After reworking much of the northwest end of the bed last week, I decided to add some new plants. To begin, I added some white, yellow and red Zinnia. I have had some luck with these in the past, and with luck, I can do so again - provided I can keep the slugs off. They really like to eat these.
After having the Fire Star Dianthus in the same location for many years (top, near the granite steps), I finally decided to take them out. They produced nice red flowers, but never really fit well in the garden - it looked more like a southwestern plant rather than Japanese garden-like. Instead, I relocated one of the small Pulmonaria that had been crowded behind the Japanese Maple.
Once the Pulmonaria was moved, I cut back one of the Ostrich Fern (Matteuccias struthiopteris). I like these ferns, but they spread too easily. I then planted, temporarily, a small Hosta I had sitting in a bowl. It will probably get removed next summer, but only if it grows too large.
I also planted a Toad Lily across from Buddha near two yello Zinnia.
Toad Lily (Tricyrtis hirta)
This Zone 4 plant likes shade and should grow to about 20" in height. It will eventual produce an unusual spotted flower in the fall. I hopeful that this plant will do well, provided the slugs don't eat it before it flowers.
Another area that was reworked was the flat area just next to the granite stair entrance. For years, I had Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’) growing here and let it spread down into the rock bed of the garden. Last year, and this year, it was doing poorly. Part of the problem is that most of the area was covered by think heavy-duty weed fabric. So I removed what was left of the plant and cut out the fabric. In its place, I planted a small fir.
Dwarf Korean Fir (Abies koreana 'Cis')
This small fir will only grow to about 1.5' in height and 2' wide. It likes part shade, but should get enough sunlight on the northern edge of the garden. I am hoping that it fills in most of the space in time. To help keep the soil in place, I added another layer of stone and I leveled off what had been a steep incline from the original bed. We will have to wait and see how it does after its first winter.
Just below the Dwarf Koean Fir, and further down the northern edge, I planted two new grass plants. There had been a couple of long term Bunny Blue Sedge (Carex laxiculmis ‘Hobb’) grass plants in these locations that had lost their appeal (they looked more like weedy grass). So I removed both and replaced them with two new plants.
Japanese Sedge Grass 'Silver Sceptre'
This zone 5 grass will grow to about 9-12" in height. It likes partial shade, so it should do well on this northern edge.
Variegated lily Turf Grass (Liriope muscari 'Variegata')
This zone 5 grass likes shade and will grow to about 16" in height. I will have to keep an eye that it doest get two wide. This plant is very close to a Green Mound Juniper (Juniperus procumbens ‘Green Mound’). I can continue to cut back the Juniper or let the grass grow. I will have to wait until next year to see how the grass does before I decide.