Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Some More New Friends May 28, 2009

Filed under: flora,my garden — greenwalks @ 6:52 pm
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My spring plant purchasing has been pretty restrained. Because of some revamping in the backyard, I haven’t wanted to buy too much until I knew what we really needed. But still, the odd plant sale managed to creep onto my radar and it was impossible to resist at least a few new treasures.

I am terrible at plant combinations, but when I saw these two at the same sale, I kind of imagined them together. Japanese blood grass, or Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’ (illegal to grow in the Southern US, unfortunately, since it reverts to its non-hybrid form and becomes horribly invasive – it is tame in the NW and I have always wanted to own a clump) and Phygelius x rectus ‘Sunshine,’ a golden cultivar of Cape Fuchsia (a South African plant that dies back in our climate but regrows from the ground and is a hummingbird magnet when the tubular pinkish-red flowers bloom). I wedged them into the parking strip and I hope they grow up to get along together and not bicker too much. I probably need some ground cover there right now, nothing that will clash with reddish-purple or goldeny-green.

Japanese blood grass and golden Phygelius

There is nothing like seeing a plant, going “Cool!,” buying it, bringing it home, putting it in the ground, finally getting around to looking it up in the old plant book, and going “Duh – I already have this!” Please tell me I am not the only person to do that… in the latest case, with Phlomis russeliana (Sticky Jerusalem Sage). I had wanted something with bigger leaves since everything in the parking strip seems to have little tiny ones. I forgot that I have a huge clump of this growing in the shade under the Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick tree in our upper garden. I may have to move this one eventually, as I think it will get quite large. I do love the fuzzy leaves, they beg to be touched, and the flower spikes are quite interesting when they appear and even after they die. Pardon the holey leaves, the snails had a go at this before I got it into the ground.

Phlomis russeliana (Sticky Jerusalem Sage)

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Rainbow’ appealed to me despite its somewhat silly cultivar name. I am trying to add more purple to the parking strip as a resting point for the eye, kind of a lot going on down there… I like the way the sun catches it late in the day.

Purple gaura foliage in sun

There’s more but I think I will stop after this last one. It’s not a new addition, just a returnee that I had forgotten would be there. My mom gave me a lot of echinacea (coneflower) seedlings last year, too late for them to bloom during the summer. One of the delights of being a forgetful gardener is the surprise of seeing plants you’d not remembered planting! There are many of these, and I hope to see the bees enjoying their long-lasting flowers all summer long.

Coneflower returning from last year's seedlings

The playhouse for my daughter has arrived, and the raised bed for the probably pot-bound raspberry canes has finally been built, although it’s still awaiting soil. I will try to post pictures of those new structural additions to our lives soon.


10 Responses to “Some More New Friends”

  1. Grace Says:

    Oh yes! Many times have I done this. I always think I’ll remember something so won’t take any notes. Then I promptly forget. Oddly enough, just recently I noticed an unfamiliar plant and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what it was. Now that it has grown and has a flower bud, I remember it. Phlomis cashmeriana.

    I love Gaura ‘Passionate Rainbow’ and planted two one gallon pots a few years ago. I was even able to root cuttings and planted those too. But that winter they all died. Sad. But life goes on…. 🙂

    Nice combo, the Blood Grass and Phygelius!

  2. Georgia Says:

    Thinking of your “greenwalks” project here in Penang, Malaysia as many of the businesses have created potted plant gardens on the “sidewalks” or covered walkways. Will post with photos on my return.

  3. Kim Says:

    No, you’re not the only one do go DUH, I already have that. And I, too, am terrible at plant combinations. We completely redid our perennial border last fall, and I THOUGHT I planned it. Imagine my surprise to find it’s not planned at all, and now I’m wondering WHAT is THAT plant? And WHERE is so and so. It sounds like we have a lot in common, but then again, we’re gardeners!

  4. Catherine Says:

    I love your new plants. I really like the blood grass. I’m finding I like plants with reddish foliage lately. I can’t believe how big your echinacea is already, mine is just a few inches tall.
    Have fun outside today, I bet your daughter is enjoying her playhouse.

  5. I love Blood grass too – wonderful colours. And what do you grow between the plants, they look like young carrots? Have a lovely weekend, it is amazingly hot…

  6. Megan Says:

    I do that all the time, buy the same plant twice. Especially feel dumb about it when it’s something a little rambunctious and self seeds everywhere (antrhiscus sylvestris ravenswing? why did I buy three more?). But I think it’s good to have repetition, and I agree big leaves are an important element when you have a lot of small leaves in an area, so it’s still a good thing.

  7. I’ve been meaning to purchase a couple of the new colors of cone-flower, I bought the green one a couple of years ago and it was struggling. Then I put a shovel right thru it by mistake (it was dormant), someday some one is going to invent dormant plant radar and be rich!

    I mentioned that there was a great place in Tacoma to get plant pots….here is the link: I’ve only been once and it was a year ago but they really impressed me!

  8. Cynthia Says:

    I lost my Cape Fuchsia this past winter and I was really sad by it too. Last year it was just beautiful. I’m trying to exert some self control this year when it comes to plant buying (tight budget) and have not replaced it…yet.

    I’m with Catherine, your echinacea is so much larger than mine right now! Mine has a lot of catching up to do to reach the size of the one in your photo!

    Can’t wait to hear about the playhouse. 🙂

  9. Daniel Mount Says:

    Karen , the blood grass/phygellius combo is a winner. I might steal that idea. Great to see how much blogging you’re getting in. I love the Gaura photo. Being forgetful is one of my favorite designer flaws. Surprise, surprise, surprise…. See you in the garden. D.

  10. Racquel Says:

    That Japanese Blood grass is a nice compliment to the Phygellius. I’ve been eyeing that grass for sometime, wonder if it would be invasive in my area?

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