First Impressions

As you approach our house by car or on foot, this small bed is the first thing you really see. It's right next to the driveway, so it's important that it looks great and gives a good first impression. I think I've finally given it some impact:


This bed has changed quite a bit over the years. When I first moved in there was a birch tree here, which died from borers of some sort (like all birches in our neighborhood).


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Next it became an annual planting bed. That was fine, but didn't really have the "wow" factor. A few years ago we planted this great 'Shaina' Japanese Maple:


It did have the wow factor I wanted, and was a beautiful tree. The problem is, it died suddenly in the summer of 2008. One day fine, a day or two later, all leaves brown. No idea what happened, but I hated losing that tree.

I replaced it with a pot of bamboo:


This had quite a bit of promise, as the plant filled in over the summer:


Since it was an exceptionally cold-hardy type of bamboo (Phyllostachys bissetii), I decided to see how it would fare left in that location, unprotected over the winter. It may have done fine in a normal winter, but we had an exceptionally harsh one, and the plant did not come through in good shape:


Only one small culm has finally started leafing out:


The others are pretty much dead I think.


This plant did not put up any new shoots this spring, so I'll most likely just dig it up and reuse the pot.

I think the elephant ears look great here, and definitely have an impact. I added a couple of small pots of bamboo, and I may add more pots later. (I moved one of the larger elephant ears from the backyard.)


That's Sasa tsuboiana on the left, and Indocalamus tessellatus on the right. The bamboos are actually still in their plastic nursery pots, which have been placed in the decorative pots. That lets me change the plants out if I don't like how they look. Besides, the pot on the right is the wrong shape (it narrows at the top), and the bamboo rhizomes would lock the plant into the pot making it almost impossible to remove. So in the nursery pots they stay!

It's taken several years, but I think I'm finally happy with this bed. It can always use something else, and like all garden beds will continue to evolve over time, but for now I like it!


Lastly, it's been a couple of weeks but finally today:

MoleMeter 2010 mole capture count: 09

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