The Left Bank – the bed that lies west of the driveway between the crabapple and the sidewalk – has been born anew. The last three weeks I’ve hardly gotten into the garden at all, but yesterday I spent a good six hours digging out the old and planting the new.
You may recall how I was dissatisfied with the Left Bank, which looked to me like an amalgam of green piles of dirty laundry (perhaps the piles from my old bachelor apartment come back to haunt me). They were a collection of good plants that didn’t go well together. (Hey, maybe that could be a book: “When Good Plants Make Bad Partners“.)
Since the new plants had arrived, it was time to get to work. Out went the Smilacina stellata, the Aromatic Aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolius), the “May Night” Salvia, the Coreopsis palmata. Actually, they did not go easily. Between the Coreopsis, Aster, and Smilacina, the top few inches of soil were a dense mass of rhizomes. I thought at first the soil had somehow become compacted, but it was just all those dang roots. The Coreopsis roots in particular were like iron spaghetti.
No doubt I’ll be battling remaining bits of these rhizomes for years to come, but c’est la jardin.
What stayed were the Anise Scented Goldenrod (Solidago odora), the Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum), and the Prairie Dropseed (Sporobulus heterolepsis). The Dropseed I rearranged to make more of a border along the west side of the bed.
And of course, the many species tulip bulbs. Actually I was quite pleased that I was able to avoid digging up more than a few of the existing bulbs.
The new plants had mostly arrived from Prairie Nursery in Wisconsin. There were a whole bunch of Prairie Onions (Allium stellatum), which I used to make a border along the east side of the bed. There were enough Prairie Smoke to make the existing drift of this plant much deeper There were some Wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis), and one Lead Plant (Amorpha canescens).
Also, my good friend Rachelle from Talking to Plants sent me some ‘Summer Beauty’ Allium, which are like a larger and showier version of the Prairie Onion. I saw masses of ‘Summer Beauty’ this year at the Lurie Garden and knew I had to have some. Thanks again, Rachelle!
By late afternoon I was done – at least for this stage of the makeover. I still have a bunch of bulbs to plant – species and Kaufmanniana tulips, and a few Lilium auratum ‘Gold Band’ – but they have not yet arrived. Which is a good thing, because my back, knees, and thighs were preparing to go out on strike against my brain.
Next year I think I’ll mix in some brightly colored annuals, maybe Zinnias, to contrast with the summer lavender blooms of the Ruelia and Alliums.
Have you done any fall planting yet?