Last August, I built and planted the large raised bed that is intended to provide a sense of seclusion to the serenity garden by separating it from the clothesline area and the driveway (see Closure). I decided to keep the planting simple by including plants from only two genera, Geranium and Amsonia. Along what I think of as the “back edge,” facing the clothesline and driveway, I planted several divisions of G. x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’ (of which I always have a seemingly endless supply). These are fast-growing groundcover plants that will fill in along the edge of the raised bed, spill over the edge, and also spread to fill in among the other plants. In the center of the raised bed, I planted a row of three Amsonia hubrichtii; these should grow to be about 3’ tall and wide, which, when added to the height of the raised bed, will provide an effective visual screen. Along the side of the raised bed facing the serenity garden, I mixed plants of the dwarf Amsonia x ‘Blue Ice’ and G. x oxonianum.
In its first season, I’m very happy with how this new flower bed is looking. The primary focus here will be on foliage; Geranium ‘Biokovo’ has already established an impressive foliage presence along one side, and the other plants are also growing nicely. In late June and early July, this bed is at the height of its bloom, with a mix of soft pinks (Geranium) and blues (Amsonia). Even in year one, this combination is already looking good.
But, wait, what is this tall giant at the front corner of the raised bed, where a low-growing A. x ‘Blue Ice’ should be blooming? Oops! I think this may be a plant of Amsonia tabernaemontana. But what is it doing here? One possibility is that this plant was mislabeled at the nursery. (It does happen.) The other possibility is that it was sitting beside the ‘Blue Ice’ plants on the nursery table, and I failed to notice its different tag when I was busy trying to choose the five healthiest specimens of ‘Blue Ice.’ (Hmm. That’s been known to happen, too .)
Whatever happened, it’s okay; this mistake may turn out to be another instance of serendipity. While this plant clearly doesn’t belong in its current location, I’m impressed with its height. I think I may move it to the center of the raised bed, where it can provide a large architectural presence flanked by the more feathery A. hubrichtii plants. (The plant of A. hubrichtii currently in that location can be moved to another part of the garden). I can then divide the Amsonia x ‘Blue Ice’ at the opposite corner in two and place half of it at this corner, creating the intended symmetry. When fall comes, I will make these and some other needed tweaks to this planting and then expect to be even happier with it next year.