Saturday, January 7, 2012

Welcome to the Party!

Last fall I began a huge makeover for my garden. I spent over eight weekends digging new beds, transplanting dozens of plants, lifting and ammending the soil, etc. Plants that no longer fit into the design or were smothering their neighbors went to new homes. A few, like the hideously meatball shaped barberries that I had thoughtless planted in the shade of a planet sized viburnum, were enthusiastically chopped into pieces and given shallow graves.

One of the best parts of the makeover was choosing new plants. I linked the pictures to the nurseries I bought them from. If I purchased them locally, photo credit is given. All the plants from Prairie Moon were purchased as bare roots. My selections from Lazy S's arrived as healthy, vigorous plants. Here's what I added:

Ornamental Grasses

Chasmanthium latifolium (Northern Sea Oats)

I purchased these from Lazy S's Nursery when I redesigned the Bed of Death and Misery, the driest shade in my garden.

Variegated 'River Mist' Northern Sea Oats

When I saw these growing at our local nursery, I stopped in my tracks. The combination of variegated foliage and greenish white seed heads is truly striking. 


Campanula 'Summertime Blues'

I bought this off the clearance table to tuck into a spot next to a dwarf sweetspire. It's not as aggressive as other campanulas. I love the blue bell shaped flowers.


Liatris ligulistylis (Meadow Blazing Star)

Meadow Blazing Star from Prairie Moon is excellent for attracting monarchs.

Dracocephalum 'Fuji Blue' (False Dragonshead)

Dracocephalum is one of the toughest plants in my garden. I also have a beautiful white form that blooms in the spring. They'll take dry, partial shade. My pot of 'Fuji Blue'  dried out severely before I could get it in the ground but once planted and watered, it bounced right back.

Xanthorhiza simplicissima (Yellowroot)

Laurrie of My Weeds Are Very Sorry introduced me to yellowroot when I asked her to help me redesign part of my front garden. I'm adding more in the spring. It's actually a native sub-shrub with beautiful fall color and lavender spring flowers.

Chrysoganum 'Allen Bush' and 'Pierre' (Goldenstar)

Green and Gold is an excellent edging plant for dry shade. I actually killed a patch of it once when I moved it to a moister spot. It's easily overrun by other plants and needs its own space. 

Smilacina racemosa (Solomon's Plume)

False Solomon's Plume has creamy white flowers in the spring and red berries in the winter. I planted these near the spigelia.

Porteranthus stipulatus (Western Indian Physic)

Unlike the most recently introduced cultivar of porteranthus, porteranthus stipulatus thrives in dry partial shade. It is very similar to Bowman's Root, which grows effortlessly in my garden.

Polygonatum odoratum (Variegated Solomon's Seal)
photo credit

I added several variegated Solomon's Seal in my quest to find plants that would thrive in dry shade. It's also fragrant. Bonus!

'Sunday Gloves' daylily

photo credit

'Sunday Gloves' was my lucky break at our local garden center. Most of the daylilies were picked over or weren't the color I was looking for. 'Sunday Gloves' is a fragrant rebloomer with huge flowers. 

Hostas 'Twilight' and 'Grand Marquee'


photo credit

Grand Marquee

photo credit

I bought these to add to the hosta grouping under my river birch tree.

Rubus pentalobus (Creeping Bramble)

Creeping bramble is a fruiting vine in the raspberry family that bears edible golden raspberries. It thrives in dry, infertile soil and will spread indefinitely. I bought several pots and am using it in front of my potted birdhouses on my front porch. 

Lespedeza bicolor 'Yakushima'

'Yakushima' is a dwarf bush clover that thrives in dry, infertile soil. The flowers look like little sweet peas. 

Aquatic Plants (for the muck bucket frog pond)

Oenanthe javanica 'Flamingo' ( Variegated Water Celery)

I bought this to add to my frog pond. I was able to buy it and the other water plants for only $3 each at the end of the season. Happy!

Equisetum scirpoides (Dwarf Horsetail Rush)

This tiny rush is perfect for my tiny pond.

Lobelia cardinalis 'Fried Green Tomatoes' (Cardinal Flower)

All of my water plants are doing well in my little pond. I've never grown aquatic plants before but they seem really happy. 'Fried Green Tomatoes' is very winter hardy.


Peggy Martin

This tough climbing rose was accidentally sent to me due to a computer error. That's my kind of mistake!  It's also known as 'The Rose That Survived Hurricane Katrina'.

