But here's the rest of the story: the roses that I didn't order, that were sent to me by accident, that were perfect and rocketed me into a state of blissful delirium, allowed me to create a new garden bed in a fabulously sunny, moist part of my yard. If your garden is already moist and sunny, then this may not seem like a big deal. However, most of my garden is dry and shady, and only has two beds that receive six or more hours of sun. Shrubs fill a few other sunny places better suited for the billowing mounds of viburnum and deutzia than a mixed border.
Creating a new garden bed can be exhilarating but also expensive and despite my windfall, I couldn't justify spending several hundred dollars on plants just to keep my new roses company. Fortunately, I didn't need to. Struggling to grow wedged behind more enthusiastic bedmates, desperate to stay alive in bone dry soil, or lying prostrate across the mulch in a futile bid for more sun, lay an entire borders' worth of plants. Many of these refugees were original to the garden, planted when the trees were smaller and the beds moister and sunnier. The soil was so compacted and the trees so scrubby when we first moved in that I didn't plan for shade. I simply didn't plan on many of the trees surviving the first winter. Eight years later, shade prevails and moist, sunny spots are the equivalent of the Ritz-Carlton, Trump Towers, or the Taj Mahal.
To fill the bed, I went shopping in my own garden. Here's what I found:
- a bird bath and stepping stone
- pink wood aster 'Fanny'
- heliopsis 'Tuscan Sun'
- Persian cornflower (Centaurea dealbata)
- pink coneflowers 'Magnus'
- white coneflowers "Fragrant Angel'
- rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' seedlings
- phlox 'David', "David's Lavender', 'Nicky'
- phlox - assorted seedlings in shades of pink and white
- blue mist flower
- hostas (beautiful but unnamed, from a friend)
- white double balloon flowers
- achillea 'The Pearl'
- aster 'Alert'
- nepeta 'Six Hills Giant' ( I think!)
- daylillies - shades of yellow, pink, purple
- variegated iris (iris ensata)
- blue eyed grass
- slender leaf mountain mint
A section of the new bed is slightly drier and receives high, filtered shade from a neighboring river birch. I used the phlox, hostas, blue mist flower, balloon flowers, and daylilies as transition plants from the slightly shady area to the sunnier, moister side. A stepping stone next to the bird bath makes filling the bird bath easier. My only expenses were the compost, mulch, and the highly effective bunny barricade. Considering our gas prices jumped 8 cents a gallon while I was at work Friday, something for almost nothing is my favorite way to garden!
Many of these plants are growing sideways or have strange root systems because of the stressed conditions they were growing in. I have faith they will all be gorgeous by next summer!
Compost + the right growing conditions are wonderful healers (if you're a plant!).
I used the hostas that formerly grew in a semi-circle at the base of the river birch to guide the eye around the curve of the bed towards the sunny side. This new garden also creates a more beautiful view than my neighbors a/c units currently provide.
I used a shovel to remove the sod and brought in 50 bags of compost since a bulk delivery wasn't an option.
I left a grass walkway between the Dogwood garden and the new sunny border. I'm going to dig out about another 8 inches of grass to give the plants in the new bed more room to grow.
As I was creating the new garden, my dogs were on a week long mole hunt that involved them destroying more grass than the mole. They finally caught the mole, but part of my Dogwood garden and a long section of grass looks like swiss cheese. Baby, a sturdy daschund/corgi mix, is on mole patrol in this picture. When we adopted her from the no-kill shelter all of our dogs came from, she was already named and since it had been her name for eight years, we kept it.