The Porch Border
My garden project for August and September is to dig and plant the flower beds immediately surrounding my new patio and walkways – most of the entry garden (around the front entrance to the house) and the Lavender Walk. I got the tiny Blues Border done as a break in the middle of the paving stone project. Once I completed the hardscape, I got to work on the first major section of the entry garden, the 18’ x 4’ Porch Border that fills the space between the walkway to the patio and the porch and front deck.
I finished digging this border on Wednesday morning. Because I must amend my sandy soil heavily to make it garden-worthy, the level of the dug flower bed has been raised about eight inches. I tamped it down with the back of my shovel and then left it to settle. On Thursday afternoon, with five days of rain in the weather forecast, I decided to get plants in. My design for this border (shown below) calls for flowers in the pink/lavender range, with a succession of blooms from late spring (hardy geranium and heuchera at the front of the border) to autumn (phlox and New England aster at the back). I’ve also chosen fairly tall plants, from 2’ at the front of the border to 4’ or more at the back, because I want this planting and the one that will go on the other side of the walkway to provide some sense of enclosure for those approaching the front door.
The plants for this border are a combination of newly purchased plants, plants from my holding area, and divisions of plants from elsewhere in the garden. I began by planting my three recently purchased Phlox paniculata plants at the back of the border (‘Bright Eyes’ near the front steps, ‘Robert Poore’ in the center, and ‘Miss Pepper’ near the patio). Then I added two plants of the tall Astilbe thumbergii ‘Moerheim’s Glory’ on either side of the central phlox. This plant is a vigorous grower and has graceful inflorescences of palest lavender. One of these was newly purchased and the other was a division from a plant in my deck border. The large spaces between the astilbe and the phlox plants on either end of the border are for plants of New England aster ‘Alma Potschke’, which I hope to purchase and plant next week.
Once the back-of-the-border plants were in place, I moved to the front. My plan called for four plants of Heuchera ‘Raspberry Regal’. I had an existing plant in my holding area that I thought I could divide in two, but I had been having trouble finding a source for two more plants of this older cultivar. When I dug up my existing plant, however, it conveniently fell apart into four pieces, solving the problem.
My next step was to add daylilies, two groupings of three each. Four of these simply needed to be transplanted from my holding area. The other two needed to be divided from plants in other parts of the garden. The group closest to the front steps (near the middle of the photo) includes ‘Final Touch’ at the front and ‘Lily Munster’ and an unidentified deep pink cultivar behind. The other group includes ‘Protocol’ at the front and ‘Caribbean Pink Sands’ and ‘Mariska’ behind. ‘Protocol’ and ‘Caribbean Pink Sands’ were a bit difficult to find in my holding area. They were not happy residents of that temporary home and were shadows of their former selves. I think ‘Protocol’ will recover; ‘Caribbean Pink Sands’ may need to be replaced next year (easy enough to do with a daylily nursery, Grenier Gardens, just four miles away offering large clumps for $6!).
My final step was to take three divisions of Geranium x oxonianum and two divisions of Tradescantia ‘Pink Chablis’ from elsewhere in my garden and add them to the front of the border. With these plants in place, I gave the whole planting a good watering. The several days of intermittent rain that are forecast for us (and that began last night) should help all these plants get settled in their new homes.
Next week, I will move around the corner from the Porch Border and begin work on the Lavender Walk.