Getting Dirty With It: Part 2

My beloved perennial gardens.  Let me first say that I am by NO means an expert on anything garden related, but I did try and approach my two perennial beds with some common sense and a visual eye.

Newly planted driveway bed.

I also started focusing on gardens around town that I liked. I brought my camera on walks with the dog, I asked anyone with a garden (mom, aunt, grandmothers, godmother) for tips and pointers.  And of course, Kristina (our beloved landscape designer) advised and steered and provided me with resources to begin a list of plants I liked.

Common Sense considerations:

1. Growing conditions.  These two beds will be full beating sun, so obviously I’m limited to heartier plants that can stand full sun conditions.

2. Size.  Plants have two measurements: height and spacing.  So how tall, and how wide.  I figured that taller plants should be in the back and stockier ones towards the front.

Visual Eye considerations:

1. Colors.  I decided that I liked purples and fuschias and maybe some white.  But no yellow/ red/ orange for these beds.

2. Texture. I figured that offsetting the rounder leaves with the wispier leaves would make the most sense, but again… that’s just me.

This is an example of a rounder leaf in my mind:


And this would be a wispier one:

English Lavender

 I tend to like things balanced but a little quirky so I didn’t hesitate to put in lots of different varieties.  A list of plants I liked- purely by appearance- based on google searches and skimming through garden catalogs, was:
creeping phlox
lambs ear
geranium  mavis simpson
geranium rozanne
When I actually started looking up details about each of these plants, my list got narrowed down a little bit.  Turns out, some were annuals so would have to be replanted every season (nope), others looked different in person than in photographs, and so on.

Various catalog pages I collected for the perennial gardens.

Once I had a working list of plants, I brought out the graph paper.  I’m a visual person so this helped me a lot.  First, I mapped out the size of each plant based on height specs and spacing specs.  I ended up with a series of rectangles/ squares that made it easy for me to see right away which plants were biggest.

Not the best pic, but you can see all my boxes to show the relative size of each plant.

Now came the fun part.  At least fun if you’re moderately lame with possibly too much free time on your hands.  I drew each of the garden beds to scale on the graph paper and started drawing circles.  Since I knew how big each plant was, I could obviously scale the plants accordingly.  I started with the tall ones along the back and spaced these evenly with a consideration for balance.  It wasn’t always possible, but I tried to work with odd numbers of plants (thank you, Kristina and HGTV).  Working from the back of the longer bed, I filled in with plants taking into consideration their height, and their overall appearance in order to balance the texture/ color throughout each bed.

Driveway garden plan.

I repeated this process for the walkway bed, but I used more ground cover plants and fewer of the tall ones.  Kristina convinced me to integrate some bigger ‘show stopper’ type plants so the whole bed didn’t look too low and dull.  I had some large hostas that were doing well, so we decided to move these in to the walkway bed because of their size.

Hosta.  There are a million varieties, and I forget which one this is.

The plants in the walkway bed are a little different than the side bed, but there are some of the same and I tried to use a similar color scheme so the two beds wouldn’t be too disparate.
I didn’t bother coloring in or doing anything fancier than circles, but you could certainly go that far if you wanted to see how all the colors would look together.  A few trips to the wholesale nursery for the majority and then the local nursery to round off our shopping, and voila- a garden of plants had we! Yippee!  Pop those suckers in and wait for them to grow.  I can’t wait to see how it all fills out.  I’m already feeling like one of the geraniums are a little too ‘leggy’ for where they’ve been planted (you can see it creeping onto the walkway below), but anything in a garden can be moved!  Here’s my masterpiece to be:

Newly planted front walkway bed.

Newly planted driveway bed.

I also found this super cute wooden trellis on sale at Terrain and stuck it onto the bare wall between our garage and our front door.  I like it, but might change my mind down the road.  I don’t think I’ll ever us it for plants, actually, since I love the simple organic lines, but a sweet creeping vine (like clematis) might look nice there.
 Now I have to go and turn on all the sprinklers!

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