planning the derecho garden

This is NOT a post about “what do I plant here”, this is a post about “what I intend to plant here.”

This is a pretty big space and this is the site of my Derecho garden. I’m calling it that because if those Derecho winds had not come through I actually wouldn’t have the opportunity to do this yet.

This is about making lemonade out of lemons.

As you can see, this is on the edge of the woods, so it is dappled and shady. If you follow the arrows that’s where the planting area is. I’m going to leave my little path intact.

This bed used to be covered in overgrown forsythia. That stuff is like kudzu if you don’t contain it. When I went back to trim the forsythia last year I realized how much had died underneath so I started pruning. And the more I cut the more I realized it was time for something new in place of essentially 60 year old never pruned forsythia.

Last year when I then unearthed a gorgeous native elderberry from underneath the forsythia I knew I had made the right decision. My arborists helped me cut the forsythia stumps down and removed the two almost the two almost nine foot high piles of pruning. At that point I wasn’t sure what I want to do so I covered the area with wood chips and called it a year.

This spring I noticed I had some planting space. And I needed a home for two small rhododendrons I found in between the giant azaleas up front. How they got there was entirely my fault.

When we first moved in I heeled in these two small rhododendrons until I found a better place for them. Then I forgot about them quite literally. So this spring there they were leggy and reaching for their own space and I realized I needed to move them or I was going to lose them.

So I planted them over in this area with two other rhododendrons and viburnum and a couple of transplanted ferns. Now you really can’t see what I planted in this photo. I am far enough back with the photo that it just looks open.

After I had planted these plants and transplanted the two leggy love deprived rhododendrons, I started to look at the space. I envisioned what it would look like planted up with all sorts of things. But I didn’t think I was going to do it now. I figured I would do it over time.

I remember looking up at the sickly trees that actually broke and came down in those Derecho winds last week, and knew if they continued to fail I was going to have to remove them, and it would really open up the space. But again, I figured that was a couple of years down the road.

Mother Nature had other ideas last week as we all know, and my planting opportunity is well ahead of schedule. So now with the storm debris and the broken trees removed I have a new slightly unexpected pallete to create on.

I am going to be adding a pair of mountain laurel that are the same cultivar as one close by- Otsbo Red. It has these tight red buds that open eventually to pink. And it will give me continuity.

I am also going to add another pair of tandoori viburnum, of which I bought two a few weeks ago and planted in an adjacent area. Then I am going to add a pair of very cool rhododendron and hopefully a pair of crimson azaleas. In between these plants I will dot ferns here and there. And a very special gifted redbud sapling will go closer to the wood’s edge as an understory tree in training.

So right now you don’t see anything, but that’s what I saw when I looked at the space and that is how I’m going to plant it. End it won’t be perfect and 100% manicured it will be a woodland shade bed. It will help bridge the gap between flower beds and the woods.

A lot of people will post in gardening groups that they don’t know what to plant. I challenge you to think about it because somewhere in your subconscious you actually do. And the more interactive you are with your garden space the better the results will be in the happier you will be as a home gardener.

Happy gardening!

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