Gardening where the sidewalk ends

New Friends April 11, 2009

I’ve been slowly adding some new plants to the garden in the past week or so. Many still to go, from my spring plant  hauls at various garden centers. I am always slow to get stuff into the ground but this year has been particularly bad for some reason. No weather excuses, it’s been nice lately!

Molly at Life on Tiger Mountain dug out a clump of softneck garlic to share with attendees at the last SAGBUTT meeting. Fall is the usual time for planting garlic from cloves, but she said to just toss these in and it will probably be fine. I have never devoted a garden spot to garlic before, since I have such limited space, but figured it would be fun to try and we’ll see what happens!

Molly's garlic - finally planted

I got this small deer fern (Blechnum spicant) at a plant sale recently. I had one in my previous garden along with a lot of other ferns – it was a shady space, unlike most of the current garden. There is a small strip of mostly-bare earth on the north side of our house that doesn’t get a lot of sun. I’ve been putting mom-donated impatiens and begonias there in the summer but decided to start filling it up with shade-loving perennials, at least in part.

Deer fern

The same spot also received two wintergreen plants (Gaultheria procumbens). As one of the few berries that grows in deep shade (another is evergreen huckleberry, of which I planted two in another spot last fall), I wanted to try this one again, after killing a few in my old garden. I used to be put off by plants I had failed with in the past, but I’m trying to get over that and just try, try again.

Newly planted wintergreen

Never tried sedums before, except for one very poorly sited one that I think finally gave up the ghost this winter. I picked up a few and planted them in their own little area of the parking strip, where I hope they will enjoy the blasting sun and lack of regular water.

Sedum ‘Angelina’ – I hope it keeps its gold color year-round.

Sedum 'Angelina'

Sedum ‘Blaze of Fulda’
Sedum 'Blaze of Fulda'

This one came from the Arboretum sale, tag is long gone.

Unknown sedum

Good old standby, ‘Autumn Joy’ – it’s the variety I killed in the bad site, so I’m doing another try-again.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

I also planted Sedum oreganum, a tiny round-leaved green variety that looks like a miniature jade plant. (My photo was too atrocious to post, even compared to these other bad ones I’ve put up here. Apologies! Still sorting out my need-a-new-camera issues, no progress yet but thanks for all the comments and recommendations from previous commenters!)

All of the spring posts about people’s hellebores coming up and flowering so beautifully must have gotten to me – I succumbed at the nursery and bought two of this one, Helleborus ‘WalHelIvory’ Ivory Prince. Not quite as dramatic as some of the Corsican hellebores or the purple beauties, but I liked its subtle coloration.

Helleborus "WalHelIvory' Ivory Prince

Spontaneous purchase, after having seen these in others’ garden shots – Cyclamen hederifolium, at the bottom of this next photo. Yes, that’s Gnomus gnomus in the background, I’ve already copped to having him so don’t give me grief.

Cyclamen hederifolium and hellebore

I also planted a longleaf lungwort, Pulmonaria ‘Roy Davidson,’ in the vicinity, so I guess this is becoming my little woodland garden. Then tossed in an Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) for native interest and wildlife support, despite grave warnings from my mom that the roots will go everywhere and I’ll never get rid of it. Photos are again too awful to include. I need to add more groundcover that can take the shallow cedar roots in that area. I could do salal but don’t want it to take over. Any suggestions?


13 Responses to “New Friends”

  1. Blossom Says:

    I like ferns ’cause they are easy to care for. Hellebores are magnifique. As for the ground cover, I tried Pennywort but OMG, how quickly they covered the ground and killed my precious pearl grass …Yikes!

  2. Racquel Says:

    You’ve been a busy bee this spring with all your new additions. Try Sweet Woodruff, it will take a bit of sun and the roots are quite shallow.

  3. RainGardener Says:

    I’m so excited I made it on the right day.
    You have been busy and everything looks great. You could try Vinca (periwinkle). I have it around 2 old growth stumps that have lots of roots and bark and they do fine. My neighbors put Oregon Grape in a garden between our 2 properties and I’m not liking it at all as it’s headed into my bed and it’s as hard as Salal to get rid of.

  4. Grace Says:

    Howdy~~ Love your new babies. The Sedum ‘Angelina’ is stupendous. It not only keeps the bright yellow color but depending on the amount of sun will turn an eye-catching orange as well. It’s a keeper. I used to see it at nurseries for big bucks–like a status plant or something, but because it grows so well and is easy to propagate it’s become a household name. I love it. The red sedum could be ‘Voodoo.’

    I’ve twice killed wintergreen. Bummer. However, the evergreen huckleberry are stalwarts in my garden. I don’t have patience for the bee-bee sized berries though.

    You gotta love the cyclamen. You know not to worry when the leaves die in a few months, right? This is what they do. In the fall they will bloom and then the leaves will emerge and stay gorgeous until, well…you get the idea. Sorry if this is all redundant. I don’t want to come across as a know-it-all. Years ago my neighbor asked for my help in designing an area that was full of cyclamen. She didn’t like them! Can you imagine? So like a madwoman I turned up every little bulb and bulblet I could find. Gimmee, gimmee !

    Also gotta love Mr. Gnomus gnomus. Looks like he’s in full bloom.

  5. Megan Says:

    That’s you planting slowly? Now I feel like a slacker.

  6. Catherine Says:

    You have gotten a lot planted. I love the deer fern, I somehow killed the last one I had. I think I will try again!
    You’ve got a nice variety of sedums!

  7. Alice Joyce Says:

    Sedum ‘Angelina’ is a great plant, and I highly recommend it. I use it in various places; color is lovely and cheerful. I left a bunch of messages on Blotanical with updates to Gardenwalks in California. I should have emailed or left a proper message here. Oh well, it’s done. Let me know when any CA trip is planned, or if you’d like more info. I just returned from one of the best No Cal nurseries and will soon post on: Sonoma Hortiultural Nursery p. 73. Cheers!

  8. Jen Says:

    Nice variety here! We have something similar to the Angelina sedum that grows like crazy here- practically a weed! I think your garlic will do well, too. I’m growing a variegated groundcover called “snow on the mountain” that seems to be doing well in shade.

  9. Wonderful, oh so busy you have been! And the blueberries too! I can’t wait to get started with a kitchen garden… I was actually going to write you about Bloedel Reserve, wondering if you would be interested in a trip during late May or early June? Karen, e-mail me if you are interested- I didn’t get your e-mail address at the first SAGBUTT meeting…

  10. I love sedums–they look all plump and otherworldly. And garlic….mmmmmmmm.

  11. Daniel Mount Says:

    Ivory Prince is so classy you can’t go wrong. I also love the deer fern, a good purchase after a Winter that took care of all those not-so-hardy plants. It’s great to be putting new things into the ground isn’t it? I think you inspired me to try starting garlic in the spring too, flooding and tilling keep us from planting in the fall.Let me know how it goes. D.

  12. What a great posse of new friends. I was going to suggest sweet woodruff too – it’ll take over but it’s pretty easy to pull it out wherever you don’t want it. And do already know about pinching ‘Autumn Joy’ a few times in June/July to make it nice and bushy? ‘Angelina’ is probably my fave – it turns an electric orange for us in the winter. Love!

  13. LOVE the photos of the hellebore! Love the red lettuces, too. I have some in my garden because they add such pretty color to the lettuce patch — and my goose Phoenix tends to favor them!

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