Sunday, April 24, 2011

And so it Begins . . . Jorene's Perennial Gardens-April 2011

This Spring in our zone 5 climate has been typically wet and cool with temperatures usually in the 40s and 50s. The perennials seem to love it because they are growing at a rapid pace with some of them in full bloom already. Below, are photos of a few of my perennial beds and a description of their current states.

This is one of the two budget garden beds that are now approximately 2 years old. They currently contain Itea Virginica Henry shrubs, hostas, liriope, lambs ear, daffodils, and tulips. The Itea Virginica Henry shrubs are almost full size, but they do not have their leaves for the year yet. I removed the ajuga that I planted last year and placed it in the new garden beds on the other side of the gate. I also added approximately 100 tulips and more lamb's ear. The tulips in these beds did the worst out of all the ones I planted around the lodge last fall, mainly because the deer love them and have easy access to them here. These two beds are nearly completely filled and should look pretty nice this summer. Besides the tulips and hostas, all of these plants are deer resistant and require very little care which is essential since they are so far from the lodge.

These are photographs of the two new shade beds that the interns built for me last fall. At approximately 15 ft by 50 feet, they are large and a lot of space to fill. I have planted ajuga, ferns, hostas, astillbes, bleeding heart, azalea, and hydrangeas. Ajuga is one of my all time favorite perennials. It is a wonderful ground cover that grows in any soil type and under any light conditions. If you have any difficult to grow spots-such as the area under a large pine tree-this is the perfect choice. However, it spreads quickly and can become slightly invasive. It has a bluish-purple flower in the early spring.

The daffodils in the friendship garden are naturalizing nicely. Tulips get all the spring time glory, but daffodils are my gardening favorite for a variety of reasons. They are deer resistant. They naturalize. They are low cost or even free. They are one of the first bulbs to bloom in spring. It is great to see them after a long cold winter. To learn more about how this bed came about and my love hate relationship with it, please see our April 2010 perennial blog.

This is the shade garden that I constructed last year. With pink, blue, and white perennials, including columbine, bleeding heart, hydrangea, meadow sweet, lamium dead nettle, and foam flower, as well as a large variety of ferns and hostas, it was beautiful by the end of last summer. Unfortunately, DH just replaced the French drain along the side of the lodge; this required bringing in heavy equipment to dig a huge trench. I am fairly certain some of the perennials did not survive this abuse, so I'm starting over again. Our wonderful interns, Christina and Rhianna, constructed a dry creek bed for me. Additionally, we added a Japanese maple, azaleas and starter hydrangeas to the bed. I probably will not know for at least another month which perennials survived the big dig of Spring 2011 and which ones perished, but hopefully we can get it looking as nice as last year.

My two front porch beds contain boxwoods, day lilies, hostas, and tulips. Currently, the stars of the show are the approximately 200 tulips bulbs we planted in the beds last fall. Even though deer love to eat the tulips nearly as much as I love to look at them, most of the ones here survived and are blooming nicely.

This is my full-sun front perennial bed in which we planted another approximately 200 tulip bulbs last fall. It also contains purple, blue, and white perennials, including spiderwort, blue star, clematis, scabiosa butterfly blue, bearded iris, Japanese iris, lilies, Russian sage, delphinium, coneflower, and ajuga. It also contains a small blue hibiscus that I planted last Spring along with lamb's ear and a wide variety of sempervivum. Along with the beautiful tulips, the ajuga and white violas are currently blooming (see below photos).



  1. Just LOVE those tulips-the combo of pink and yellow is gorgeous.
    You're lucky to have shade. A lot of people consider it a hard to work've got good ideas. I wish I had more trees here-this place "bakes" in the sun.

  2. Sue,
    I love sedums and sempervivums for locations that bake. They're hardy and require little water once established.