Fools Rush In
In my last post I wrote about the impulse purchase of my new rose, ‘Strike It Rich’. What I didn’t mention is that I went back to that garden center sale twice more that weekend. Surely it would have been wiser to wait until the milder days of September to plant more perennials, but who wants to be wise when immediate gratification is a possibility?
For one thing, I wanted to replace the grasses that had failed in the west parkway bed. For the spot where the dwarf fountain grass Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Little Bunny’ had been unable to establish, I purchased P. alopecuroides ‘Piglet’. Though I had been looking for a somewhat larger grass, the mature ‘Piglet’ is exactly the same size as ‘Little Bunny’ – I just bought bigger plants of ‘Piglet’. This is the kind of thing that happens when I am allowed to wander garden centers unaccompanied by an adult.
At the other end of this raised bed I was going to buy another Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) ‘Shenandoah’ to replace the one that was smothered. However, a sweet talking Little Bluestem ‘Carousel’ (Schizachyrium scoparium) persuaded me to take it home instead. A shorter plant at 30″, it is reported to turn pink, tan, and orange-red in fall.
The remainder of my purchases were for the shady back garden. The majority of these were for the raised island bed. Many plants have failed to thrive in this bed, including Anemone sylvestris, Yellow Foxglove (Digitalis ambigua), and Peach Leaf Bellflower (Campanula persicifolia). Plants that are well established include Bluestar ‘Blue Ice’ (Amsonia tabernaemontana), Short’s Aster (Symphyotrichum shortii), and Brown Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba).
For this bed I made the following buys:
Japanese Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ (Anemone x hybrida). A robust plant once established and an old favorite of mine, it has white autumn flowers with golden centers. Grows 3-4′ tall.
Dwarf Goatsbeard ‘Noble Spirits’ (Aruncus aethusifolius). I’m using this plant to form a stretch of edging along the west side of the bed. This is a compact (about 12’x12″) plant that tolerates dryer soil and shade. Ferny foliage with autumn color and white flower spikes in June and July.
Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis). I bought a bunch of these to create an edging along the east side of the raised bed. For reasons I can’t explain, I have been resistant to planting Hellebores. It may be because I read an off-hand comment by Christopher Lloyd referring to “Hellebore bores”. I have no idea why he said this, but I certainly didn’t want Christopher Lloyd to think I was a bore. Then I realized that Christopher Lloyd has no idea who I am, so what the hell. Plus, they were going for a really good price!
Japanese Forest Grass ‘All Gold’ (Hakonechloa macra). A last edging plant for the back island bed. The center had vast quantities of this plant in pots, which made me wonder if it was in danger of being overdone. However, it’s hard to resist the arching, gold-green leaves.
All these new plants – and it’s still August. Needless to say, I have been busy keeping these guys from drying out. The biggest problem is with the dwarf fountain grass, which has the greatest exposure to direct sun. I got home on Wednesday to find that ‘Piglet’ had been more than halfway to becoming a pig roast. And the temperatures are supposed to hit the 90s (F) starting Sunday.
The plants in back are shaded, but will still need close watching.
Do you ever buy new plants in August, or do you have more sense than I do?