorite, and three Brunnera 'Jack Frost'). Last fall I put in three geranium 'Hocus Pocus' but there's no trace of them now - either they're very late to appear, or I planted something right on top of them (another reason to order that marking pen that Dianne B. recommends).

The next order of business is to choose spring bulbs - all that's there now are a few grape hyacinths, plus the Thalia daffodils I planted around the new August Moon hosta. In line with the idea that this garden is the most visible, why not choose something spectacular like double bloodroot? McClure & Zimmerman carry the single one, at only $8.95 for three. Carroll Gardens lists the double at $17.85! but it's not available this year. I may have to sneak into Judy's woods and grab one of Mom's while they're not looking.

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