How Not to Design a Garden - But I’m doing it anyways

in #plants3 years ago

I went a bit overboard today and started online plant shopping. I’d had this order saved for weeks from Spring Hill Nursery and when they gave me a $100 off of $200 coupon and flat rate shipping I couldn’t help but jump on it.

I ended up with these beauties:
(Plant photos are from as I don’t get my plants until spring)

The Midnight Marvel Hardy Hibiscus
I’m not always a fan of Red but Red with these dark leaves I’m loving it. Plus having a hardy hibiscus around kinda reminds me of home in California where I didn’t need my hibiscus to be hardy. I’m still not exactly sure where I’m going to put this plant, they say it likes full sun to some shade and grows about 4’-5’ tall and wide. I’m thinking it won’t like full sun here because our sun is so intense so I’ll probably give it partial shade. Like on the West side of the yard along the fence where it’ll get afternoon shade but I can see it all day long out the front window.

The Diane Witch Hazel
Oh my god I finally pulled the trigger on a witch hazel. I have been wanting one of these for years. I got scared off for a while by a very horticulturally savvy neighbor who told me that our soil is not acidic enough for Hamamelis to thrive but I have a solution. I am going to plant it in a giant raised container filled with soil it will love. Might plant a blueberry in there too since they also like acidic soil. The only thing I worry about is a very cold winter and if that’ll cause problems with a potted up plant. I’ll learn this spring if my freshly potted plants come back after this winter… even though it wasn’t that cold. My boxwood and another evergreen are both looking alive and well, so things are looking promising. This shrub/tree gets 8-10 ft high with a 6-8ft spread and is the orange/red blooming variety, giving me some color in February- March… won’t that be refreshing!

Bonfire Euphorbia
Geez I started out saying I’m not usually a fan of red and I’ve already shown you 3 red plants now!? I guess I’m changing my mind! Euphorbia are really cool and hardy plants and this one, well of course it caught my eye. It’s a sun loving perennial and will do really well just about anywhere in my garden. I’m thinking along the main path to the back.

Flamingo Dappled Willow
I saw one of these somewhere else and I decided they’d be perfect along my west fence line. Willow are very easy to propagate if you’re willing to spend the time instead of the money (however these are a patented variety so you’re not ethically supposed to propagate them). The site says they don’t grow super tall, only 3-4 feet but I read somewhere else up to 10 so we’ll see. They do have red stems in the winter much like the red twig dogwood that I have propagating in the sunny kitchen window right now (cuttings from a friend). I don’t have any variegated plants yet in the garden (that means they have a mottled color usually white with green) so I’m excited to lighten up the west side of the yard where the new neighbors are moving in and we aren’t quiet sure if we’ll want more than a wire fence there or not. We’re hoping they’re cool. Oh and on another note about this willow, I’m not sure I can use it for baskets but I’m sure hoping I can. So many pins on willow basket weaving!

Golden Spirit Smoke Tree
I saw this and couldn’t help myself. I’ve been finding myself daydreaming about it actually. I do know where i want to put it. It’ll be along the west fence beside the big elm tree that I can see from my desk outside the front window. That chartreuse color will liven up that pretty boring grey area! 6-8ft tall and 5-6ft wide is a perfectly sized shrub for the spot and if they’re right, it won’t get so big like some smoke trees around here. I actually ordered a purple smoke tree last summer as a bareroot and it never got a leaf so I’m really crossing my fingers on this one! A lot of these plants are bareroot and It’s making me nervous since I haven’t been very successful with them… a survival rate of 1 out of 10 is pretty dismal (I’ll be trying to get Arbor Day to send me more trees to replace the ones that never did a thing.)

