We’re on the third chapter and the saga is complete! Finally, all is planted, with the right plants for the right light, the irrigation is running, the fences are up and the deer are out. I started the first chapter of this story back in March when I discussed some very hard lessons learned.
The second chapter, written in June, ended with the “bones” of the back garden having been planted.
As I mentioned, it was time to move on to the “pretty things.” The “bones” consisted of three Kousa dogwoods, a Magnolia soulangeana, nine Thuja Green Giants, 13 Schip laurels and 22 Osmanthus (False Holly). I also used the Crimson Pygmy Barberry that I had pulled out of the front beds, as they were unhappy in the shade, and added those into the back plan as well.
The far back of the property is an approximately 160-foot expanse.
Not only is this a large length of land to fill, it’s also a rather tricky length due to a couple of issues. The first is that the property goes from deep shade to dappled light to full sun. The hardest part was figuring out how to treat all the different lights with the correct plants while still keeping some sense of continuity. The other thing to consider was the distance of the bed to the house. It’s quite far away, so I had to decide what plants would actually make some impact when one was sitting on the patio. Additionally, the area was cleared of a number of trees and shrubs last fall which presented the final challenge. There were several existing trees and shrubs that remained and had to be integrated with the new plant materials.
The large shrubs and trees were in.
Now, I could make a judgment about where and what I would need to fill in. I could then confirm the number of necessary flowering shrubs and perennials. The second delivery consisted of 20 Bloomstruck hydrangea, 20 pink Drift roses, seven Oakleaf hydrangea, six Camillia, five Butterfly Bushes and three Russian sage to name a few. When those were placed, it was back to the nursery for perennials. The perennial plant list included Liatris, Asters, Cone Flowers, Phlox, Dahlias, Salvia, Amsonia, Nepeta and Liriope.
If that weren’t enough, we were also redoing the front beds.
This time, we added deer-proof and shade-tolerant plants, such as Peiris cavatine, PJM rhododendron, Hakonechloa grass and oodles of Astilbe and ferns.
I finally thought we were done, but, no.
With everything planted and looking beautiful, the big shaded area loomed large. I had originally planned to put in a row of Aesculas parviflora (Bottle Brush Buckeye). It is an interesting plant that loves the deep shade; it flowers and grows very large. Sadly, there were none to be found so we went back to the drawing board. I was so sensitive to the foibles from the front gardens, that I really didn’t want to take a chance with a new type of plant. In the end, we went with hemlocks, a row of 10. I was able to find nice tall, full plants that immediately fit the bill. They still have some years to fill in and grow up but they serve the purpose of blocking out an old shed as well as the neighbor’s property. The last things on the list were to mulch the beds, seed the lawns and get the irrigation on.