The bigger picture: reviewing new beds

I've remade three or four different planting beds this year -- let's call it three main ones with one minor renewal. Each of these beds had become weedy, unmanageable, and just plain ugly. When I worked on those projects I took plenty of photos of course, but one thing I haven't yet done is to show you the end result -- how they fit into this part of the garden as a whole.


This is important to me, as I like planting beds that are tied together in some way visually. I don't like plants to be isolated in the garden, finding them in only one place. That's why I have roses planted throughout instead of a "rose bed", why you can see ornamental grasses from wherever you're standing in my yard, and why bamboo is mixed with lots of other plants everywhere.

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So here's a look at those three main beds and how they fit together and contribute to this half of the garden as a whole.


Above is the latest bed that I remade, and the black-stem taro is really loving it here. You can also see that I've moved a couple of large potted plants here to help fill out the area: Colocasia gigantea with its huge leaves, and one of my favorite bamboos: Phyllostachys dulcis or "Sweetshoot bamboo". I really need to find a place to put this into the ground. I put it into a bigger pot when I moved it so that will give it another year or maybe two, but eventually it's going to need to be planted.


In the center of this photo is the first bed I remade this year, with the Agastache that the bees are enjoying so much (upcoming post on that!), and at the right edge is the cleome patch that they visit so frequently too.

The above photos don't really show enough, so I stitched together a panoramic shot. If you only click on a single image in this post, it should be this one:

Click to view full-size please!

This gives a pretty good look at the south half of my backyard, with the patio (under the pergola) as a good dividing point between the two halves. There's still a good chunk of yard behind me from this vantage point, but right now that's just full of potted bamboos -- it's where my greenhouse is during the winter. There are some nice plants back there though, and I'll take a look at them in another post.

One thing you should notice about each of the beds is that they contain some similar plants. In this case it's elephant ears and/or purple fountain grass. I used a bit more repetition than I normally would, but that's because I have an abundance of elephant ears this year, and I plant what I have access to.


This is the bed that I cleared out and mulched. I'm surprised at how quickly those stepping stones get covered in mulch. Who is doing it? Birds? Raccoons? I don't get it.

I'm also surprised that the Japanese maple has held its color so long this year -- I think it usually greens up by now. Perhaps having the potted bamboo there providing some shade is really helping. That bamboo really needs to get into a bigger pot this year.


Speaking of bamboo, this one is really looking good, and is becoming the focal point that I hoped it would. It looks great when you're sitting on the patio, from the driveway behind it, and as I've just noticed from this part of the yard too. Beautiful!

So that's a little look at the beds that I've recently redone and how they fit together. Hope you liked it!

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Gerhard Bock  – (July 7, 2011 at 11:07 AM)  

I could have gone on looking at photos of your yard for another 30 minutes :-). Just beautiful. I can really tell that you get quite a bit of rain in the summer.

One thing I'll never get used to: the lack of fences between properties. In our part of the country, every urban and suburban property is fenced; even most rural ones are. Fence installers must be starving in the Midwest, South and East!

Christine @ the Gardening Blog  – (July 7, 2011 at 2:02 PM)  

I love your use of bamboo and grasses and I'm now finally considering getting some bamboo into my garden. I do like the repitition too and I try to do that - so things "flow" and don't look isolated. Your garden is looking absolutely stunning! I ♥ your garden :)

HolleyGarden  – (July 7, 2011 at 5:54 PM)  

Very nice. Thanks for the tour. I always wonder how people's gardens are stitched together. I love that you repeat plants for a continuous sense of flow. You've been working hard!

M  – (July 7, 2011 at 8:06 PM)  

How do you water your plants? Did you experience the 2010 Bermuda high drought?

~Gardener on Sherlock Street  – (July 7, 2011 at 8:50 PM)  

It looks good and really lets the eye flow through the garden.

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening!  – (July 8, 2011 at 7:30 AM)  

Gerhard: I think only people with dogs put up fences. I often think that it would be great to have a fence around the yard, but other times I'm glad I don't.

M: We didn't have a drought last year (nor this year), and I water by hand when it needs it, dragging a hose around. Forces me to inspect all plants every once in a while.

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