Thursday, March 11, 2010

2009 – Planting the Garden ‘Anchors’ [Starting from Scratch: Part 2]

Once I got my creative garden mojo going, I was a woman on a mission. Knowing I was starting from scratch, there was a priority list of things I set out to accomplish: 

(1) Plant perennials in the ‘Shade Garden’ 1st
    (By the 3-Season room, a motivator to look at from inside!)
(2) Cut out the shape of the front garden
    (see sketch in blog: “Spring 2009 – Now What?”
(3) Plant the anchors (key bushes and/or small tree) in front garden
(4) Look for new ‘anchor bushes’ for “nakey” backyard
(5) Replant perennials - potted during construction project
(6) Plant some gratuitous annuals :o)
(7) Plan for 2010 growing season 

It started with a Royal Purple Smoke Tree (I always thought it was a bush?). It was my first 'anchor', and visual highpoint in the front garden.  It had been one of the cornerstones on my short list, along with a Japanese maple or a Redbud. Whatever I planted there had to be hardy, since it is in the northwest corner of the property.  I also liked the idea that the foliage of the Smoke Bush would be plum - a nice shot of subtle color in the front yard.

I used White Impatiens to highlight the bottom shape of the garden. And “yes”, I realize now it resembles an inverted Nike swoop!. I picked up a flat at Lowe's.  The beauty of a place like Lowe’s Garden Center is that you can fill in bare areas of your garden without going broke, and I not too proud to say that works for me.

The Smoke bush looked a little lost in the dirt, and vulnerable to west winds, so I added 3 annual Purple Fountain grass plants. You’ll notice over time that I take that ‘plant in odd numbers’ rule very seriously – because I’m just OCD like that! I also planted a Coleus – which mimicked the lime in the begonias leaves and complemented the plum color of the grass & Smoke Bush. Behind it, kind of hidden, is another ‘chunk’ of repurposed concrete. I use it as a stepping stone, so I don’t compact the dirt in my gardens. It is a lesson I learned over time! 

Here are some of my ‘gratuitous’ annuals on the front stoop. As you may notice, I echoed the Coleus (the formal name? – I say ‘lime & fuchsia’?!), Purple fountain grass and White Impatiens from the base of my front garden. I love the idea of ‘leading the eye’ around the yard by repeating color or plants, or both.  I also like that the white flowers compliment the trim on the house, and as I said before, 'glow' at dusk & in moonlight!

More gratuitous annuals!  

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Cosmos! They are happy and tall and they have these great asparagus fern-like greens that sway in the breeze. Hiding in the background, on this side of the “Sun Garden”, is another annual Purple Fountain Grass (it grew like crazy). Tucked in between is the sweetest little ‘find’ of 2009 – aptly named “Sweet Dreams” Coreopsis Rosea. I have always loved Moonbeam Coreopsis, but I did not realize it has a blush-pink sister. 

You may also notice that you eye travels to the “Shade Garden” in the background - with complementary or repeated color? (I love that little purple gazing globe!)  Like I meant to do that or something… ;o)


  1. Purple fountain grass is one of my faves. I have some in my garden. It looks pretty with the coleus. Nice choices!

  2. Shyrlene, what a great beginning. I think the smoke tree will compliment the color of your house perfectly, and I like the choice of the other plants as well. I love the white cosmos!

  3. Kimberly, a season can't go by where I don't buy at least a couple of Purple Fountain grass plants - even tho they are only annuals here in IL. They show so well (and are hardy, which I need!) I'm a sucker for unusual coleus and Rex Begonias too!

    Deb, I just fell in love with the Smoke Tree one visit to 'A Growing Place'-in a vignette by their entrance. I had to put one somewhere?! It's just a little 'widget' tree right now, hard to believe it will grow to 15'!

  4. Love your fountain grass/white impatiens combination ... it does work so well against the colours of your house. I'm also a lover of cosmos ... I had some white last year but lost it when a wallaby jumped on it!!! It's true!
    Glad you enjoyed your visit to my downunder blog ...and that you took the time to have a look at the slideshow. Thanks so much.


Related Posts with Thumbnails