Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Planting Time

After the compost fiasco I finally got around to working on the entrance bed.  All of the compost was raked across the entire bed and I started placing pots of plants in the bed trying to get an idea of where to plant.  My idea was rather than till the compost into the bed I would save the expense of a tiller and turn the compost into the soil as I dug in the plants.  This has meant that I'm digging a lot of weeds and picking up glass as I go.  It's a slow process but it is working well thus far.  The bigger question has been where to put the plants?

I started by placing pots and then moving them around
This turned out to be a much harder exercise than I had originally thought.  Who doesn't like putting new plants into a bed?  The joy and anticipation of blooms to come.  But starting from scratch in a new bed turned out to be intimidating.  The plants sat in their containers for days while I moved and pondered.  Sizes, shapes, colours, sun and shade.  There were so many details to consider and I was lost.  I had not drawn out a planting scheme prior to making this bed.  Instead I was operating on a fuzzy vision in my head.  Soft colours like white, purple and pink were in my mind's eye but not a clue how they worked together.

I love white flowers and variegated foliage.
The plants I had chosen all had a cottage feel to them, very breezy and blowsy.  I had assumed they would just go together but when it came to exactly how I was stumped.

A sampling of plants that are in this bed
After many days of moving plants about and getting nowhere I finally had to make a decision.  Any decision, just make one!  So the Artemesia was pulled from alongside the apple tree where it was getting too much shade and placed on the far end of the border where the sun is quite bright.  Once that was done I started to roll along.  What worked with the artemesia's silver colour and could stand full sun?  Bell flowers and that nice blue green clumping grass I picked up at the plant sale.  How about some dark purple Siberian Iris?  And so it has gone.  Each plant inspiring the next choice. 

My planting scheme is not incredibly inspired at this point but it's a start.  As plants start to grow and expand changes will certainly be made.  Perhaps putting chartreuse Lady's Mantle in front of the White Hydrangea Little Lamb won't look as good in reality as it does in my head?  Who can say? - unless someone has already done this, in which case, send me a picture!  But moving small shrubs and perennials is easy enough at this point and I can change the pairings over the next year or two as I see fit.  In the meantime I'm just thrilled to finally see this bed taking shape in front of our house.  I finally have a flower garden!

18 comments:

  1. Very exciting! Just imagine it in a few years. :)

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  2. I like cottage gardens as well. I think they have a beautiful natural look. I am looking forward to seeing your new bed when it is done. Happy Gardening!

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  3. It really is intimidating to start with a big blank space, whether it is a large border or a flat open yard.

    Just remember, you will have moved everything three times before you like the way it all goes together. Some plants will disappear an d need to be replaced, and some will pop up the next year where the critters moved them or the seed dispersed. Your plan will be out the window by next year!

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  4. Just jam 'er in!! and close...a shovel is for moving later...enjoy this...have fun M. Throw in a few summer squash to fill the holes...lots going on sale now (they might look scruffy for a week but they will catch up). I recommend the patty pan squash as bugs just don't seem to bother them. Yellow zucchini also look great in beds.

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  5. Hi Marguerite: you are so organized and what a neat idea, placing potted plants around..I walk across the road out front often to get a better perspective of our yard or like you, take photos..all my gardens are cottage style..in a couple of years, your front garden will look so different, you'll enjoy it so much..can't wait to see pictures of it in the future..happy gardening..Lannie

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  6. I do the placing and walking around dance also. My husband is usually watching from the window thinking it is all quite amusing.

    It all will be great in time. If you don't like the placement, dig them up and move them. Only after you have looked at them from all angles.

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  7. I did what you did last year in my front bed. The flowers are wonderful this year and I am betting the same happens for you. They will be full and flowing. You asked who does not planting new plants, and I am one of them. I like the planning, not the planting. But I do like the tending. I am too impatient for planting. Must be done and over with is my motto.

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  8. Just echoing what everyone else has said.... plant them, watch them, and move them around as they grow. We are constantly moving things - a garden is a dynamic living thing that changes all the time. Have fun! My guess is it's going to be stunning when the plants start maturing and filling out!

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  9. Ms.S - I'm excited already for next spring! The thought of blooming flowers that I planted has me very excited.

    Sage Butterfly - Looking around recently I realized, this garden very closely resembles my mother's garden which was distinctly cottagey. Partly I like the cottage look but I think part of me wanted to recreate a bit of the past too.

    Laurrie - the big open space is very exciting but very intimidating. I agree, at least three times plants will be moved.

    Bren - good idea. I had a similar thought and bought annual flower seeds to fill in space but it's too late to sow them now and I still haven't finished planting the flowers in yet! Spacing has also been an issue, did I plant too close or too far away?

    Lannie - we must be kindred spirits! I often walk out to the road to see what the house and garden look like from a distance. Particularly on this side of the house as it faces the 'corner' where all the traffic is. I want my garden to be part of the 'face' of the house and make sense in the overall picture.

    Tufa - I tried to convince my husband to help with the placing dance and he just shook his head and walked back inside!

    Donna - isn't that funny, I would trade you the planning for the planting any day. although i'm getting awfully tired of planting. Feels like I've been working on this project forever.

    Cathy and Steve - you've pinpointed one of the great things about gardens. They are always changing! Even if we plan a garden a certain way it will change on it's own. One of the reasons I like cottage style, self seeding plants change the garden each year.

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  10. That's like candles on a birthday cake. So exciting! I loved doing that, so many possibilities ...

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  11. What an excellent description Diana. Birthday cake is such a happy occasion and this is a fun project.

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  12. I like playing around with where to plant the newbies. Last summer I had pots in various places while I watched the sun and hoped I made good decisions once it was finally decided. Amsonia is a bear to dig up entirely...good luck with that one!

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  13. Hi Margeurite, such exciting times, but yes, intimidating too. I've learnt to enjoy the musing, the looking at it from every angle, the last minute swapping around even as the planting has begun. And then always allow myself to move things around just as I would furniture when things don't work to my satisfaction. Hope you have loads of fun tweaking and that your are thrilled with the results as it all starts to come together.

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  14. Marguerite how exciting and something to look forward to next spring after the winter snow, get some bulbs in the bed in autumn too if you can, this was how I was a decade ago with my little front garden now 2 of the beds definately need sorting out as some plants have taken over, I move pots around too, then I move plants around as well, as I've lived here over the decade the garden plans and ideas have changed, yours will too, enjoy, Frances

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  15. Janet - Most of the plants are easy to move but I understand what you mean about some plants not being fun to dig up. I purchased Monkshood this year which forms a thick root and I really want to make sure it gets placed well as moving it might be next to impossible.

    Janet (Plantaliscious) - What I find funny is that I've started tweeking before I've even finished the planting! I could be moving plants for some years to come at this rate.

    Frances - Thank you for reminding me about bulbs. I didn't have any early blooming bulbs this year and was slightly disappointed to see so many bright colours in others gardens early in the season while mine had none. Now is a good time to think about what early bloomers would cheer me up come spring.

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  16. When you can do anything, it's hard to decide, isn't it? You've got some great combinations - it will be exciting to watch it fill in!

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  17. Marguerite, Congratulations on your flower garden! I have been gardening for years and I still get plant placement wrong more times than I get it right. In a years time you will see what worked and what didn't. Then you can move things around until you are happy.

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  18. Aagaard Farms - I agree, too many options can be overwhelming!

    Jennifer - I'm already planning next year's chore list and this bed is top priority. Next spring will see lots of movement and probably the year after that as well.

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