Jude the Obscure

I've been wanting to grow this rose for years and was finally able to make room when I redesigned my sunniest perennial bed. I ordered it from Chamblee's Nursery and it arrived in excellent condition.

Shrubs that don't seem like shrubs

Lespedeza thunbergii 'Spring Grove'

I was warned against buying a lespedeza thunbergi because they get big and sprawly, but big and sprawly was exactly what I needed for a particular spot by my driveway. I like that it can be cut down to 12" in the winter so I don't have to worry about killing it when I cover it with freshly shoveled-off-the-driveway snow.


Belladonna lilies - pink and 'Fred Meyer Whites'

'Fred Meyer Whites' are the toughest, most xeric belladonna lilies available. Advertised as highly fragrant, I combined them with several pink ones and planted them in the driest spot in my front garden. After seeing so many pictures of them on various blogs this summer, I just had to try them. When the bulbs arrived, they were enormous. I'm excited to see them bloom this summer.


  1. What a great selection of plants, and I like that you give each one a little profile and portrait! I'm considering the Chrysogonum Green & Gold for a bare patch of earth in my garden that I can't get water to, so it's good to see your experience with it.

    I have to say my favorite, though, is the header picture of the Spigelia. How I love, love that little beauty. I have killed it three times now, three years in a row, but still want to try again. It looks like you have a whole patch of it.

  2. Oh my goodness, you have been doing a really huge makeover. I wonder how you could pull that up all by yourself. You must be a quite energetic woman :-)! I love your new plants, especially the campanula 'Summertime Blues', Dracocephalum 'Fuji Blue' (False Dragonshead), 'Sunday Gloves' daylily, and the 'Peggy Martin' and 'Jude the Obscure' roses. The latter are truly wonderful varieties. I am sure you will enjoy them. I am so stunned that you also planted the belladonna lilies 'Fred Meyer Whites'. They have been sold to me as rarities at a plant market last autumn and I just put the bulbs in recently. I have never seen a white belladonna lily blooming in person, even though the pink ones you can see here quite often. Can't wait for them to bloom the first time.
    You surely have something to look forward to when all these plants will have grown in this year and bloom. Awesome job! I can't wait to see photos of the whole made over garden areas either!

  3. You've inspired me to rename my gardens. Parking garden, and garden in the white picket fence are pretty boring.

  4. I am in awe of your energy. You have a lot planned in the makeover. I do it every five years, but I think I ran out of steam anymore. Last year may be my last makeover. I like your plant selections, and so will the bees and butterflies. I like your description of 'shrubs that don't seem like shrubs' it will encourage more folks to add shrubs to gardens.

  5. It must be so satisfying to see how your hard work is paying off. How big is your pond? Mine is very small. I've never grown aquatic plants either, although there is a water lily in the fish pond (but that was there when we bought the house). I wonder if there is room for another plant. I also like the name of some of your new plants--Sunday Gloves was my fave. :)

  6. My oh my you have been a busy woman! What a great selection of plants. I love the variegated river oats! I am sure you are looking forward to seeing the results of your hard work this spring/summer. Can't wait to photos of them in your garden landscape later this year!

  7. Wow, that variegated sea oats is really pretty!! Haven't seen that before. I love the variegated Solomon's Seal, too. I had a couple clumps of it and moved them into one large clump this fall, so I'm looking forward to a good display this year. You might keep an eye on that horsetail in your pond. I have found it VERY invasive. Keep it in a pot. And I see that my Fred Meyers are poking out of the ground. Like, you I planted them in the driest spot in my front garden. I was surprised at how large the bulbs were! Thanks for giving me the heads on those :-) Can't wait to see the fruits of your labors this year! I know you will humorously keep us posted :-)

  8. I'm glad I came to the party. What lovely plants. I especially like Dracocephalum Fuji Blue. My 'plant wants list' is growing every day, and it's just grown again. Thanks for the inspiration.

  9. First, what a fantastic collection of plants. I see that you have a lot for dry shade. i think that is the hardest type of garden to have. I have one small area that is dry shade, and there is only dying plants there! :) Secondly, I admire you for having the courage to do what a lot of us want, but are afraid - start a huge makeover! Congratulations and good luck. I hope they all work out perfectly.

  10. Laurrie - Green and Gold is a great plant. Tough, too, as long as no other plants run it over.

    Christina - I left you a long comment about the Fred Meyers on your blog. :o)

    Jess - LOL! I've given all the different parts of my garden a name. It keeps them organized in my head and makes me feel like my garden is way bigger than it actually is!

