Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Garden Stamp of Approval

My mother-in-law once told me that she always had a spot in her garden that was "experimental", where she'd test out new plants and see what made the cut.   I told her that our whole entire yard is experimental.  As a total beginner, we have 5 acres full of trial and error.

You really need to watch plants for a few years to see if they are all you'd hoped they'd be.  Some I've been in love with for a season but then have been annoyed with the rest of the year.  Some I've even loved for many seasons but then come to detest because I learn that they desire world domination.....or at least domination of an entire flower bed.

Here are a few things that have stood the test of time and have been given the stamp of approval in our garden:

Kinnickinnick:  It's not only fun to say, it's really a  great easy-care plant.  I planted our first kinnickinnick about 4 years ago and it's slowly but surely proven its worth.  It has year-round interest, is drought tolerant, and drapes beautifully over our entry rock wall.

And to think, I only bought it for the name.

Another plant that has been give our stamp of approval is Russian Sage.  Evidently it's not really a sage and it's not really Russian, but whatever it is, we like it.  It's a sparkling silvery purple in late summer when most other flowers look faded, it's drought tolerant, and the bees love it.  It's also spiky but needs no staking, something I almost always refuse to do.

It's a great companion to the rose colored sedum in the background.

Hardy Geranium 'Biokovo': This plant deserves a better photo, taken when it's in bloom.  It's a great ground cover, here under our Japanese maple and fills in all the nooks and crannies admirably without taking over more than it's own fair share of space.  There are so many varieties of hardy geranium that a girl could start quite a collection.

Viburnums:  I love this plant, our doublefile viburnum, seen here in Spring when the white flowers shine.   Whole books have been written detailing the different varieties of viburnum.  Like the hardy geranium, I could start a sizable collection.  I just planted a korean spice viburnum that I'm hoping is a little more drought tolerant than the doublefile, it's only fault.  Drought tolerance seems to be theme here.  You'd think that in rainy western Washington, that wouldn't be an issue, but come August, it absolutely is.  I want plants that I can pretty much ignore.  But the doublefile is so gorgeous, I make an exception and drag out the hose to keep it happy.

Evergreens.  When I first started planting, I had tunnel vision for the flowers.  What I've found though is that without some stalwart evergreens, things can look chaotic in a hurry.  I planted this adorable hinoki cypress last week and love it's chartreuse color.  There's a wide range of greens and I need to explore mixing them up a bit more.    

I'm happy to be heading into fall, when I can plant bulbs.  This year I'm trying some species tulips, plants which will hopefully prove to be keepers in our experimental yard.


val said...

I always love seeing pictures of your garden ....so different from here in upstate New York where our winters are too brutal for some of the flowers you have!

Terynn said...

Kinnickkinnick? Like the STADIUM? In I-O-WAY? lolol Too funny!!

Jen Bay said...

Is Garden Envy an official malady? Because I do believe I have it.... when I get back to the states, I will need some consultation....