Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cherry Corner Succession Planting 2011

October 2011
This garden is located in our front yard at the corner of our property, just feet from a stop sign. It contains a weeping cherry tree (Prunus) that we planted our first spring here in 2008. Hence the name, Cherry Corner garden (see it on our map). The succession planting begins here in March with Anemone blanda 'Blue Shades' and continues through November with Sedum 'Autumn Joy' and the cherry tree in brilliant yellow.

As with most of my plantings, my individuals plants are not especially rare or expensive, but it is their combination and progression that enhances their place in the garden. I would love to someday invest in the $100 lady slippers and the $50 peonies, but my wallet does not stretch that far at present. I think there is joy in knowing that we can take what we are given as gardeners and make it beautiful, even if it is a tiny town lot with common plants.

Anemone blanda 'Blue Shades' with loosestrife shoots (Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander'). This is a great time to divide the latter, though it can be done successfully at anytime. April 25th.
The same plants in waves. This anemone is a great plant in succession because it covers the ground in early spring with foliage, blooms for weeks, and dies back as the other foliage matures and covers it up.
Narcissus 'Pink Charm' adding their apricot tones to the blues in this garden, which repeats the color from the Spirea in the Front Walk garden just down the path.
Narcissus 'Pink Charm' with Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica). April 26th.
Weeping cherry tree blossom at the end of April (the 28th).

Wide view of our Cherry Corner on May 2nd with Muscari armenicum, variegated loosestrife and Narcissus 'Pink Charm'.
Purple leaved Heuchra 'Purple Palace' giving some darker tones to this bed. Also cobalt blue grape hyacinths, Muscari armenicum. Note the daylilies (Hemerocallis) coming up between the clumps of daffodils. This is the best way I know of to rid the garden of that ugly, languishing daff foliage - bury then slowly in daylilies.
Sedum 'Acre' and Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola') coming up with the still blooming anemones. Anemones blanda works well at filling in the early spring gap in the garden with pretty divided foliage and long-lasting flowers. May 10th.
As of May 19th, we had the beginning of the columbine (Aquilegia). Only a plants are mature in this garden, though the Shade Path is full of them.
View from the other direction: looking down the Shade Path and across the Circle Lawn to Cherry Corner.  Purple creeping phlox (P. subulata) on the right side. All of the plants leapt in growth over night. May 19th.
Cherry Corner is one of the most important transitions points in our small garden, connecting the side and front yards. Here you see the trellises around the Circle Lawn on the right. May 24th.
The purple heuchra echo the purple allium from the Front Walk. May 24th.
Besides the tree, Cherry Corner is entirely herbaceous, meaning it dies down to the ground every year. This is the only garden that does not include shrubs or sub-shrubs. This decision was made to leave room for the graceful droop of the cherry (Prunus) tree over time.

Because this garden is a transition area, it is important that it be sympathetic to the adjoining areas throughout the rest of the yard. In the month of June, I appreciate how its mounded foliage does not steal the show from the Shade Path, which is lite up with foxgloves, nor the Front Walk, which is studded with allium and poppies. It is in a supporting role most of this month.

Long view to right of Cherry Corner. June 1st.
Long view to the left.  June 1st.

As the foxgloves are coming out in the Shade Path, a few self-seeded Oriental poppies flower in Cherry Corner. When poppies have finished flowering, or when you are done enjoying their seed heads, they can be cut clean to the ground - foliage and all - with no ill effect. Fresh foliage will emerge to help the garden through late fall.  June 1st.
The poppies on the Front Walk followed just a day later. White in loosestrife echoing the white rhododendron blooms by the porch.
You can just see a few sparse yellow irises in the fray... these are one flower that do not take kindly to being packed in tightly. They prefer an open bed and a good baking by the direct sun. They flowered amazingly in Cherry Corner for the first two years, but have been overrun by Hemerocallis by the third year.
The variegated loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander'), which was just pink shoots in April, has shown its yellow flowers here along with the catmint (Nepeta 'Walker's Low') from the Front Walk. June 14th.
Cherry Corner looking to the Digitalis purpurea on the Shade Path. June 14th.
Cherry Corner to the Front Walk. June 14th.
Mounded forms of variegated loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander'), Heuchra 'Purple Palace' and artemesia, with a little Sedum 'Acre'. June 14th.
The first orange daylilies (Hemerocallis fulva) came into bloom June 26th.
Loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander') still blooming. Yellows also from Sedum 'Acre' and Japanese forest grass. June 26th.
This marks the beginning of Cherry Corner in its hot color phase, which will increasing include reds. It has given our garden a Jekyll-esque progression, from the whites of the backyard, to the pastels of the Shade Path to this hot color vibrancy.

More daylilies this month and the addition of some annuals (now that they are on clearance at the nursery).

