This year we felt it was time for a renovation of our border’s plantings. Each year we like to trial new plants and old favorites as well as try out new design ideas to inspire us and you.

We are also testing a broad range of salvias (in the border and in pots) and other long- and late-blooming plants such as agastache and agapanthus, to name a few.

The border is simple rectangle divided into four beds – numbered from north to south – by three pathways running east to west more-or-less. The paths are not solid divisions: while each bed has a color scheme none are adhered to rigidly, there being a bleeding of colors into neighboring beds for artistic as well as ecological reasons.

 

*The border garden is a living, breathing entity that changes constantly -- these photos merely caption moments of beauty. The new plantings are best experienced in person and often!*

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Bed #1 - the north end

Based on colors of brown, orange, scarlet, wine, slate, and soft-light greens, it has the obelisk, large ‘Sienna Sunrise’ nandina, and a clump of yellow Japanese forest grass. It is the sunniest and wettest part of the border. Treated as if it were a massive summer container, it is packed with plants - an updated take on the 1990s Tropicalissmo.

Bed #2 – to the south of #1

Based on yellow, butterscotch, orange, lilac, crimson, corals, and lime, this bed has a large clump of Japanese forest grass, a large clay pot, and two tall narrow rhamnus which provide a bit of shade. It is mostly sunny with varying degrees of moisture or dryness. Its east side blends with bed #1’s scheme. Planted with some bold plants, the container provides upright form, as well as a place for small or scented treasures. The bulk of this bed moves away from the wetter north bed, hosting groundcovers and a meadow area with some ecologically pioneering shrubs.

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Bed #3 – south of the middle path

Dominated by the Silver Queen Lawson cypress, a purple Royal Fern, an evergreen Viburnum, and a dark column of yew, it has a scheme of pinks, salmon, apricot, magenta, lavender, and green. It is shady in the east and south, and is very dry around the conifer. A wet area exists in the NE corner which the Royal fern has tapped into. Roses in the planting represent the common ecological transition of meadows to woodlands. The conifer and other shrubs - from earlier designs and spanning beds 3 and 4 - create a cool dry woodland area.

Bed #4 – the south end

Designed around white, lavender, blue, gray-greens, black, murrey, and liverish-browns, this bed’s structure comes from the luma, Japanese maple, and ‘Incrediball’ hydrangea. The north end is a dry woodland, while the southern tip represents sunny and dry open areas moving on to the field of lawn.

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Overall, by planting to the environment we encourage insects and birds – especially hummingbirds – as well as healthy plants where insect or disease infestations run their course without much harm.

We are testing various repellents and ideas to deal with the rabbits, squirrels, and other rodents!

The only spraying is an organic citrus solution on weeds in the gravel walks and in the pathways. Fertilizing is minimal using Soil Science’s Bloom Driver at slightly less than full strength. Again, we try to plant to the soil’s conditions.

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