"nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished" - Lao Tzu
When starting a new garden plan it is often hard to picture what the mature landscape will look like in 3-5 years. My first garden took 4 years to establish, so I know this is a 3 year plan at best.
In this section you can see that I left ample space between plants for future growth. I planted ajuga beneath the hostas in a contrasting chocolate tone, again leaving spacing for them to creep. A single astilbe accents one end of the bed and at the other end a hellebore finishes off the bed. In the pot an annual, lotus, adds a splash of color for the season - and not yet visible is a rapid growing annual vine. I chose to plant annuals in this area because we have already planned for a pair of arctic fig trees in the fall.
2. Strawberries: While we did bring the three large strawberry pots from the old house the starts in the bed are new. Clip the runners the first year to ensure a strong root system. Let the runners take off year two.
We have been picking strawberries now for several weeks - we prefer to eat them straight from the bed.
Surprisingly, many of my perennials have sent up new shoots. This could be because they were transplanted in the fall. However, I did fill in a few perennial beds with a tried and true favorite annual - Tithonia. I have had it bloom into October before and it is one of a handful of annuals I seed each year.
4. Odd starts from friends:
Once you have been gardening long enough you find yourself always traveling with a bucket for you never know when a friend will yank something out of the ground and "share."
These spirea starts will fill in nicely to hide the AC lines in a few years . . . and I have other twigs thrust into a pot here and there as well . . .
Two years ago we got native milkweed starts from the Monarch Society. Milkweed has amazingly long roots and I now know from experience that the plant can take up to two years to establish. I was thrilled when the start I brought actually sent up a shoot this year! Often the first year will be all root development and you will not see any above ground activity!
6. New perennials:
I found this "Evan Saul" Echinacea this year and LOVE the color. I actually divided the pot immediately and started it in two different beds. New perennials need lots of space so read tags carefully and allow proper spacing - it may seem sparse the first year, but you will be glad you did by year 3.
7. Ground covers:
Ground covers are terribly frustrating because they can take some time to establish - but favorites like Irish Moss, Red Star Creeper (red creeping Thyme) and others will eventually do their job. Make sure to pay attention to whether or not a specific cover is evergreen and/ or a rapid grower so that you do not have any surprises.
While many of my perennials thrive directly in the lasagna beds with microbial mulch, creepers often require finer planting compost for their shallow root system.