Friday, April 17, 2009

Corner garden additions

Last week I wrote about adding some plants to our corner garden.  Over the last couple of weeks we have carefully selected some plants and added them in.  Our main criteria are:

  • Colorful,

  • Not weedy-looking,

  • Season-long interest,

  • Emphasis on Perennials or self-seeding Annuals.

The corner garden in it's current state. It looks much fuller than it will in just a couple of weeks, when the Daffodil and Tulip stems die back.  Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) in the foreground.
We did purchase some annuals that do not self-seed, but for the most part we chose plants that adhered to these criteria.

African Daisy - Osteospermum hybrid 'Orange Symphony' before planting in corner garden.
African Daisies were the annuals of choice for this year.  First we spotted the 'Orange Symphony' variety with its purple centers.  We bought four of these plants, but two of them quickly died, before we were able to put them in the ground.  Thankfully, Home Depot has a 1 year warranty on all of their plants.  We took back the two dead plants and replaced them with two of the purple variety 'Soprano Light Purple.'  These bright, annual flowers are grown by Proven Winners, that has produced creamy yellow, white, purple and orange flowers, all with purple centers.  You can see the color varieties grown by Proven Winners here.

African Daisy - Osteospermum 'Soprano Light Purple' planted in the corner garden. The green clover shaped leaves in the top left corner and the purple clover shaped leaves in the top center are both Oxalis. Tulip, Daffodil, Daylily and Violet foliage are also in this picture.
A couple of days after planting the purple African Daisies (Osteospermums), we found some more plants to add to our corner garden, including a wonderful little silvery shrub from the genus Elaeagnus (possibly Elaeagnus pungens).  I planted the Elaeagnus in the corner and moved the Oxalis to the foreground of the bush to provide good contrast with the silver foliage.  The purple Oxalis has actually started blooming since I moved them.  Their blooms are light pink, but look white in the picture below, due to some extra reflection.  Notice that the purple African Daisies are also much lighter looking in this picture.

Silver shrub is an Elaeagnus (pungens?). The white blooms in front of the Elaeagnus are from the purple Oxalis lying in front of it.
I really like the silvery leaves of this little shrub.  It turns out that it is from the same genus as the Russian Olive Trees that I admired last May in Boulder, Colorado.  I wrote a little bit about them on my Desert Island Challenge post.  This shrub will provide great contrast to the purple foliage of the Oxalis planted in front of it and the cranberry red Barberry bush planted on the opposite side of the corner garden.

Rose glow Barberry bush (Berberis thunbergii v. atropurpurea), planted 2 years ago
The Barberry bush is not new.  We planted it two years ago and it is one of my favorite outdoor plantings.  The foliage is just stunning, with such a vivid color.  It immediately draws your attention when you look at the garden, even with other plants in bloom.  I highly recommend this bush.

Another new addition - Euphorbia longifolia 'Excalibur'
I have just recently become aware of a group of Euphorbias that can be planted as perennial shrubs in temperate climates.  Most people know of a couple of species of Euphorbias - The Poinsettia (E. pulcherrima) and The Crown of Thorns (E. milii) - but would be surprised to find that this plant is from the same genus.  I am preparing a much more long-winded post on Euphorbias that I will probably have ready in the next 2 weeks.  The tag of this Euphorbia says "Abundant flower heads emerge red and turn a brilliant yellow, highlighting the mounded blue-green foliage.  A superb accent plant for the mixed border or rock garden."  So far we're just enjoying the blue-green foliage, which is a nice addition to our garden.

Pink creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) in the foreground with contrasting foliage colors in background.
We planted several pots of creeping Phlox in our corner garden a couple of years ago, but for some reason they had trouble getting established.  It was probably due to a hot dry spell when we didn't stay on top of watering.  Only one of our Phlox survived from year's past - a pink one.  My wife's favorite Phlox are the blueish purple color.  So this year we bought three really healthy purple Phlox plants and mixed them into our corner garden.  We will stay on top of watering these, and hopefully have more Phlox every year.

Newly planted Purple creeping Phlox (P. subulata) with Oxalis in bloom (small pink blooms) and small Rudbeckia plants.
Over a month ago I raved about some Rudbeckias called R. hirta 'Moreno.'  Well, I ordered three of these plants.  They aren't much to look at right now (see the little rosette just to the right of the Phlox above?), but hopefully they will mature nicely this year and then bloom next year.  If I take extra special care with them for two seasons, I hope that they will start to self-seed and I will have many more in the future.  I also ordered some seeds of the 'Cherry Brand' Rudbeckias, which are solid red.  I am going to start these seeds in the next week.

White Cyclamen planted in more open space on the right side of the garden.
Cyclamen are one of my favorite plants.  I couldn't resist getting a couple of these plants to add to the corner garden.  With amazing silver foliage and really unique blooms that look upside down, this just seems like the perfect plant.  Notice the difference in variegation of the leaves on the two plants I purchased.

White Cyclamen planted in front of green Oxalis.
I just realized there are Oxalis in 8 of the 11 pictures in this post!  We were given two varieties of Oxalis by a coworker of my wife a couple of years ago.  One is a green leaf variety with bright pink blooms.  The other is a purple leaf variety with a light pink bloom.  They have multiplied each year and are doing really well in our garden.  We will probably have to thin them out soon, assuming they continue to multiply at the same rate.

Another new perennial that we planted is a Mexican Petunia (Ruellia brittoniana).  This plant has long, strappy leaves that are deep green and produces pink-purple blooms that resemble a Petunia.  We planted this plant on the nearly-empty top tier of the corner garden.

Mexican Petunia (Ruellia brittoniana 'Katie's Pink') planted on top tier of corner garden.  Green Oxalis in the foreground.
I also transplanted some of our Irises to the top tier.  I'm not sure why we have neglected to plant more back there, but now it is getting hard to get back there to do any planting, since our flowerbed is filling out.

What do you think of the new additions?


  1. Oh, it looks good! I didn't realize you had a Japanese Maple. I love them and I remember looking for one for a couple of years after admiring them in yards around town....then finally finding a small one that was affordable. Yours is such a great size and you will love watching it grow as they come up with such unique shapes. Ours is a bit crazy now as it lost one of its bigger limbs to the icestorm. Your flower choices are very nice, too.

  2. Some nice choices going on there in your corner. The pinks with a jolt of orange should be an interesting color mix as the season progresses. For me, living in San Diego, even the osteospermums would fall in your category of a plant being a perennial. Since we hardly freeze, they bloom right through winter. I have a patch of the dark purple that's still going strong. And I like the oxalis, too. We had some that came with the house, and they've hung in there, providing flowers and foliage all through the cooler, moister parts of the year.

  3. [...] it with shade items.  Then the ice storm hit and removed the shade trees for us, so we had to plant some full sun and heat tolerant plants.  Every year some things come back and others don’t.  So we fill in the spaces with new [...]