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Creating Plan B

With the Artemisia pontica gone, I need a new plan for a bed with sandy soil, sharp drainage and full sun. More than enough candidates clamor to come from other places in my garden they don't like.

I've carefully measured the space, drawn up a plan balancing the colors, and labeled several empty pots with the plants' names, to use as stand-ins for visualizing the layout. There just isn't room. But I'm having trouble giving any up.

Maybe some will not survive the winter, and the bed will naturally sort itself out. Maybe the low-growers will work as understory for the tall ones. (I love this effect, but it's tricky to find plants that cooperate well.)

None of these need particularly good air circulation, maybe they'll do fine in close quarters... but at the end of the empty place, aster 'Pink Lady', just recovering from mildew, does need air. Already the silver lambs' ears on her other side need pruning.

Maybe I could just pull the lemon thyme out from around the Anthemis tinctoria 'Susanna Mitchell' where she is now, instead of moving her. (Those two are not cooperating!) Maybe I could just use one of the two cool-yellow Scabiosas I planned. But there are three good yearlings that need to come out of the iris bed! Plus I'm crazy about the color; how can I give it up here again if I don't use Susannah?

I'm determined on Perovskia (gray-green foliage, spires of blue). It will echo a catmint already at one end. Beside the Perovskia must go Potentilla 'Miss Willmott', with her flowers in their unusual pink-washed-with-yellow colors I'm just learning to like. She needs poor soil or she gets leggy; Perovskia will take it well too. This is my third try at finding them homes.

Pale-pink Geranium 'Lancastriense' and Dianthus 'Bath's Pink' are outgrowing the pots they've occupied since I accidentally dug them up last fall too late to replant. So many silver-leafed plants melt out, but not this dianthus. It blooms early, but the cranesbill will have a few repeat flowers when Miss Willmott opens.

Alas! the deep red Sweet William 'Nigrascans' which was begging to be moved all year, has succumbed to smothering veronica. However, that inspires me: I can also get rid of two deep magenta rose campion already here — I've plenty elsewhere — and go with a pastel plan.

Photo by C.H. Clark - Tagged empty pots help me plan for plants to move here from elsewhere in my garden.

Text and photo © Copyright 2005 Catherine Holmes Clark

Published in the six Nashoba Publications papers on Friday, 26 August 2005

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