This year I decided to stick with the hot color scheme and add red impatients and begonias. They do get a bit dried out here, but are still better than full sun plants since the light is dappled on this side by the weeping cherry tree. July 14th.
Hemerocallis 'Autumn Minaret' has the same wonderful fragrance as lily-of-the-valley.
Pulling out any tattered foliage at this stage helps to keep it looking fresh. July 14th.
View from the opposite sidewalk. You can barely see the orange daylilies in the Front Woodland blooming also. I like to keep my beds tidy at his point, removing the daylily stalks as they finish. July 14th.
Hemerocallis 'Hot Tom', a gift from an area gardener. July 17th.
An unnamed black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) which started blooming July 14th, and is still perfect here on July 30th.
The double orange daylilies are last to bloom in Cherry Corner. July 30th.

Once the daylilies have finished blooming, my suggestion is to take your hedge shears and cut them to the ground. Spare no leaf. Well, maybe just a few if you need the green bulk for your planting. But it pays to be ruthless. New foliage will emerge in just a few weeks and will look infinitely better than unpruned foliage. I still had nice green leaves this year all the way into December!
Here is Cherry Corner after its daylily cutting. August 10th.
Colors are unified across the front, with reds seen in the annuals by the steps and in the cannas of the Front Walk. August 10th.
Loosestrife still looks good, if a bit brown. August 10th.
View to Front Walk. August 10th.

Still just about the same as August, though the Sedum 'Autumn Joy' is shooting up. Not much maintenance this months besides occasional watering in long hot spells.
View to the pink of the Shade Path. September 1st.

Silver foliage, such as artemesia, really lifts the garden this month. Sept 1st.
Sedum starting to pink up. September 8th.
Cherry Corner overseeing the new planting in the curb strip of Sedum 'Acre'. Sept 8th.
Sedum is rosy for September 25th.

Planting still looks vibrant, thanks especially to the new daylily foliage in August.
October 6th.
Sedum 'Autumn Joy' has deepened its tone by October 17th.
Annual impatients and begonias still holding their place. Oct 17th.
The color has shifted and the leaves started to drop as of October 28th.
October 28th.
First frost, October 30th.

Fall of 2011 was a beautiful one, as the cold weather came very gradually, leaving more of the garden to enjoy.
November 2nd.
Deepening color to the weeping cherry tree for November 6th.
November 8th.
Height of fall color. November 8th.
Daylily foliage still fresh and green. November 13th.
View across Cherry Corner to the Front Walk and the Hill garden. November 13th.
November 24th.
To cut or not to cut? That is the question. This year I went with leaving it all lie since I planted a wealth of new bulbs into the ground for next year. (Crocus vernus 'Grand Maitre' and Narcissus 'Tete-a-tete' which will be the same as the Hill Garden for March.) November 24th.

Dying mostly gracefully for the year. I left my final tidy until a mild day in January when a few bulb shoots were already poking out.
Cherry Corner on December 1st, with large sprouting Saccharum vittigera major, also known as large striped candy canes (could not resist this joke twice, sorry!!)
Brave little columbine seedling out in the 12 F weather.  I have been working to increase these in this garden and they are being most obliging. December 11th.
Last seed heads in the low winter light. December 11th.
The joy of good garden structure is enjoyed most in the wintertime.

I am looking forward to starting a month earlier this year in March!

For a succinct four photo post, see Cherry Corner in May, July, September and November 2011.


  1. Terrific succession! Neat to see it pass in this time-laps manner.

  2. Your succession planting is superb, Julie. I love it all and really appreciate that it is planned and not just chance that it looks so good. I agree that Hemerocallis are great for covering dying foliage of bulbs, I grew lots of tulips through mine last year. It is interesting how you manages to change the colour emphasis during the year, I usually try to use the same colours but different plants through the year in each planting zone; I’m going to think how I could vary my colours to make the garden more interesting, I’m always a bit afraid that things will flower out of season slightly and it will look uncoordinated. I lovely this post. Christina

  3. To plant a border so that it looks this good all year round is so difficult, you have certainly succeeded. It was wonderful to see a year in your border with all the plants complementing each other so well and also with a contrast of colour, shape and texture of the foliage.

  4. I do not know this Anemone Blanda, she should be happy at home as in the quince. this is a shady location. Thank you for the lovely photos and ideas. it's soo nice

    1. Francoise,
      Yes, Anemone blanda should be happy in a shady spot. She is a woodland plant. But she does well also in this sunnier spot because the leaves disappear in early summer.

      Thank you for your encouraging comments!

  5. I just love this garden and how it easily moves from season to season with such beauty...I especially love spring!!

  6. This is a great post! Absolutely gorgeous in all the seasons!

  7. Thanks for sharing such a pretty and plentiful bit of your garden. As for buying $100 slipper orchids I always worry that I would kill them and loose aall that money!!

  8. Another great succession post. I think having a smaller garden makes for a better garden because you have to think through everything you do rather than haphazardly throwing plants around. It has certainly paid off in your case.

  9. You have a beautiful garden and it shows so nicely throughout the year. I enjoyed the year long presentation. I too do not have exotic or expensive plants. I have what grows and is happy growing. You are so right about structure in the garden in winter, for without it, winter gardens can be rather bland.And structure come in both hardscape and softscape. It really is about the planning.

  10. Fantastic and what an amazing "supporting role" in June!


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