Creating a New Wildflower Bed

Last year I dug out and moved two large plants – one of the kiwi vines along the driveway fence, and the small Japanese Maple out front, in the sidewalk bed.  These were major transplanting efforts, and I’m happy to report that the Japanese Maple is doing well in its new home.  (The kiwi went to another gardener via Craigslist, so no report there.)  Both plants needed to go, for different reasons, but they left big gaps behind!

The front sidewalk bed is a bit tricky – south-facing, but shaded by the city’s Norway Maple in the sidewalk and the blue spruce on the west side,  sloping, and with tree roots throughout.  When I inherited it, there was a hydrangea and holly against the cement wall, and lots of hostas and Stella D’Oro lillies.  I’ve been gradually taking them out, adding coral bells and barren strawberries to reliably fill in spaces, and experimenting to find out what else will work.

The star this spring is the Zizia aptera (Heart-leaf Alexander) to the right.  I planted it in 2007, and this spring it’s filling out beautifully!  I’ve found a few small Alexander seedlings nearby, and hope that they will grow up in the years to come.

Further up the slope, I’ve just added Virginia Bluebells, and then the Goatbeard (Aruncus diocus) – a small scraggly thing last year – has leafed out in and above it. If you look closely, you can see that the Virginia Bluebell has a pretty pattern of starting with tiny violet-pink buds that then open into blue flowers.


And here is a foam flower , looking lovely right now, near one of the deep reddish-purple coral bells.  The large flowered bellwort behind it is no longer in bloom here, but is doing well.  I divided it last year, and am delighted to see it flourishing here.

It’s not looking bare any more!


Shooting Stars, the Star of My Spring Deck

The Shooting Stars (Dodacatheon amesthystinum) are spectacular this spring!  I planted
these on my deck in April, 2008 (purchased at New England Wildflower Society).  They’ve always produced one or two beautiful flowers, but this spring, there are eight or more flower stalks, with more flowers opening every day.

The plant sharing this container is American Ipecac (Porteranthus stipulatus) which grows up nicely as the Shooting Stars fade.  There’s also some Bee Balm in here, just appearing in the foreground. I love having perennials in the containers on my deck… just add spring!