my perennial gardens

Much to do on a fresh plot of land. I’d love to offer Pinterest worthy photos of my gardens for this blog, but there is much to be accomplished in my gardens, like growth, oh, and more planting, and beds of cedar mulch to lay, and laying sod and even more hardscaping.

What I can offer is what I’ve planted already in my garden plots. As I said, I began planting perennials before I placed artwork on the walls.

In my north facing perennial garden, I have a hosta (that thought there was far too much sun in the greenhouse). Hostas remind me of a previous home’s garden that was neatly trimmed: there they were gigantic and green and happy (they also lived in deep shade). Since there’s still some green leaf, I expect he’ll come back with energy eventually. I planted other shade lovers: astilbes, ferns, hellebores, euonymus, heucheras, lily of the valley, and columbine. I replanted my variegated boxwood from full sun to part sun too, and it is looking healthier after just a month.

In my southwestern courtyard garden, I have a narrow patch that reminds me of the European courtyards we visited in France and Italy. I am planting variegated dogwood shrubs at the edge of the hill, red balloon viburnums, irises, Russian sage, and more lavender, of course. I have planted all types of lavender, Blue Cushion, Provencal, Hidcote, Phenomenal, Grosso. So far, Grosso is huge and robust and therefore, I love it the most. But all lavender gets a favourite perennial award in my books. The deer don’t like it. It smells fabulous. It can be used in Epsom salts and oils. I could even have lavender infused cookies, tea and ice cream if I asked my daughter nicely.


In my southern cottage garden, I planted chives, thyme, oregano, peonies, lavender (of course), hydrangea, yarrow, a pinky winky hydrangea, a giant center of goatsbeard and blue indigo baptisia (the deer love baptisia, so it gets an extra spray of deer deterrent), coneflower, catmint, spirea, lady’s mantle (have you seen these huge reverse umbrella leaves with droplets of rain?). I have Little Lime panicle hydrangea lining the homeschool room windows (gorgeous) and a Gatsby pink oakleaf hydrangea sits at the edge of the mudroom waiting to grow 6 feet tall.

I’m an old fashioned gardener, so I like to include me some lilac. Ami Schott has a blue similar to the exterior of our home. I’ll plant it and other varieties along my greenhouse, and will plant alongside the garden and edge of the driveway when the beds are made. Besides not being on deer menus, it decorates my abode, reminding me that spring has sprung. I have many cuttings generously donated by neighbours, and even more waiting freshly prepared garden beds. The more varieties, the prettier my bouquets.

The planting will likely not end for some time, as this is a newly domesticated property, and I’m always finding one more space to plant. Like the recently installed garden fence: it looks bare without a pollinator garden. If I could foster bees, I would gleefully do so. Can’t have enough bees when you’re planting this many plants. I’ll do my part in making my yard eager to receive them until then though. I have been thrilled, and surprised, to see hummingbirds hover around regularly (as I have no hummingbird feeder at present). Bring on the pollinators! There are plans for Joe-Pye Weed, bee balm, rudbekia, German chamomile, sunflowers, borage, hollyhocks, butterfly weed, anise hyssop, phlox, calendula, sweet alyssum, zinnia, nasturtiums and poppies.


None of these perennial beds is fully grown yet, and frankly, not worthy of a pretty blog pic. In fact, they’ve only been added since last summer and I’m still planting, but I expect in a year or two, they will be full and floriferous (yes, I am using that word again).

And that’s just the shrubs!

By fall, we will pay an arborist to remove some very tall spruce, Douglas fir, and cedar trees. Our house will live in constant fear if we do not. Then next spring I will continue to plant an understory of deciduous trees.

I have three specimen trees planted in a swath of coniferous forest. This spring, I learned that cornus rubra, a beautiful red flowering dogwood tree, doesn’t like nearly as much sun as I am giving him. The dogwood will move to the north aspect of our yard. The acer palmatum hogyoku (a Japanese maple) is surviving, though some leaves are browning, so he clearly has more sun than he was expecting.  But the camellia stewartia is greening and growing tall, loving the understory along the river side north of our home. It’s beautiful white camellia flowers will be a spring welcome out my dining room windows next spring.

A magical place, my gardens…

“All the names I know from nurse:
Gardener’s garters, Shepherd’s purse,
Bachelor’s buttons, Lady’s smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock.

Fairy places, fairy things,
Fairy woods where the wild bee wings,
Tiny trees for tiny dames–
These must all be fairy names!

Tiny woods below whose boughs
Shady fairies weave a house;
Tiny tree-tops, rose or thyme,
Where the braver fairies climb!

Fair are grown-up people’s trees,
But the fairest woods are these;
Where, if I were not so tall,
I should live for good and all.”

Robert Louis Stevenson