Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

"To forget how to dig the earth
and tend to the soil
is to forget ourselves."
Mahatma Gandhi

All week the Mouse Ear Coreopsis 'Nana' that I planted beneath the Moon Window back in August, 2011, have been in bloom. Originally
I planted three small plants, but they have since expanded to fill in most of the area. They are very brightly colored and look spectacular. 

These blooms will last a couple of weeks and then return next year. The Bamboo on the outside of the Moon Window is also filling in nicely with new shoots. By mid summer the plant should be back to its full size.

Today was a beautiful day and I was able to spend the entire day in the garden. Initially, I intended to plant some new plants I received as Farther's Day gifts, but I soon found myself doing some major alterations in the garden.

To begin, the Japanese Maple in the garden has bloomed more than I expected, especially after having trimmed it back last year. It is growing at a more noticeable pace as it takes over more of the garden. As a result, I was concerned that the 
Shade Fanfare Plantain Lily (Hosta 'Shade Fanfare') I added last year was going to be overtaken and blocked from any sunlight, so I decided to move it to the  eastern end of the garden. 

Before the Move

After the Move

This was the perfect spot since there had been a large Hosta here early in the spring, until something ate its roots and killed it.

After moving the Hosta, I realized that the narrow bottom bed in the western end of the garden (near the retaining wall/patio area) was devoid of any plants. I have attempted to plant something different hear almost every year, with no long term success. So, I decided that I would take some clippings of the Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans, 'Burgundy Glow') and place them into this bed. 

Bed Unplanted

Bed with Bugleweed

It will take a while for it to spread and fill in the bed, but when it does, I am hoping it turns out as nice as the area in front of Buddha. I realize that I will have to be diligent about clipping it back so it doesn't spread beyond the bed. I think it will be worth the effort, given how spectacular the blue flowers looked in front of Buddha this spring. 

Of course, I won't see any flowers in the reworked bed until next year.

I was also concerned about the plants and beds on the northern side of the west end, across from where I placed the new Bugleweed. This bed was becoming overgrown with plants that I needed to thin out. I also wanted to rework the stones here since I abandoned the idea of the rain chain/waterfall idea last year.

I had originally planted three small Happy Returns Daylily (Hemerocallis), a type of miniature daylily. They were miniature no longer. They were beginning to crowed out several Hosta varieties I had nearby (themselves in need of splitting), but I wasn't sure where to move the Daylily. 

The solution turned out to be very convenient. Over the winter, the deep freeze had killed off a number of my shrubs, both in the garden and elsewhere in the yard. Back in 2009, I had planed two small round shrubs at the entrance of the garden in the backyard, one on each side of the entrance. One died over the winter, the other survived intact. Needing a replacement for the Gem Boxbood that died near the Yukimi Lantern, I decided to transplant the remaining shrub, leaving open the two spaces where the original pair of shrubs had stood. 

Gem Boxwood - About to Die 

Transplanted Shrub

The transplanted shrub looks good in this location. I will have to wait and see how it takes to having been moved. With luck, it will make it. Unfortunately, I have not had any long-term luck with plants in this location. If this shrub doesn't take, I may just plant another Hosta in this spot.

With the shrub out of the way, I then transplanted the Daylily on either side of the garden entrance. They actually look nice. Again, I hope they take to the transplant.

I then returned to the northern bed and began the long process of reworking the stones and bed. I also split one of the Hosta and made a new level-bed along the second level. I also created a new enclosed bed on the lowest level for a new plant:

Sugar & Spice Foamflower (Tiarella 'Sugar & Spice')

This zone 4 plant likes partial to full shade. It blooms in May-June with a stalk covered with small white flowers.I liked the deep green leaves that have a maroon to burgundy central branch. Given the shadiness of the garden, it should do well.

Overall, both sides of the western end of the garden look nicer and will now include more perennial plants, making it a bit easier for me to manage the garden. I still need to apply mulch to all of these beds, but I am waiting until I make some additional alterations before I order the mulch.

I do have some other major changes planned for this season, but I believe the changes I made today will last a few years before I make any additional alterations. Next week, on to the central portions of the garden.

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