garden diary 16 april 2016: the “spring garden” gets a plan and a layout, and some of the boxes get emptied


another bit of inspiration from my go-to source, perennial combinations by c. colston burrell.  i fell in love with the combination of native woodlanders and more exotic beauties, like daffodils and pulmonarias and hellebores.

i was also struck by this combination (also from the book) and it became my ‘mood board’ photo:


i love foamflowers (tiarella) and developed a weird obsession with primula kisoana after reading about it and discovering that it is hard to find, because of course i did. i did track down some seeds from Plant World Seeds in the UK, and i have winter sowed them (no sprouts yet) and i found them for sale at both my local catskill native nursery and by mail-order from edelweiss perennials.

in one of my (many) plant orders from this spring, i indulged in some special selections just for this combination, including a hybrid of heuchera and tiarella called “heucherella”. this one, ‘cracked ice’, has gorgeous purple-blue foliage that went really well with the color scheme i am going for under my birch trees:  yellow, white, blue, and pale pink.  to that end, i eschewed a classic bleeding heart and went with a pale white selection called ‘amore rose’.  i think it will blend well into a design i am working on behind the birch trees as well.

the big score (and sigh of relief) on this design was the virginia bluebells, which i ordered bare-root earlier in march and which came, like, the one weekend all winter that it was cold.  i was convinced that i had not properly potted the roots, but as i dug them out this weekend i saw them emerging just the way they are meant to.  i guess mother nature really has it under control – it’s us who mucks it up!

i also filled in and added to the planned combo with some new ideas:  crested iris (iris cristata), siberian iris, bloodroot.  here’s a kind of weird shot of the area with the plantings laid out for digging in:


on the gray area, really close to the roots of the trees, i plan to put a mixture of ferns (probably christmas fern / Polystichum acrostichoides) and a sedge (probably pennsylvania sedge) and if i can get it, four-leaf milkweed (asclepias quadrifolia). all of these guys can take the dryness that close to the roots.