|Learning the Hard Way
Once again Im starting over with the most difficult spot in my garden. Its bare dirt. I left it that way a few weeks, so any roots still there sent up new shoots; then I dug them up (three ruellias).
Three feet deep and six feet long, this bed runs along the right side of our L-shaped front porch. It gets almost full sun, has sandy soil, and can get rather dry. So I first tried euonymus there. But when it rains, the porch, which has no gutter, dumps runoff into the bed. Most of the euonymus rotted away, except for a few rags in back of the drip line. It needs plants which are versatile about water ... and ideally, that are tough enough to take a little pounding from it.
In addition, they must not reach up past the foundation to the wooden supporting beams under the porch. I have enough termite highways all around the house from tall plants too close; Im hoping to move them all ... and determined not to plant any more. The bed along the other side of the L is full of them; I didnt know about the problem when I planted there, ten years ago. Id like to expand the depth of the bed and move them outward.
But now, I just want to fill the bare side. The ruellias thrived there, along with some wild asters. But even the ruellia got too tall, and I couldnt keep the three-foot asters far enough out from the house.
Some low-growing sedum, perhaps: I have a lot of S. Spurium John Creech I could move; its easy, grows thick and has brilliant magenta-pink flowers ... maybe a bit too brilliant for my taste. Hmm, I actually have several low-growing sedums in various places I could bring together and plant in drifts of their different colors.... Maybe with them some sempervivums, which hate wet feet in winter: does the bed drain well enough?
Finally, Im sure Vinca minor would do fine here. A dwarf variety, Miss Jekyll, thrives at the other end of the same bed. It makes a thick mat, three or four inches high, with three-quarter-inch, bright evergreen leaves, and little white flowers in May. It would unify the bed, make a nice expanse. Its easy. But its a bit boring ... and very aggressive, no trying a little of that and a little of something else. Its all or nothing.
© 2004 Catherine Holmes Clark