fall planting and planning

Oh Fine Gardening some days I laugh and wish accomplishing your front cover design were that easy! But deciding what goes where and planting? Takes time. And I swear, in the end, the plants tell me where they want to go.

So minus the bulbs, here is what is getting planted this fall:

2 Swamp Azaleas

2 Rosebay Rhododendrons (AKA Rhododendron maximum – native to Mountains of Appalachia and the Great Smokey Mountains among other places)

1 Baptista “Pink Truffles”

2 Brunnera “Alexander’s Great”

1 Clematis “Avant-garde”

1 Hydrangea “Radiata”

1 Lilac “Bellicent”

1 Hydrangea “Sargentiana” (Big leaf introduced from China in 1908- more of a species Hydrangea)

1 Hydrangea Serrata “Shinonome” (Japanese Mountain Hydrangea)

1 Hydrangea Serrata grower’s choice (Japanese or Korean Mountain Hydrangea)

1 Tradescantia “Charlotte’s Web”

2 Lady’s Mantle “Auslese”

1 Sedum “Plum Dazzled”

1 Daphne “Blafra”

1 Variegated Solomon’s Seal “Fireworks”

1 Hosta “Dream Weaver”

1 Hosta “Hudson Bay”

2 Mountain Laurel “Stoplight”

2 Cut-Leaved grape fern

These plants don’t include anything I might wish to move. One thing that will get moved are some baby ferns that popped up outside their flower bed in the wood chips. I also have more wood chips to put down.

I concentrated a great deal on the front gardens already. I have new beds I started after the Great Forsythia Massacre of 2919.

I hate, yes hate, forsythia. It’s worthless and should be categorized as an invasive. It looks good for maybe a week when it is in bloom and after that is is constant maintenance, unless you ignore it and let it cover everything in its way until someone comes along to deal with it.

I have uncovered great areas for planting by hacking back forsythia that was not pruned for 50 years. I even found a giant and healthy elderberry sambucus in the middle of forsythia this summer! It was crazy and once the elderberry had more light, it burst into bloom and the birds enjoyed the berries!

The areas uncovered and reclaimed from forsythia have been planted with bayberries, mountain laurels, mountain hydrangeas, some hostas I split, painted ferns, and deciduous azaleas. The plants I purchased were smaller, so it will take a couple of years to start to fill in but that’s fine. I like being able to work with smaller plants as they’re much easier to put in.

The former forsythia areas will get some more hydrangeas and where it’s really sunny will be the spot I plant the Lilac “Bellicent”. This lilac while popular in Europe and the U.K., is hard to find in the USA and it’s really pretty!

Lilac “Bellicent”

This fall, a lot of my attention will once again turn to the shade and woodland garden beds. I had left them alone a lot of the summer because the beds had been so wet. But now I have a bed to create. I have had plenty of time to think about it.

This bed will merge with the wild part of my woods as it will start well over the edge of the current shade beds in the back.

Above is pictured an existing bed. Hostas, ferns, deciduous and native azaleas, Japanese maples (Acer “Orange Dream”), witch hazels, Jacob’s Ladder, Mountain Mints, ferns, and even a persimmon. No, the photo does NOT show the entire planting area, just part of it.

Now here is my next garden “canvas”:

This is the area where at the very rear I will plant the two Rosebay Rhododendrons. They get the largest of what I am planting this fall so they will be at the rear of the bed, spread well apart. Next I will plant the swamp azaleas sort of in the middle, with the red mountain laurel to the front. I am also contemplating a couple of additional mountain hydrangeas back here.

In this bed I will also transplant some ostrich ferns and perhaps split off some hostas. It’s final layout and design will come together as I start to dig and plant.

Shade and woodland gardening to the extent I have done it in this garden is still sometimes trial and error. It’s a learning curve meets inspiration. And a great deal of my inspiration comes from shade and woodland gardens in England and local arboretums (Jenkins Arboretum, especially!)

No one I have seen except for myself however, plants their Japanese cast iron lanterns red! That quirk belongs to me. It gives all of the green a fun little pop of color!

Happy Sunday! Go garden!