June 18, 2009

On the Sunny Side

The most challenging flower bed in my garden has a full sun problem. All day long. From sunrise to sunset, year-round, this narrow strip in the cottage garden is in full sun without relief unless it's cloudy or rainy.

This narrow strip squeezes between a gravel path and the stream in the cottage garden. I wanted a succession of blooms here since this is our "front yard" so to speak. In early spring, the edging of cottage pinks is pale pink. During the rest of the year, the dianthus provides soft edging along the gravel path to keep this area from looking too bare during the winter months.

Achillea 'King Edward (zones 3-8) is a low-growing pale yellow ground hugger that blooms in early spring. The six-inch high yarrow is a filler until the daylilies crank up. Edward doesn't like humidity, so he'll be cut back to hide during the summer.

As summer begins, the yellow and white blooms of a random mix of 'Happy Returns' and 'Joan Senior' daylilies take over. Happy blooms before Joan. Both are reblooming varieties and dependable choices.

I grouped three leucanthemum 'Broadway Lights™' at one end. As those shasta daisy clumps mature and need dividing, they will be interspersed among the daylilies. This shasta starts out a pale yellow and eventually becomes white in full sun, so there can be a mix of subtle color differences on the same plant.

An orphaned echinacea 'Harvest Moon' from a group of non-survivors in the outer gardens is planted with the leucanthemum. This lone survivor is glorious right now. I do hope it continues to flourish. (Note: This plant was labeled 'Harvest Moon' but I've seen photos on the web that show a pale orange flower instead of yellow.)

This spring, I added several groups of gaillardia 'Golden Goblin' here and there for the long, hot days of summer. The plants are small seedlings and haven't yet bloomed. I've tried gaillardia labeled "yellow" before - and, they were burgundy and gold. I hope these will bloom as labeled!

As summer heats up, the flower bed will be cooled down a bit with a mix of purple blooms. Zinnias, angelonia, gaillardia 'Grape Sensation' and phlox 'Nicky' are randomly interspersed between the earlier perennials. These are all new additions this year to fill gaps in the border.

Why did I use yellow as the predominant color? There's another angle to this bed.

Looking across the yellow border and the stream, it is backed by the cottage garden mix of magenta, purple and blue. This backdrop of deeper bloom colors gives the narrow yellow border an illusion of depth.

Story and photos by Freda Cameron; Location: Home Garden; April-June 2009
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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