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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Tough Spots

Do you have a tough spot in your garden? A place where the plants have to be rugged in order to survive?

In my garden the toughest spot to grow a beautiful display is in the two beds bordering the entrance of our property.

Not only do the plants have to deal with massive tree roots, the beds are higher than the driveway so any soil ammendments I add to them seems to just wash away. As for water, they are being well watered right now as we are going through a very rainy season but come summer, they are on their own.

Our hoses don't reach that far and even though we have an underground sprinkler system, the tree trunks block much of the water out near the street.

The star plant in that location has been Polygonatum odoratum variegatum (Solomon's Seal). I also have Polygonatum humile near that spot and it too has no problem growing well out there.

For some reason I have never been able to capture a photo of the Solomon's Seal that does it justice, it is such a simple, graceful plant. The fact that it will work it's way through the meanest soil and still come up with beautiful foliage, elegant blooms and end the season with buttery yellow fall foliage makes it a star in my book.

I have several stands of Polygonatum out in those two beds. This is where I manage to wiggle out pieces to pot up for sale. It's not an easy job getting the shovel in the ground to get these beauties out. I'm continuously amazed at the power they have to work through those horrendous tree roots.

Along the street is the meanest location. For some reason people seem to think that this is the spot to open their window and throw out their fast food containers. When I first planted this bed in the spring of 2006 with newer Hosta cultivars, I was dismayed to find all the Hosta stolen out of the bed.

After that, I only put it simple green Hosta and small pieces of ferns from my garden. Each year I add impatiens but they don't flourish here. I think I'm better off just adding little pieces of perennials. Today I'll be looking for little pieces of Epimediums I can slip in.

Here's another view, there's a few clumps of violas there, two tiny Dicentra (bleeding hearts) seedlings and one clump of Asarum europeaum (European ginger) doing well. Hardly any sunlight at all reaches this area so I think it will have to be the Epimedium and maybe a tiny piece of Hakonechloa (Japanese Hakone grass). It will have to be a small piecees or I'm afraid they will be plucked out by those nasty plant bandits.

What's the toughest spot in your garden?


Dave@The Home Garden said...

I just picked up some Japanese Forest Grass this year. I can't wait to see how it grows!

Gail said...

The toughest spot is under the trees in the center of the yard...bone dry all summer...even though it has more leaf mulch then you can imagine! Plank thieves! We have kids who drive through the neighborhoods smashing mailboxes. gail

gittan said...

Your garden looks great! Those Polygonatum really are survivors. I've put them in the worst places in my garden and they just keep on growing. Blooming right now and even without the flowers it's a great plant / gittan

Dirt Princess said...

We all have these problem spots don't we...and it seems that for most gardeners it is always tree roots!

Joanne said...

I love the way yo keep working round the problem it does look so good compared with my areas of ground elder.

Beth said...

OK, first of all - who STEALS hostas?!?!? Good grief ...

Defnitely under a tree is the hardest spot. After years of fighting with it, I just planted grass and it eased my frustration!

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Yes, I do believe we all have horrible spots where almost nothing will grow. I love what you've done with yours. Solomon seal is a great plant indeed, and what would we do without ferns?~~Dee

Liz said...

People steal your plants?! Wow, people will do anything for a quick bit of cash.

A lot of my garden is tough, with thick, largely unworked clay it's proving quite a job to get used to.
Because of the clay we have a fair few corners which constantly stay waterlogged...

Oh well, such is life and with time I'm sure I'll find a solution.