Another Plant Delivery, And Taming A Wild Raised Bed
Oh joy, another box of plants have arrived, this time from Bluestone Perennials. With a single exception, all of these are meant for in and around the raised bed at the west end of the parkway. This is an area that gets a lot of sun, and is seldom if ever watered for the simple reason that it is just about the furthest point on my property from the front water spigot.
This bed, in my opinion, has gotten a little too wild. It is full of self-sown asters and golden alexander, not to mention big clumps of wild violets. Don’t misunderstand me, I like all these plants. However, I also feel they are not right for parkway beds in an inner ring suburban neighborhood.
A parkway garden should be densely planted, colorful and rich with texture (like any garden). But it also needs to be reasonably neat and not too tall. With this in mind, last fall I made over the raised bed at the west end of the parkway. Now it’s the turn of the east bed. Outside of the raised beds, most of the parkway is covered in a mixed ground cover of wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), wild petunia (Ruellia humilis), prairie smoke (Geum triflorum), and Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’.
I’m not getting rid of all the plants in the east raised bed. There are three large and vigorous daylilies (Hemerocallis ‘Star Struck’) and a growing clump of Ohio spiderwort (Tradescantia ohioensis). There are also bulbs, a mix of species and hybrid tulips. Actually, it was in order to plant tulips that I built the raised beds. That’s because at the time I got rid of the grass on the parkway, the soil was so compacted that I would have needed a pneumatic drill to get any bulbs planted.
This bed and its surrounding area has a kind of random, improvised feel. There’s a good reason for this, namely, that I filled it with plants in a totally random, improvised manner.
But all that is going to change. (As I write this, I am wondering – should I transplant that Ohio spiderwort after all?)
Thanks to the new delivery from Bluestone Perennials, I am going to achieve a new look. Here are the plants:
- Calamint (Calamintha nepetoides). This is a bushy, drought tolerant plant about 1-2′ tall. In summer it is covered with tiny white flowers much loved by the bees. This will provide repetition to the calamint at the west end of the parkway.
- Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’. Yeah, I know many new varieties of hardy Geranium are supposed to be better, but this cultivar is an old friend who has performed well for me. Small blue flowers in spring, plus finely cut foliage. There’s already clumps of this cultivar in other front garden beds.
- Salvia ‘Carradonna’. A 2′ Salvia with deep purple flowers spikes. Again, a repetition of the west end of the parkway.
- Sundrops ‘Summer Solstice’ (Oenothera tetragona). This cultivar has 2′ flower spikes with clear yellow flowers in late spring and early summer.
- Miniature Hollyhock (Sidalcea malviflora ‘Party Girl’.) This is a bit of an experiment. I LOVE hollyhocks, and I used to grow them. Eventually this became impossible due to devastating rust problems. Sidalcea is supposed to be rust resistant. We’ll see. It grows to only 3′ and has only pink and rose flowers, not actually my favorite colors on a hollyhock.
So there you are. I’ll be posting pictures through the year to show how this bed does or doesn’t come together.
Have you been doing makeovers of beds that have gotten away from you?