plants en masse

plants en masse

  Mass planting has its place, as evidence by the Hakonechloa shown above in my previous garden. People couldn’t resist petting it when they walked past. It was a such successful grouping, mentioned by Ms. Nestmaker way back when. I actually put that together, and then loved it. Isn’t that the greatest thing about gardening? You plant things, and often get even more spectacular results than imagined. It still surprises me no end, the great things plants do.     And then there’s a sea of Juniper at our new house, stretching far and wide along top the lava-rock wall, that plant selection, maybe should have been cause for reflection. Thusly, I’ve started operation Juniper removal project, a few branches at a time. I know you’re laughing. But I got a couple bids, all in the thousands, so I thought it a worthwhile undertaking. Just think of the improvements I could make with that kind of dough–tell Jabba I don’t have the money with me–the plants I could buy, the compost, the rocks. Pitter patter says my heart. Plus this one-branch-at-a-time business is all I can manage with my current state of shoulder rehab. And besides, it’s an old family tradition. My hummingbird-loving dad, Poppy, was forever cutting yard debris into itty bits to fit it into the bin. (Come to think of it, maybe that’s how he found time away from the thundering herd. He was as only child, yet father to six. My mom was from a big family, so I don’t think she found us quite as alarming.)   So the Juniper caper. I’m still not sure what I’m doing on the removal portion of the program....
Unexpected groundcovers

Unexpected groundcovers

Groundcovers are… The icing on the cake? The bow on the present? The cherry on the sundae? Whatever cliche fits best, they deserve some special attention. Last week I realized how important groundcovers are to pulling together a garden, and I’ve been looking for some good contenders ever since. I’m sure we’ve all seen certain plants get overused as carpets in parking lot beds and in front of new homes as builders’ favorites, and those plants get crossed right off our lists. Lucky for us there is no end to new and unusual plants, which is why we garden, isn’t it? For groundcovers to make the cut on this particular list, they had to meet some basic criteria: – Be super cool or weird – Have a long season of interest – Don’t rely on flowers as the main attraction – Be reasonably easy to grow – Be frost hardy Don’t be something I’ve seen a million times Cotula hispida Where to start? The adorable silvery balls that catch beads of water and sparkle like diamonds? The soft texture you can’t help but run your hands through? The happy yellow globes of non-obnoxious flowers that pop up in summer and hover like tiny UFOs? Swoon. It looks too delicate, but our ever-trusty friends at Xera Plants say it’d do well between pavers. I’ll take one for every inch of sunny well drained soil I have available, please. Echeveria amoena, Baby Echeveria Echeveria is one of those plants I usually have to sigh and envy Californians for. Since we see sempervivums around here so much (and I still love them...