Renovating The Perennial Border, Part 2
Yesterday I wrote about the half of the perennial border that runs along the driveway. Today we'll walk around the corner to see the rest of it along the path that leads across the yard to the front door.
Around the corner from the climbing roses, Siberian irises, and sedum ground cover is some white salvia. Behind the salvia is some red bee balm, which is just starting to bloom. The bees love this section of the flower garden! There's also a male holly busy and another smallish peony (I really like the way these look even when the bloom is over, so I have a lot of them). Across the front is a wide swath of hardy mums that will bloom in the fall.
Like I said, there are a lot of chrysanthemums here. Behind the mums are white lilies, Shasta daisies, and the female holly bush (that's the one that will have the berries in the winter).
Beyond the holly the border widens near the front door. Across the back is a boxwood, rhododendron, and a big clump of tall white garden phlox. The next (sort of) row has German irises, two rose bushes (that are rebounding reasonably well from their winter damage and hard spring pruning), some decorative thistles (not happy about being moved--you cam see how droopy they are) and a line of white daylilies. Near the front are red penstemon (just planted), two small white balloon flowers (new and not yet blooming), and white lavender (definite blooming and also beloved by the bees). Between the penstemon and balloon flower are some more white snapdragons as fillers--these should bloom soon.
Finally, you can see the corner of the front steps. In front of the boxwood are some more daylilies (red this time), a small mound of daisies, lamb's ear, and more mini red petunias. Right by the corner of the steps is a small specimen of a green and white variety of hen and chicks and a short, fat decorative allium.
That spot that looks like open space in the middle holds a flagstone. There are actually several of these scattered throughout the border to give me a place to stand and work without crushing plants. A few of them were well-hidden and overgrown, but now they are uncovered and ready to use again.
This front section is the place that needed the most work, as this is where most of our winter die-off happened. By next year these plants should fill in and look as finished as the rest of the border (I hope). If you look back over the history of the perennial border, you can see just how different this section is from when it was first planted.
I didn't know when I started this four years ago that it would be such an evolving work, but that's how it's turned out. My original vision was that I'd plant it and kind of forget it, maybe digging up a few plants and dividing every three years or so. This didn't take into account summer drought or crazy winters, nor did I consider that some plants would be too wimpy to cope or unavailable locally after a few years.
Though it's different that I expected it to be, I've grown to love the experimental nature of this flower border. Like a yet-to-be-painted room, I think I'm enjoying imagining what it will look like in the future as much as the actual result, which is always at least a little bit of a surprise.