Twelve years ago I built a garden on what was a deer path in my narrow side yard. Why? To experiment with plants primarily for deer resistance, but also to know and grow new plants for my landscape designs. I don’t generally plant things for clients that I haven’t grown. That means this garden as well as my others are in a constant state of upheaval and change. The side yard gets almost totally replanted every three to five years; the others which are more public get things tucked in or dug up.
This is a replanting year for the side yard. Many of the previous plant experiments have been removed. Some of the structural plants or things that I’m attached to for whatever emotional tug they have on me remain. The space was better designed and built out of entirely found materials when I started it (below), now it’s somewhat of a hodgepodge with a nod to design.
The garden faces south and has hot sun in the middle of the day with shade on each end as well damp areas and those that are dry so it suits a wide range of situations. The soil has been amended in the same way I would have a garden prepared anywhere–with rich organic matter and not much else.
Here are the 5 I’m most excited about from a much more extensive planting list.
Aesculus parvivlora var. serotina ‘Rogers’ – I’ve wanted to grow this for years. It’s a tough sell to a client though since they usually look like they’re defective in containers in the nursery. This is a plant for someone with patience…I have that!
Bouteloua gracillis ‘Blonde Ambition’ -I don’t have a good image from the plants I bought because it looks crappy in the container right now, but I have high hopes for this one. I love it’s airy qualtiy and that’s hard to find in a small ornamental grass. Here’s a link.
Helenium x ‘Ruby Tuesday’ – I’ve killed more Heleniums than I have previously admitted to, but I keep trying…
Hypericum x ‘Blue Velvet’ – much finer foliage than its cousins. Grey blue too. I’ve had great success with every Hypericum I’ve grown and use the groundcover Hypericum calycinum often. It’s a fantastic and showy semi-evergreen groundcover for a south facing slope which in my mind is akin to planting Hell.
Stachys monieri ‘Hummelo’ (also known as Stachys alpina ‘Hummelo’) – I’m finally getting around to a plant that everyone raves about–it’s not blooming right now but has very beautiful foliage. We’ll see if it makes the appetizer tray in Bambi’s buffet!
So in a couple of seasons I’ll let you know what’s been eaten at this buffet since you’ll see them in future designs if they hold up. In the meantime I’m going to try some in client’s gardens that have sturdy deer fences!