Theoretically, that's what I'm going to plant in a new perennial bed along the east side of our house. It gets decent sun, but we're in a subdivision with little yards, so the house next door does play into our sun exposure. I'm hoping full sun plants will still do all right here.
It seems the only sensible thing to do is to leave work and go hang out in my yard in a lawn chair and knit. It would be research. It isn't that I want to sit outside and knit; I have to so as to see how many hours of sun this area will get.
I'm hesitant to use this strategy with my boss. I mean, it's sensible to me, but I can imagine she wouldn't understand. She does not share my love of plants.*
Still, I have a plan. I've called the Call Before You Dig people, and they should mark our utilities early next week. (So sad I didn't think to call them before yesterday. If I had, perhaps I could have gotten a start on Sunday.) I believe I will have about 16.5' along the side of the house before I get stopped by the electric box. I can make it a few feet wide. The very fancy way I will determine the width of the bed is to put our push mower on our property line and then dig the bed out to that spot.
Since you probably can't read the chart, here's what I'm hoping to plant:
- Saxifraga 'Touran neon rose' - small, pink flowers, low to the ground
- Scilla Peruviana 'Caribbean Jewels' - impulse buy, really interesting purple clumping flower
- Echinacea, Paradiso mix - a jumble of all sorts of colors of coneflowers
- Delphinium - a lovely, tall purple flower. I've tried to grow it from seed two years in a row. They didn't sprout either time. When I saw a healthy plant, I bought it.
- Lithodora diffusa 'Grace Ward' - another impulse buy, low to the ground, bright blue flowers. The flowers look much bluer than the linked photo.
- Eragrostis (Purple love grass) - ornamental grass with really interesting blooms, will provide winter interest
- Dracocephalum - a purple/blue perennial snapdragon that I'm trying to start from seed
- Bleeding Heart Alba - delicate white flowers, fairly tall plant
- Existing perennial grass that I assume is a calamagrostis. It's green and turns wheat-colored in the fall/winter
- Daisies I'm digging up from a friend's yard tomorrow
- Anemone 'Harmony White' - I saw a Harmony Blue and didn't buy it. When I went back, they were marked down and only had white and scarlet. White it is. The one I bought has a bit of purple in the center.
- Columbine - blue/purple, another impulse buy
Nearly all of these plants are new to me. As much as I like plants and gardening and even with the Master Gardener class, I am aware of how little I know. This plan looks nice on paper, but I really am just making an educated guess. Will there be enough sun? Will the addition of compost compensate for our crappy soil? Will these plants really fit in this space, or am I being blindly optimistic? It's all guesswork.
I was talking to a similarly plant-obsessed friend yesterday, and she said she feels like her whole gardening life has been trial and error.
Plant something. It dies.
Plant something else. It lives but takes over the yard. Dig it up and try it somewhere else.
Plant something else. It never thrives because of your light/soil/dog. Dig it up and give it away.
Plant something else. It fits the space but doesn't overwhelm it, and it lives. Say a prayer of thanks to the gardening gods and move on to the next spot.
She's in her 60s. To me, this means that every year of my life I'll be wandering around the garden center reading tags, making guesses, and hoping for the best. Sometimes that sounds really depressing, but sometimes it sounds like a great way to live my life.
*She did agree that I could try to split a hellebore in one of our building's gardens, so I will not complain about her lack of horticultural interest. I just can't stop trying to grow hellebores. It's a sickness.