The Addition Garden got an update!

The Addition Garden is an “L” shape…if you think backwards and upside down!

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.

This didn’t help matters any in terms of a beautiful garden!

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.

Last year, the Addition Garden did get some tulips, but they really get battered by the west winds. This fall, there were no bulbs left for this poor, neglected space so it will be bleak come spring.

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.

By late May, the seedling perennials had been hardened off and were ready for planting: the airy, needle-leaved blue flax and tough ornamental blue sages.

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 north end of the Addition Garden in late May.

The threadleaf coreopsis was just beginning to bloom, and an edging of annual “Profusion Apricot” zinnias were added.

The poker plants, in top left corner remind me of onion plants!

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.

As usual, annuals took off quickly, the perennials were slow.

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!

Looking south, the “wall” leg of the Addition Garden has some happy rudbeckia, and that disappointing cosmos is finally getting some blooms although they are tiny!

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!

About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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3 Responses to The Addition Garden got an update!

  1. I have a garden that I will be doing over this year. It really had no structure so I wanted some bushes and got those planted this fall. It is small and south facing although it has shade from an Elm that I refuse to take down even though my husband can’t stand it. I think it will be more an annual type garden with a birdbath, pavers and annuals. I have been putting it off, but 2021 is it.


  2. The east side of my house has a similarly forgotten garden. It used to hide quite handily with the windowless side of my neighbor’s house providing little inspiration to spruce things up. However, two trees which sort of hid it from the view of passersby have since fallen (one to wind damage and the other to disease), so now everyone can see it from the street. I has a few nice offerings, but I’m going to spend a little time this winter figuring out how to add a little easy to manage pizzazz. I loved reading about your effort at improving your garden. Here’s hoping our winters are favorable.

    Take care,


  3. Going Batty in Wales says:

    I think every large garden has a place like that. Somewhere not often visited or seen – even the name ‘Addition Garden’ has a sense of ‘afterthought’ or ‘the new bit’ with not such a clear purpose as ‘Potager’ or ‘Cutting garden’. Mine is the area behind the house – gloomy and chilly, it is a connecting space between the carport and the propagating greenhouse with the workshop and woodshed beyond that. Just a corridor! Like you I need to come up with a purpose for it and a plan. Good luck and enjoy the dreaming.


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