Tag Archives: peony bud

DIY Landscape Part 6: Plants

Cont from Part 5.

Now for my favorite part-the plants! I LOVE flowing plants! The boxwood were possible all I thought I could take of non-flowering plants. And though I had a “basic” landscape design, I didn’t know exactly which plants I wanted to use. I had thought out some of my plant selections, like the Iris and the Peonies, but not all of them. And like most people, I am susceptible to the catching disease of impulse plant buying-and found out many of the reasons why a well thought out garden is preferable to a garden driven by impulse.

I had purchased some Peony roots, Gladiolus corms,  and some packets of seed for Lupine, Shasta Daisy, Forget me nots, and Sunflower (for the kids to have fun with). I was in a bit of a hurry for flowers and foliage, so these went in while the path and yard were still “in progress”.


The Peonies probably took the longest to grow, even though I planted them first. I dug holes in the grass and surrounded them with stones so I would know where they were. They went in the first week of April, and I just can’t remember when the buds started to emerge, but I was also in a hurry since my neighbor mowed down one of the emerging peonies. This was what inspired the brick border between the lawns, something that became a priority at the time.

Here is the “damaged” Peony at the end of May, sending up its second shoot, with pictures of the other two that were planted at the same time. Obviously they had more time to develop.


And here are the same Peonies almost a year after initial planting (the damaged peony is reflected in the last two pictures).


I planted the glads behind the boxwood. It seemed a good idea at the time-they were supported by the house, they had a vertical space to enhance-and for the most part, they did bloom. But I discovered the first of my many impulse buying errors-not all “perennials” are perennials in my zone. Glads happen to behave like an annual. The frost and winter moisture kills them. If you want them again the next year, they must be “lifted” in the fall. I didn’t do that. I want a low maintenance garden. Lifting corms in the fall is anything but.


The Lupine didn’t make it more than a few months. Im not sure what I did wrong, because they germinated fine, but I decided that if they needed more maintenance than I could give them, they weren’t appropriate for the spot, so I won’t be trying them again.


The same went for the hollyhocks and the astilbe, both of which I planted bare-root.

I also planted seeds for forget me knots and shasta daisy. The forget me knots did great, but I think I accidentally pulled up the shasta daisy (a common theme with me-everything looks like a weed until it flowers).


Here are the baby alyssum that that were spot planted. They worked splendidly as erosion control, and I will probably plant them again this year if they didn’t self-seed.


At a local greenhouse, I purchased 3 containers of Hens and chicks (mainly to go between the borderstones for the path). I also received some for free from another neighbor a few blocks. He had advertised at the local nursery that his “little poultry farm” was “growing too large”. He sent me home with a large cast iron pot smack full of them.


Another impulse buy-Peruvian Daffodil. I have a sneaking suspicion these are also annuals in this zone.

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The rains were eroding my path. After some research, and some investigation into my slope, I realized not only did I need a low, creeping filler plant between the pavers, but I would most likely need two different kinds. One plant, at the top part of the path on either side, needed to be tread resistant, and tolerant of well drained and dry soils. The other would also need to be tread resistant, but tolerant of wet soils since it was in the valley of the slope.

Hence the creeping thyme at the top . . . (the first photo is from last year, the last three were taken a few days ago)

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. . . and some creeping Jenny at the bottom of the path. The creeping jenny spread fast and far in very little time. I have split it up and moved it to many different locations in the yard. I love how quickly it grows, and am not deterred in the least by its potential to take over everything.


My order for Hydrangea Ruby slippers hasn’t arrived yet, but it should be here in April. I also have some purple sage plants (between all the Peonies and the future hydrangea plant) . . . they are starting to come up . . .


Tulip and crocus . . .


Glory of the snow . . .

IMG_2349. . . and Agastache Raspberry summer (to replace the Hollyhocks).

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Behind the Agastache I planted some impulsively purchased purple globe allium. These suckers may be too big for that small patch (they now have a 5” circumference), but I am still excited to see how they look.

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I purchased some Sunbeam Coreopsis last year, having been informed that they were a perennial and would come back. This year, in spite of my doubts, I found that there did appear to be tender buds beneath the plant, covered in leaf mulch. I planted them in front of the future hydrangea site both to “heel in” while I prepare their future location, but also to help with erosion in that site.


I had some lobelia, but I think I killed it. The greenhouse informed me it should do well toward the bottom of a slope where there was a lot of moisture, but I am not so sure now. They died out pretty quickly. I suspect root rot. I’ll keep an eye out for growth from the area where I planted them, but I have very little hope.

Cont to Part 7.


DIY Landscape Part 5: Stone path

Continued from Part 4.

The worst part of my landscape plan was the stone path. I had plenty of stones to work with (for the most part-a few flat stones had been gifted to me), and was daily digging up more. But with the clay, pebble filled soil, it was a long and arduous process. I chose to remove the grass in stages-a feet of grass removal followed by instant paver placement, then repeat as time allowed. This was to decrease the soil erosion that had already begun to take place. I also sprinkled in a few alyssum seeds hoping the root system would anchor the slope a bit.

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At the midway point I decided I needed to raise up the magnolia garden area where the magnolia was planted. I didn’t want to keep those hideous scalloped cement borders, and I wanted to plant a few iris and daffodils at the base of the tree so they could establish themselves while the tree was doing the same.


Check out those Iris! They are the same 1-2” specimens I dug up back in March! Only a few of them flowered last year, but I expect that has to do with the small rhizomes. They will catch up as the rhizome matures to a nice size.

The garden border to the sides of the path was also being built as the pavers went in. Between the border stones I placed some Hens and chicks, and the stone pathway received a small dose of creeping thyme seeds that I had started indoors, and some creeping jenny at the base of the curve.

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I started placing these pavers sometime in April, and placed the last one sometime in October. Between inclement weather, lack of stones (this was often temporary), and life, it took much longer to create this pathway than I had anticipated. But don’t you think it looks nice? Not great, I know, but I am really loving it!

And since I had two downspouts, I created a pebblestone dry creek using small pebbles from my patio area to divert the drainage without causing further erosion. It also serves as a nice barrier between the lawnmower and the natural stones. No need to use the weed whacker here!

These last pictures are from this year. You can see that the daffodils have just taken off with their spacious new homes. And though I didn’t get a light snow of blooms as I had hoped, I feel that, too, is due to small bulbs. They just haven’t had time yet to store enough energy to flower. All in good time.

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Next time I’ll discuss the plants I chose, those that worked, and those that didn’t.

Cont in Part 6.