It’s that time again…

Fall is the best time for planting herbaceous perennials. Or really any perennials for that matter. And it’s supposed to be 70 degrees and rainy every single day this week – you just couldn’t ask for better planting weather! Which means… once again, it’s time to break out the checkbook. -grin-

I was fairly unhappy with the way the garden looked this year – there was no design to it, a million colors clashed, and the dry shady spot behind the lilac was just plain old naked (unless you count the near-dead echinacea struggling for survival there – and I don’t, cuz take it from me, a single echinacea doesn’t do a whole lot to cover five square feet of sand). So today I decided to do something about it. That “something” involved a shovel, two trowels, and a bag of compost. Three hours later, the garden looked, well, somewhat different, somewhat more bare, and really somewhat worse for the wear.

I moved three struggling echinaea out of shady spots where they should never have been (what was I thinking?) into a clustered grouping in a full-sun out-of-the-way spot. Pink just doesn’t really work in my garden, and while echinacea’s flowers are interesting enough to be forgiven their hue (and they provide some color in August, never a gift to be scoffed at), I’d really rather not have them scattered randomly about the rest of the garden. Clustered together, I hope they’ll provide a bank of color, rather than a few wisps here and there – still pink, but now a pink that means it. And since I had decided to keep those plants after all, I chucked the other two pink plants in their cluster with ’em for some variety (and because I wanted them the heck out of the way) – a “Heidi” yarrow (picture right) and an unnamed mauvey sort of daylily. And if it turns out to be just plain old too much pink, I can always rip ’em out completely like I’d meant to before.
I also worked some with the yellows. I moved a couple short daylilies over to another bed, interspersing them with the taller yellow Hyperions, and rearranged (read: crowded) my other bed of daylilies so that there’s more space for other plants in there – namely, the Moonbeam coreopsis which had been struggling in the shade by the patio door, along with a miniature lavender which had also been in too much shade.
Now that I’ve got a huge empty patch in the middle of my dogwood bed, along with fair bits of space in other beds as well, it’s time for the fun part – finding stuff to fill them with! I’m sticking with a warm color scheme with cooler blues in clusters – very primary, but I just love blues and reds together.

I’ve also decided that no amount of wishing will change my shade bed into a sun bed, so I’m going to go ahead and transplant out what shouldn’t be there. I figure I can fill in the empty space with fragrant hostas, ferns, and bright heucheras. Polemonium and pulmonaria (right) are nice too. But I find shade plants pretty darn boring as a whole, so it’s difficult to get creative with them and design a landscape I enjoy.

I’m going to go to Behnke’s nursery this weekend, because even though their plants are at least twice the price they should be, they make up for it with their health and vigor. Anything I don’t find at Behnke’s I’ll order from Blue Stone Perennials, the only online nursery that I ever order from any more.

So for a while the garden will look like it was attacked by hungry moles, but next spring it will all have been worth it.

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