New plants for 2012, part II

After I filled up  on Japanese painted fern, I made my way to the herb rows.

The terraced beds along the front steps by the street are hot and dry. In my mind I refer to this area as the scree garden, as that’s what it’s eventually going to be.  The vision is for these beds to be a mix of perennials and grasses, and a blend of textures, in yellow-green and silver-blue. The first-level terrace, which abuts the road, is covered with Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’, and is doing very well. The second level holds a mix of succulents, including Sedum rupestre ‘Blue Spruce,’ Sedum spurium ‘John Creech,’ and some Sempervivum whose variety I have long forgotten. (Another to-do: Add Sedum kamtschaticum into the mix.)

The third level, which had held lambs ears (Stachys byzantina), did not fare quite so well (when I planted them there, it was for the form and texture contrast but I hadn’t committed wholeheartedly to the scree garden plan. When I witnessed their demise, I converted to the scree plan entirely). This summer the stragglers are coming out and new, more resilient plants shall take their place. First on the list are thymes: lovely lemon thyme (Thymus x citriodorus ‘Variegata’), a bright lime green with yellow edging around the tiny leaves, and the common thyme, Thymus vulgaris. I have a large oregano plant that could probably do with dividing, and that may fill in some space later on in the spring or summer. I also planted a few ‘Avorio’ cardoons I raised from seed obtained from John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds. I adore cardoons for their tremendous, spiny, silvery foliage. I haven’t yet tried to harvest and cook them, but maybe one of these days I’ll get bold. I don’t think I’ll ever have a sunny garden without cardoons, though. They’re too dynamic to be without.

I also picked up a few basil, because I forgot to start any myself. Those haven’t gone into the garden yet. I did resist the scented pelargoniums, which I love but always seem to kill. I’ll pick up a few next time.

In the next greenhouse, full of tender perennials, annuals, and a selection of succulents, I picked up an Oxalis triangularis ‘Deep Purple’ for the pink-purple-and-yellow bed. I’m not sure whether this will turn out to be a good decision or not, so I thought to limit my exposure until I see how it behaves.

I grabbed two Dyckia on impulse. Grabbed, truthfully, is an inaccurate description. More accurate to say that I gingerly picked up two Dyckia and promptly dropped them into the wagon. They’re not so cuddly, Dyckia. They are supposed to be hardy here, and their bronzy-purple spiny foliage was irresistible. I hope that one of them will make itself very comfortable in the blue slope garden and will ward off either the youngest members of the household from the street, or the neighborhood dogs from the more appealing plantings in the slope. I keep plenty of bandages and a fine set of tweezers in the house, just in case. The other shall go into a big urn of various succulents.

I must find out more about these specific Dyckia; the tag fell out of the pot somewhere along the way.

Next shall be the shade plants, but that’s material for another post.


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