    Donna - I have a lot of stamina, that's for sure! I was so excited about the project that only thing that stopped me was the need to pee, eat, and work. Oh yeah, and sleep!

    Bumble - I'd love to have a water lily but my pond is too shady.

    Karin - The variegated sea oats are stunning. I can hardly wait to see them sprout this spring. They're in a shady spot that needed some zest.

    Toni - Thanks for the advice on the water rush. Should it attempt to escape its pot, I'll be sure to show it who's boss!

    Crystal - Give the dracocephalum a try. It's a great plant!! It likes well drained soil.

    Holley - I love reviving the garden. Every year is a new opportunity to fix old mistakes. Plus, I get to buy a bunch of new plants! Hooray!

  11. Wow, you have been busy! I can't wait to see all these growing in your garden. The grasses are lovely, and I hope the roses do well for you. Peggy Martin is so lovely, and Jude has truly amazing fragrance.

  12. Me thinks YOU are going to have a wonderful time this coming Spring!! (I wonder, do the oats re-seed?) Beautiful collection!!!

  13. You have a lot of exciting new plants! Can't wait to see the results of the makeover

  14. That's A LOT of plants. You did do an overhaul. It will be interesting to see how it all does this year. I'm doing to the same thing but here and's a lot of work! Look forward to the results:)

  15. Wow Tammy that is a big load of new plants!!! I am envious of your Spigelia... want to get that AND the Variegated Solomon's Seal. What a great couple plants for shade.
    I had that Oenanthe javanica 'Flamingo' (Variegated Water Celery) in my Virginia out. It gets really happy and spreads its roots in nice moist soil....alllllll over.

  16. Wow, you have some great ones there! Congratulations on all your new acquisitions! I love the Sea Oats!

  17. Hi Tammy, You are such a sweetheart to take the time to list the daylilies for me. I hope to have the money to order some new daylilies this spring and so I will have to keep your fragrant varieties in mind (fragrance is always such a great bonus in a flower, isn't it?).
    As far as hostas go, I have mostly no-name hostas that I got on final clearance. I would like to have more hostas, but want them to be "special". I will definitely keep fragrant Guacamole in mind.
    Thanks also for the link to Toni's blog. I like the curve and open look of the two framed windows. A curved shape is exactly what I want. (Toni's garden is so beautifully laid out isn't it! I am in awe.)
    Finally, on to this post. You have certainly added a wide range of plants. I look forward to seeing how they all turn out. I hate to be a party pooper, but did you know that Solomon's Seal is a bit invasive? I have a bunch of it as well, but it is too young to have become a problem. My mom warned me about it, and you know what they say, mothers are always right. I have mine in a spot where nothing else grows. Hopefully, I won't regret it. I have to say that it is a beautiful looking perennial.
    Love the roses! Don't know yellowroot at all. Can't wait to see how it does.

  18. Love love your garden!! The bird houses are my best! I'm going to peep over into your garden alot from now on! THanks for joining the Harvest Day. Barbie

  19. You have room for aquatic plants in your pond too! Fantastic. I'm keeping an ever watchful eye on that project, you really have me inspired.

  20. You have certainly done a lot of work and have chosen some beautiful plants! I look forward to seeing them growing in your newly planned garden! Last year I planted Variegated Solomons Seal in a part of my woodland garden where nothing had thrived. I was surprised and pleased to see it flourishing and spreading!

  21. I can't even imagine digging up plants, getting rid of them and replanting. What a HUGE job. I do not blame on digging the barberries though. You should watch them because I cut mine down and those boogers came right back-even a year later they are still trying to regrow. Your plant choices are very interesting. Some I don't even know. I do want to know how your yellowroot does. I have some in my garden and am hoping it comes back and spreads. It's so pretty in full glory but mine had not done well. Happy New Year to you and Happy Gardening!

  22. No to Cię czeka sporo pracy.Myślę jednak, że warto, jeżeli Twój inny ogród ma spełnić Twoje oczekiwania i marzenia :-). Masz piękne kwiaty, a domek dla ptaszków jest słodki. Pozdrawiam ciepło.

    Well, a lot of work awaits you. But I think it's worth, if your garden is another meet your expectations and dreams :-). You have beautiful flowers, a house for birds is sweet. I greet warmly.


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