Fall really feels like the beginning of the garden year, not the end. This is when I am most inspired to rearrange and add new plants, and for most perennials, this is a great time to plant. After the summer, I know what didn’t turn out quite the way I hoped, either because I didn’t plan it out correctly, or the plant doesn’t seem to like its spot (or sometimes likes it too much). So I’ve spent the past couple of weeks doing lots of rearranging. The patch under the Dawn Redwood was one of my projects; I also decided to give up on the day lilies and irises in our dogleg garden. I thought that area got some sun, but that was before the kiwi vine on the nearby fence really got established! I decided to replant the bed entirely with more shade-tolerant plants that will fit into the narrow bed better, too.
I also wanted plants that are evergreen or at least semi-evergreen, to cover the cement foundation. But they can’t grow too big! The fire alarm for our building is on this wall, about 4 feet up, and has to be kept clear. A trip to the New England Wildflower Society turned up these two lovely Dog H obble (Leucothoe fonanesiana) plants, that only grow to 2 – 4 ft tall (and wide), and a beautiful Coastal Azalea (Rhododendron atlanticum), in a kind of blue-gray shade that goes nicely against the rain urn here.
Most of the irises are now positioned in another part sun/part shade bed, in the gap between the Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) and Possumhaw Viburnum (Viburnum nudum var. nudum) bushes. I put a few out in the shady sidewalk boxes (not an ideal spot for them, but the greens will help to fill in these boxes even if they don’t flourish), and gave some to a neighbor. I moved the day lilies down to the very narrow strip between the retaining wall and driveway. This spot was originally filled with junk dirt from the time of construction,and it seems like it couldn’t possibly support any plants, but it’s sported a great line of daffodils, liatris, and what seems to be a perennial chrysthanemum (planted by one of my neighbors) sequentially, and I hope the day lilies will fit in. My grandmother had a beautiful bed of these tiger lilies along the sidewalk of her house, and I’ve wanted to replicate it ever since she died, as a kind of remembrance.
A bare patch in the front street bed still confounds me. There’s a large root from the maple tree right under this patch that seems to steal all the water from any plant I’ve tried to establish there. I’m now thinking I may need to wait for the barren strawberry to wend its way over, since it can take sustenance from several points along the way, and does well in dry-ish areas. I may have to wait for the spring to work on this one!