Much of our landscape is actually quite neglected, intentionally. While I do have a few spots that I load up with plants that yelled, “Shiny!” at me on many a trip to the nursery, most of our lot does not receive the TLC that those beds are pampered with. The idea has been to try to plant what thrives in our existing climate, lighting and soil conditions, thus reducing the need to water and allowing us to spend more time enjoying the landscape, instead of working on it.
This is not a complete list of what we have growing, but rather what is showing off for us today.
On the dry south facing border of our property, daylilies thrive. I rarely have to water them, and the deer leave them alone. On the top left, a volunteer to our property. This is our tallest, at just over 4 feet in height, it’s been prolific and indestructible. In fact, I’ve never watered this one! To the right, this tetraploid is Destined to See (Grace) (Sdlg X Create Your Dream), one of my favorites. The background mauve tones are most noticeable when the blooms first open. After a few hours, that end of the color spectrum fades into the creamy yellow which is pictured above. Below them, is a popping red acquired from a breeder on ebay some years ago. This one was thrown into the box as a bonus, simply tagged “Red.” It’s been one of my best performers in every aspect. Whether or not it has a name is unknown to me.
Not all daylilies are equal. This ruffled semi-evergreen tetraploid is Expensive Taste (Dreams of Heroes x J. T. Davis) (Petit). The flowers are unusually heavy and textured. Unfortunately, the blooms begin to open at night, and if I want to catch them in their full glory, I have to race outside before the coffee pot is on in the morning. It’s been a weak grower for me. I picked this one up as a single fan about 6 years ago. I currently have 5 fans, one of which is flopped over on the ground, and only one of them bloomed for me this year, with a whopping 2 blooms! Should I give it some TLC? *pfft* It’s a daylily! I’ll just say that it’s a special treat if I catch this one in bloom. 😉
This is the diploid version of Lavender Blue Baby (Carpenter). I’ve found the color on this one to be variable based on the temperature. On this cool morning, as it begins to open, the colors are darker. On a hot sunny afternoon, it more resembles the photos one might Google up. I had to pop it out of the ground last year during a deck rebuild, and couldn’t decide on where its new home should be. As a result, it sat out, root ball exposed, through one of the harshest winters this area has seen in nearly a century. I finally replanted it this spring, and it seems completely unphased for the trauma! This one is often referred to in the parentage of many of the modern blue-eyed daylilies.
Like most people, I plant hostas for the assortment of colors and textures of their foliage, and not for the blooms. Sometimes I forget that they are lilies until they pop the blooms up. They are also one of the few plants that do well for me in acidic shady soil. I water them maybe once a week in the summer, and although I know that they would benefit from some occasional feeding, I haven’t quite gotten around to it yet. Maybe next year…
Grrr… Aargh… I hate that slope, or at least, I used to… until I filled it with English lavender and heathers. As for that awkward entryway that sits in dry shade all day, with the exception of one hour of scorching sun in the afternoon, Shasta daisies! I had previously killed so many plants in that spot.
Conifers and grasses do amazingly well in our northwest climate, and as such, I try and mix up the colors and textures. Here, I have thuja, blue juniper, and Mexican hair grass that make up the backbone of this border. While their placement was originally planted somewhat formally, I tend to poke in some perennials and annuals for color and a hint of fragrance, as well as some informality. As the trees and shrubs fill in, I’ll begin to lose the space in this border for the grasses and plants, but for now, I get to enjoy them, with the added bonus that they they also attract birds, bees, and butterflies. I find that if I try and keep things formal looking, every plant flaw and weed jumps out at me, and it becomes too time consuming to maintain the appearance. It works best for me to just let things go as they will, and somewhat naturalize into the border. In this spot, heliotrope and nemesia ‘Opal Innocense’ are in the foreground. I’m not particularly nit-picky about the appearance of annuals, and tend to let them just sprawl and go to seed, instead of deadheading them as so many avid gardeners might otherwise do. I’m often rewarded with seedlings the next spring. One of my absolute favorite perennials is this orange poppy, Papaver ruprifragum ‘Double Tangerine Gem’, which self sows in just the right amount. I don’t find it to be invasive at all, but rather, I might get 3 to 5 seedlings that take off from each mother plant per year. It blooms for me from spring to frost. As far as ground covers go, I’m rather fond of grayish greens, as it’s a color that is uncommon on my plants, shrubs and trees. Oxalis adenophylla is one of my favorites, and although I grow it for the shape and color of the foliage, it is loaded with pink blooms in the spring. Sedum hispanicum minus ‘Purple Form’ also gives me the gray tones I love, and it can be quite variable depending on where it is located. I’ve noticed that it can range from a blue gray to a green gray, depending on the acidity and richness of the soil. It will also shift to having a rosy purple edge with a less plump appearance in full sun with less moisture.