Hardy Fern Mix
I think this is a grab bag of ferns so I’m not sure what I’ll end up with but I do know the area in the yard where they’ll go. Right near our well where it’s always damp and there is green grass all year long and shade most of the day because of a grungy strand of sapling elms. I daydream that one day I’ll replace them all with a little aspen grove instead but uprooting that area is going to be epic. Dealing with cutting down all those weedy elms has already been an intense amount of labor only the east side of the yard got done last year and that required an axe, a chainsaw, loppers, a hand saw, and pruners… really epic work.

Honorine Jorbet Japanese Anemone
These have peeked my fancy for a while and this time they made it into my cart. Honestly I only know I thought they looked gorgeous and that’s all I knew about them but reading more, I’m surprised such a delicate looking plant can grow to 40ish inches tall! Again, no clue where this will go in the yard. But I’ll find a good spot, probably in the orchard along with many of the other perennials, or maybe along the side of one of our raised beds yet to be built. (It’ll happen before spring)

Liriope Variegated
I do need to work on my ground over game and this is the beginning of my attempts at that. I’m thinking it’ll do well in along that front east fence where the hibiscus and chartreuse smoke tree may end up. That area is screaming for some ground covers and since i look at it all day, might as well get moving on it. These seem like pretty hardy plants so we’ll see how they do.

Abiqua Drinking Gourd Hosta
Hosta, shade plant… it’ll go… in the shade somewhere. I’m thinking the front garden under the maple tree but the neighbor insisted that is not a good place to put it. But I might do it anyways because that’s kind of who I am. The color of these is unreal don’t you think. And I’ve never thought of myself as a color person and here I am with all these bright plants.

My final plant in the lineup is:

Hardy Carolina Jasmine
When I saw the words hardy and jasmine and couldn’t resist. I used to love the smell of my moms jasmine back home growing up and while this is yellow instead of white I think it’ll be an awesome addition to the yard. Where? Again… I don’t exactly know. Maybe the chicken coop. It’ll help mask their smell. Winner, winner, chicken… we won’t go there for the chicken’s sake.

Anyways that’s the last of my order with Spring Hill Nursery. I will be sure to update you on the quality of the plants I get and how they grow. This is probably not how the “professionals” go about ordering plants for their clients projects but as this is for my own yard and I’m sampling all the different varieties I can get my hands on, I’ll slowly learn what works and what doesn’t. I tend to lean toward the, “if you tell me no, then I have to try,” category. Trying a bunch of plants I don’t regularly see will help me find the ones that people didn’t know could thrive here in the front range of Colorado.
And I’m into that.

Have you ordered any plants yet?! I’m about to go to the ProGreenExpo in Denver so I’m getting amped up for all the plants and horticulturists I’m gonna get to meet. I’ll give you a run down late next week.

Until then dream of plants!


Plants in raised beds deal with freezing better than plants in pots because they don't dry out like frozen dirt in a pot tends to do.

Gonna be building the raised beds this spring and filling them with soil. There will be 13 raised beds with about 624 sqft of space to plant in... gonna be some work moving all the soil into those beds but it’ll be worth it for the long haul.

Well to be truthful straight away, everything I plant or even look after dies. So don’t feel bad about a 1 in 10 ratio. I’ve got to admit I loved reading about all the new plants you’ve ordered, your obvious passion and enthusiasm shines through like a plants sommelier if that’s a thing. Thank you for sharing and I’d love to see pictures in the spring when it’s all in bloom.

Yeah I’m a bit obsessed. What started as being a small little pastime while I healed from a surgery turned into a passion I never thought I’d be into. Will certainly update in the spring when the plants arrive and I get them in the ground but for now its about 8inches of snow outside to deal with instead.

Always the way it’s the unexpected events or opportunities which end up taking over our lives. I look forward to hearing and seeing how this all turns out. Good luck with the snow though, I think winter is finally on it’s way out here in England as when walking the dog I saw my first snowdrop (white Galanthus) which traditionally heralds the spring over here.

So say all my British friends on Twitter! Hope you handled that storm better than some I saw.

Remind me what Zone you are in, please?

Ahhhh, that gives you some leeway. :)) Hope they all do well for you.

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