Looking at the top of multiple Wild Iris Flowers Dietes Grandiflora FLower, White, Purple, Orange Yellow Iris,

Always something coming and something going in my new garden

A large variety of plants that provide beauty all through the year keeps things interesting and fulfilling.

It’s been nearly three years since my wife and I moved into our new house, just 2 miles from the nursery. In the first year, we did nothing to the yard, but the second year (2020) I completely tore out the existing landscape, such as it was, and did some major site work. That first fall, I planted some trees and a few shrubs. In 2021, I earnestly got with the program and filled in a lot of space with more shrubs and a boatload of perennials.

The winter of 2021 was brutal and, in the spring of 2022, I had to remove several dead shrubs and a multitude of perennials that were killed either by the very cold winter or by too much water in the soil. Whatever the case, this past spring was an intense period of planting in which I attempted to fill every conceivable bare spot with a plant that would provide me with some visual interest at some time during the year.

As we move into this fall season, I am happy to say that for the most part my new garden is bringing my many hours of enjoyment and pleasure. It is far from being perfect (not that a garden is ever perfect), and is filling in nicely with just a few areas that will need some new plantings come spring (unless I find some treasures this fall). I think what really makes this new garden work for me is that there is a huge variety of plant material that provides beauty all through the year. By “all through the year,” I mean that there is always something either coming into bloom or going out of bloom. I should also clarify that beauty comes not solely from flowers. Remember, the key elements of design are color, form, line and texture. Foliage plays a big role in composition. But generally speaking, if the garden is in a constant state of change, it will keep our interest.

This past spring my wife and I enjoyed a nice display of Siberian and Japanese Iris and a good assortment of both herbaceous Peonies and the newer Itoh Peonies. Of course, there were many clumps of Daffodils, Tulips, Alliums, Crocus, and Snow Drops (I have ordered several hundred more to add to the spring cacophony of color).

In March, an existing Forsythia gave us a blast of gold, and a little later a spicy Rugosa Rose called ‘Terese Bugnet’ provided a nice display of pink. Those shrubs were followed by several clumps of Delphiniums and a token ‘Mrs. Furnival’ Rhododendron. By late May, several David Austin Roses came into bloom along with several ‘Walker’s Low’ Catmint and a drift of ‘Magic Carpet’ Spiraea.

During this time, an assortment of eight different Clematis scampered up their trellises and rapidly formed fat and delicious buds that, along with their foliage, enshrouded the 4-by-4 posts they were attached to. Once the Spirea and the Catmint started to fade, I sheared them back for a second bloom later in the summer. In the meantime, a vast assortment of perennials came into bloom, only to be superseded by some other varieties as the summer rolled on and into the fall, which is where we are now.

There is currently no shortage of color in my garden, due in part to late summer bloomers and the many fall blooming perennials just now coming into bloom that one can find available in garden centers in the month of September. In my opinion, one of the key secrets to an interesting garden is to always have something either coming into bloom or going out bloom. It is that constant change that draws us into our gardens and keeps us coming back for more. As always, stay safe, and keep on gardening!

Steve Smith represents Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville, and can be reached at sunnysidenursery@msn.com

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