Sunday, June 29, 2014

Buddha and the Dunce

It is too clear and so it is hard to see.
A dunce once searched for a fire with a lighted lantern.
Had he known what fire was,
He could have cooked his rice much sooner.

Like the dunce in the poem above, I finally got around to correcting a major mistake in the garden - it only took me five years. When Buddha was first placed in the garden, there was no fence. As a result, I set him off center from the corner edge.

Once the fence was put in, his off-corner location was much more obvious.

Over the years I attempted to plant an assortment of different planting in the gap behind Buddha as a means of hiding this mistake, all without any long term success. The corner was too shady, and over time, as the burning bush/tree on the adjoining property grew, it shaded the corner even more. So, I finally made the decision to relocate Buddha to the actual corner.

I began by removing many of the plants that had been overcrowding each other in the corner area.

The Clumping Bamboo I transplanted from near the big gate to the corner had done very poorly (seen above, behind Buddha, last summer). This season it produced only a handful of new shoots. So I dug it up and moved it adjacent to the two existing bamboo plants near the house. In time it might recover and sprout new shoots.

I also moved one of the 'Bottle Rocket' Ligularia plants (yellow flowering plants seen below). The one on the right needed to be positioned at approximately the same location along the fence as the one on the left was along its fence panel. 

Before Move (with yellow flower)

After Move (without flower)

After only one year, these plants have done very well in this shady spot. I was worried I might shock the plant when moving it, but it seems to have survived the move and is almost ready to flower. 

In order to make that move, however, I had to remove several existing plants, all of which were beginning to overcrowd the area (image below from last year). 

The Lungwart (Pulmonaria 'High Contrast') (back right)

Melting Fire Coral Bell (Heuchera 'Melting Fire') (top center)

Raspberry Splash Lungwart (Pulmonaria 'Raspberry Splash') (bottom right)

I also removed some Tiger Lilly, Hosta, Ferns, and Fire Star Dianthus from elsewhere in the garden. Now they all sit in buckets awaiting to be relocated. However, this creates a new problem for me due to the fact that there is no where else to place them. 

So, it looks like I will be placing them temporarily along the long wall of the garage, outside the garden area. This is usually the area I use as a dumping ground for rocks etc. However, now that I no longer own a camper, I can use this space to expand the garden.

I also split up the existing Bugleweed growing in front of Buddha and spread it out into the expanded bed. It will take some time, but eventually it will fill in this area. Next year should produce a lot of blue spike flowers in the spring. 

In addition to moving plants, I also added some new plantings to the corner. On either side of Buddha sits two Astilbe plants.

Astilbe (Astilbe x arendsii 'Fanal'

This plant likes partial sun, so I will see how it does in the shady corner. As long as I keep it watered well it should thrive - it likes to be moist. It already had its bright red bloom which starts in early summer. The color is a nice addition to the garden, which has lots of green. They should grow to about 20" in height. 

I also reworked the rock edge, adding a second layer of rocks and filled in the top area in front and behind Buddha with Mexican Black stone. In between I planted three small Hosta.

Hosta hybrid 'Blue Mouse Ears'

This small Hosta likes shade and has small blue-green leaves. It only grows 6-8" in height, so it will not block the view of Buddha. It also produces a nice short spike blue lilac flower. I have one elsewhere in the garden and really liked it.

Overall, I am happy with the change. I should have done it long ago. Buddha is now centered appropriately along the fence line.

The balance and symmetry of the plantings makes for a better appearance and improved Feng Shui. 

Buddha and I can now finally rest and relax.

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