October 25, 2009

BYOB (A Garden Makeover)

"Bring Your Own Blooms" is my mantra for redesigning the butterfly garden this fall. As much as possible, I am shuffling plants around to utilize what I already grow in order to reduce the cost.

After moving the orange and purple flowers to another new garden area, I had holes to fill in the butterfly garden. Two perennials already in the garden became the focus of the makeover color scheme of burgundy, yellow and blue.

The main players (click the photo to enlarge) that influenced the makeover are:

Coreopsis Big Bang™ 'Redshift'
zones 4-9, full sun, deer resistant, 30-26" x 24-30"

Gaillardia 'Burgundy'
zones 3-9, full sun, deer resistant 24" x 12"

The reds in all of the flowers are on the blue side, showing as burgundy in person.

Other plants that remain are the large green/white miscanthus 'Cosmopolitan', a yellow-blooming hypericum shrub and a mass planting of red salvia greggii.

Another existing perennial is a light yellow yarrow (achillea). The mass planting of yarrow overlaps into a small area with nepeta and verbena bonariensis that, along with crocosmia, serves as a buffer to the adjacent orange and purple bed.

I decided that spires of blue blooms would work well with both the shape and colors of the existing perennials. Of course, the decision was partly based upon suitable plants that I could move from other areas of the garden.

But first, there was a huge problem! There was a monster bronze fennel that was too tall and out of place. Having another mass planting of fennel to serve as host plants for Black Swallowtail caterpillars, I decided to dig up this one. What a surprise! The thick and long roots were undermining the surrounding perennials! This must be the reason for the poor performance near the fennel. I had to do a bit of rearranging of the gaillardia and one coreopsis to save them from the fennel roots.

Once the fennel was removed, I transplanted agastache 'Blue Fortune' to serve as a backdrop to the burgundy gaillardia. Another red salvia greggii was placed next to the miscanthus. Next spring, I will add deep blue flowers using both salvia 'Mystic Spires Blue' and salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'.

There are a few yellow daffodils somewhere in this area! I may sow seeds (since I have them) for red poppies for early spring blooms.

The agastache, salvia, coreopsis, and gaillardia bloom all summer and into fall. They are still in bloom. The agastache required deadheading for re-bloom, but this has resulted in a prettier blue (not as dusty looking as in summer). The yarrow blooms great in early summer, but with our humidity the silver foliage tends to turn black, requiring it to be cut back to the ground. It looks good again by fall, but doesn't re-bloom. I have seeds for pale yellow marigolds to help hide the yarrow foliage in late summer through fall.

I have even more makeovers in the works. I've been very, very busy in the the garden!

Words and photos by Freda Cameron; Home Garden
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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