Around the Garden 2012

Pretty weather has come extremely early this year, and so have all the springtime blooms.  I am no master gardener – I can only hope for things I plant to survive – but over the past 4+ years, I have been moving, removing, and adding plants to our yard in hopes of making the outdoor spaces make more sense.  I feel like I am at a pretty good place in the front yard and side yards, so this year I am continuing the work in our back yard.  And that is where I will start:

The blue Speedwell has really beefed up this year and a few of the clumps are really starting to cascade over the retaining wall nicely.  I began transplanting the grape hyacinths right behind the speedwell at my mom’s recommendations because they compliment each other well.

I believe these are also hyacinths and they randomly came up this year right next to (and under the top of the rock wall around the dogwood tree.  Very pretty, but I think I need to move them over a bit.

I filled in the planters early this year.  In the small pot I put a Cyclamen.  In the largest pot, I planted a Cosmopolitan Silver Grass (thriller), some Begonias and some Dusty Miller (fillers).  There is still three large clumps of Golden Globes Lisimaquia (spiller) leftover from last year.  In the medium pot, I planted a Red Star Dracaena Palm (thriller), Dichondra Silver Falls (spiller), Dusty Miller and Begonias (filler).  Both planters still have some Dianthus (filler) that I planted several years ago.

I am trying to root some of the Golden Globes in the second medium pot with the Mum.  I also have a second small pot where I am putting any Crape Myrtle sprouts I find to give to my mom for her Master Gardener’s plant sale (you can just see the tops of them in the bottom edge of the picture).

An exciting addition this year is a weeping lace leaf Japanese Maple at the corner of the house.  There has always been a half-dead Gardenia bush here that, like so many of the plants originally here when we moved in, was planted too close to the house.  I ripped out the Gardenia and installed this beauty.  It is the third Japanese Maple on our property – all three are different varieties:

Coral Bark Japanese Maple with beautiful chartreuse leaves:

Traditional Japanese Maple with red leaves (I am working on training it up to branch out above head level since it was planted next to the courtyard path by the previous owners):


My sister gave me two types of garlic to plant in my garden when we visited her in February.  I think this is one that has sprouted up next to my blackberries.  The other is on the opposite side and I think it has just started to poke up through the ground.

My blackberries seem to be springing back nicely this year – I felt like they really didn’t do anything last year after the initial sprout out of leaves, so here’s hoping for more action this year.  The blueberries didn’t even put out any leaves last year, so I thought I might have lost them, but one has full-on leaves and the other has little leaf buds on it this year, so I am hoping they will actually do something this year.  They have been in the ground for two full years and haven’t grown an inch, so it is really disappointing so far.  I guess I should have sprung for the $40 established plants instead of settling for the $5 sprouts.  Who knew they would be so slow-growing?

Now that all the plant beds are planned and planted, I turned my attention to the large hill in our backyard.  So far I have installed a Little Gem Magnolia to balance out the other Magnolia and the Dogwood, transplanted all the Daylillies from sporadic clumps into a line along the back of the fence, and planted three mop-head Hydrangeas along one side of the fence.  There were tiny Tulip trees planted in each corner when we moved in that have really shot up, so last year I cut back a good number of trunk shoots, leaving two trunks per tree that I am trying to train up so that they don’t grow into the fence.

I want to fill in the rest of the hill with shrubbery and ornamental grasses (no-maintenance plants to fill in the bare areas for a layered look).  Starting it out this year, I have planted two Sky Rocket Pennisetums.  I also transplanted the Red Fountain Grass that I used in my planters last year, but I’m not sure they survived – I haven’t seen any signs of life yet.

Last year, I really enjoyed the lavender I transplanted onto the hill, so I planted two new ones next to the mature plant.

I also decided to plant a Rosemary bush this year for future enjoyment.  (This was prompted by a pin about making your home smell like a William Sonoma store)

Also this year, I am working on transplanting the Golden Barberries from the front shrub bed to the hill.  After realizing they are not evergreen, I decided to replace them with some more Firepower Nandinas, but in an effort to not waste them, I plan to scatter them in front of the Little Gem.

New Firepower Nandinas in the front shrub bed:

The Asiatic Lillies I got off the clearance rack at Wal-mart last year have come back!

Excuse the hot mess, but the Lamb’s Ear came back up this year in the dead corner of the yard that is surrounded by fence on two sides and the house and the garden shed on the other two sides.  A perfect spot to keep these babies out of the sun for richer color and less monster-growth.  The wilted section was just transplanted yesterday, so it will take a little while to get rooted.  I don’t know if I will ever get it all out of the bed with the Thujas since it multiplies every year.  At least it is easy to transplant with shallow roots.

Moving on to the courtyard:

I added a Maidenhair(?) fern behind the Coral Bell my mom planted.

The hosta my mom planted is starting to poke through.  It was huge two years ago, but sprung up last year and almost immediately turned brown – last year’s weather was really hard on everything.  Hopefully it will really spring back this year.

The Firepower Nandinas that I planted in 2010 have put out a lot of new growth this year already (unlike last year), so I am looking forward to their color change this year.

The dwarf Gardenia and Mop Head Hydrangea really seem to like it on this side of the house.  Both have doubled in size several times over since bringing the Gardenia home from the Lowe’s clearance rack and the Hydrangea home from Easter at church a few years ago.

In the front yard:

I plugged a few Begonias into this sliver of dirt between the garage and the sidewalk last year.  They were labeled as annuals, but low and behold they have survived the mild winter and are popping right back up.

The Azalea bushes are full of white blooms.

And the Daffodils survived their second transplant – now surrounding the Pear Tree stump in an attempt to camouflage it.  I couldn’t tell if the Crape Myrtle would make it again this year, but brand new leaves popped out again and I think the transplant was a success.  Who knows how long it will take to grow into a tree though!

In the side yard:

The Emerald Green Giant and all of the Golden Euonymus made it through the winter and are going strong.  The blue Speedwell has really taken off in the small cinderblock retaining wall and is cascading nicely.

I am probably finished for this Spring, since it will be best to add more shrubs and ornamental grass to the hill in the Fall.  One of these days I will get everything filled in and spaced right, and then we will move…

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