Last summer the remaining two thirds of the garden was landscaped which has meant that I have had fun planting last autumn and this spring.
My approach to the garden was firstly to make a list of plants that I wanted to grow, and plan where the structural shrubs were going to go, ensuring that I had space for them all, taking into account their mature spread, including shrubs I already had in pots that I wanted to plant out. I did not plan in any detail where the perennials would go, but did annotate the plan with notes of which plants were to go in which areas according to the moisture level of the soil and sun/shade levels. (The soil is sandy, and the top of the garden is hot and dry but the middle section around the lawn is generally quite moist.) I used annuals to fill in the gaps between shrubs and anywhere I have not yet planted. This has worked quite well with bright orange/red Zinnias and trailing Lobelia between the shrubs on the ‘pool terrace’, and pale lemon Cosmos ‘Xanthos’ weaving through the bed next to the lawn.
The 4 symmetrical beds in the pool terrace have been very successful with good continuity of interest. There were Wallflowers and Tulips in the Spring which added an early brilliance of colour. This was followed with a fantastic show by the Anthemis, and then the Santolina, Veronica, Salvia, Eryngium, Agastache, Verbena and Echinacea, a mix of white, lemon and lilac. As the lemon tones faded, the pinks arrived in the form of Teucrium and Cosmos and the pink Sedums are just starting to colour up. I am hoping the Miscanthus ‘Yakushima Dwarf’ flowers to add extra texture and interest but I suspect I may need to change it for a taller variety.
In part of the top terraced beds I chose a combination of Sedum ‘Bertram Anderson, Penstemon ‘Raven and Gypsophilia ‘Rosy Veil’ which work very well together.
I also used Erigeron karvinskianus slotted in between small shrubs and grasses to edge a paved terrace.
The weather has proved challenging this year, with the cold winter, wet spring and hot dry summer. The sheer intensity of the sun has scorched some of the plants but hopefully they will recover and look healthier next year. The dryness has been a problem for some plants. I tried to give all the plants that had been planted less than a year ago a good soaking once a week, but in the spring I had planted some Astilbes and Primulas that are moisture loving plants in the areas which have never dried out in the past, but did this year, so these needed more frequent watering. Once they mature and gets their roots down, they will probably more tolerant.
I am already starting to plan for next year with new shrubs and perennial plants on my wish list, and different annuals to try. But for now, I will enjoy spending time in the garden!