Making the Best of a Forgotten SpaceTraditional Landscape, Philadelphia
As the summer heats up the perennials explode. And typically the only ones who would notice in this area of the property are the hummingbirds and butterflies...
What Houzz contributors are saying:
3. Choose long-blooming perennials. If you’re cruising the nursery for plants to transition the garden from spring to summer, take a look at the perennials. Compared to annuals (plants that only bloom a single season and then need to be replaced), perennials are a lot less work. Plus, many start coming into their own just as spring flowers start to look tired — giving beds an instant refresh. For long-blooming perennials, consider some of the plants pictured in the border shown here, such as ‘Becky’ shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Becky’, zones 5 to 9), ‘White Cloud’ calamint (Calamintha nepetoides ‘White Cloud’, zones 5 to 9) and ‘Rozanne’ cranesbill (Geranium ‘Rozanne’, zones 4 to 9). Note: These will be perennials in most climates, but not all.
4. Leave the soil alone. In vegetable beds, it’s a great idea to amend the soil to suit whatever goodies you’ll be growing, matching soil nutrients to plants. But in most gardens, it’s best to use what you have, matching plants to the native conditions. Plus, tilling soil destroys the structure and a lot of beneficial life. (It’s said there are more life forms in a tablespoon of soil than there are people in the world.) In addition, avoid putting “good” soil in a planting hole — all that does is encourage the plant to stay put and languish. And you’ll just create a bowl, so rain will drown the plant (this is especially the case with clay soils come spring and fall).
2. Vary heights. Put stuff wherever you want, provided it’s in the proper soil and light. I’d like to see a blend of short plants in front and tall plants in back — let’s mix it up, create more visual interest and a more welcoming habitat for insects and birds; in this way we can hit two birds with one stone when we design our gardens. (Please don’t throw stones at birds.) Put tall plants up front — be a rebel!
A wide variety of heights gives the composition maximum interest; the higher ground above the retaining wall as well as low, medium and tall perennials and shrubs create undulating waves of color. These include Cotinus coggygria, Buddleia davidii ‘Lochinch', Calamintha nepetoides ‘White Cloud’, Geranium ‘Rozanne', Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Becky' and Rudbeckia fulgida. Many of them attract butterflies and hummingbirds.