One of the things I enjoy doing during the winter months is going through the many photos of the gardens taken in past years. Last winter, I noticed that there were very few of the Addition Garden. In looking more carefully at those few, it was obvious that the lack of photos was due to the lack of interesting plants, little color, and lack of form. So, part of last winter’s project was to make a plan to add some new plants there.
The Addition Garden has some challenges. The top part is against the west side of our house. In summer, the brick gets quite hot and reflects heat back against the plants. Lots of plants don’t like that much heat. Secondly, it’s on a slope so moisture seeps away quickly, making it a desert-like place. It’s especially dry over the winter months. Thirdly, it has “builder’s crap” as soil, and I admit I haven’t given this garden much love over the years it’s been there. I started to say “the few years” since it’s been built but I suddenly realized that was 2006, so I have no excuse! Lots of plants have been put in there, but only some survive the harsh conditions: Rue, always tough daylilies, butterflyweed, a threadleaf coreopsis, the ever-durable rudbeckia. Most years, “Blue Bedder” salvia returns as well. I like the blue against the “apricot/gold” brick so decided to add more blue blooms.
And then the retaining wall collapsed and had to be replaced so the entire west section was destroyed. Once the new wall was in, the daylilies were replanted and a few tulip bulbs were added.
The Addition Garden is the forgotten child. It is rare if anyone besides me actually sees it. It tends to get only the leftovers, after all the other gardens have received the best of the annuals. I’ve written before that more perennials are being added to my gardens, because I realize that I won’t be able to grow 4,000 annuals from seed in my dotage. The Addition Garden was a good place to begin making changes. Seeds for some heat tolerant perennials were ordered and seeded. Since garden center shopping was not an option in 2020, some flats of perennial plugs were ordered on-line.
To fill in lots of bare space between slow-growing perennial babies, “Apricot Lemonade” cosmos was added…what a disappointment that was in terms of flowers, but the airy foliage helped cover a lot of bareness below.
The threadleaf coreopsis was just beginning to bloom, and an edging of annual “Profusion Apricot” zinnias were added.
When the perennial plugs arrived, several tritoma (Red Hot poker plants) were added along with a few “Adobe Orange” echinacea. Both of those should be fine in this location. A few leftover seed-grown hollyhocks were added along the house wall to give some vertical interest.
The blue-green rue in the background will be echoed with the blue-green foliage of the blue flax, which you can barely see on the center left edge of the photo. The tritoma’s sword-like foliage will echo the daylilies. The leathery salvia leaves will contrast with the fine, threadleaf coreopsis….at least that’s the vision!
It will be interesting to see what survives the winter, and which of the new perennials begin to bloom first. It will be a surprise if any of the seed-grown ones bloom this year, but maybe some of the plugs will. Still debating what annual to use as “filler” until the perennials shoulder together. Maybe I’ll just scatter some of the volunteer rudbeckia that come up too close to the edge throughout the beds. There’s certainly no rush to decide…there’s a long, long winter for planning!