June 6, 2009 015 (2)There was an area of the Fairegarden that was not meeting expectations. Although for the month of September, it is the most glorious and admired section, the rest of the year is pretty ho hum.June 1, 2009 SF1 049 (2)Ideas to improve this bed by enlarging it and adding plants with seasonal interest besides fall have been the goal. Last fall Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ and A. sphaerocephalon were added in between the Muhlenbergia capillaris clumps. White and pink Astilbes were planted along the lawn edge also. While this was a good start, after seeing the Lurie Garden at the recent Chicago Spring Fling, shown above, the light bulb came on in the cinnaberry topped thinker. The Aha moment, so to speak. At the Lurie were rivers of blue composed of four kinds of Salvia x sylvestris, S. ‘Wesuwe’, S. ‘Rugen’, S. ‘Blue Hill’ and S. ‘May Night’. We already grow May Night and Blue Hill, along with many other Salvias, including blue hued S. ‘Caradonna’. The opening photo is a close up of May Night in our garden.June 6, 2009 004 (2)The plan had formed and the work began June 5, 2009. First the lawn edging of Liriope was dug up and laid in place to form the new outer edge of the bed. Newspapers from the recycle bin were repurposed to smother the grass and clover that was growing poorly and well respectively in that area. Boards leftover from the garage deck redo, thanks Gardoctor, were placed over the paper to hold it in place overnight after being hosed down. Fifteen bags of soil conditioner were purchased at the big box and placed along the edge by The Financier, thanks for the muscle, hon.June 6, 2009 009 (2)The next morning was cloudy and cool, perfect weather to move plants. Ten bags of mulch did the trick. The three Caryopteris ‘Summer Sorbet’ shrubs were respaced from the top corner to one at the lowest point and the other two midway and staggered. These two will be a divider between the Muhlenbergia capillaris that was spread to the new width of the bed in the lower section and the other plantings. In between the transplanted muhly are seedlings of Verbena bonariensis taken from the gravel path. This plant grows tall and spindly and attracts butterflies as it blooms spring through fall. It should be tall enough to show through the blooming muhly. White Astilbe arendsii winds down and in front of the middle Caryopteris. The pink Astilbe was relocated to the heather bed. Among the Astilbe are pieces of Amsonia hubrichtii, another plant used at The Lurie that we already had. Added: Also planted among the white Astilbe are seedling Longifolium Asiatic Lilies ‘Royal Fantasy’. June 6, 2009 011 (2)In the middle section, above the Astilbes are one piece of Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’, purchased last year for the daylily hill redo. Click here to read that story. We hope to spread this plant about more, but one piece is all that could be spared for now. Looking very sad and droopy are white Gaura lindheimeri. These object to being torn apart and transplanted but usually will perk up after a few days and diligent watering as we hope will happen to all of these plants taken from elsewhere on the property and torn to bits. The itty bitty teeny weeny seedlings are ironweed babies, Vernonia gigantea? that were discovered at the end of the knot garden just this week. We have been collecting seeds and scattering them from our one plant that was already growing here when we bought the property for years. Either I only now know what the babies look like or it has taken all these years for germination. Let us hope for a few survivors. These will someday be huge plants covered in dark purple blooms at the same time the muhly blooms if the garden fairies are willing. The criteria was tall and fall blooming, Vernonia should fill the bill. In the left portion of the picture are pieces of S. ‘May Night’ with seed heads still attached along with S. ‘Blue Hill’ and S. ‘Caradonna’. The plan is to sprinkle the seeds about the bed to help fill in. June 6, 2009 013 (2)In this view from the gravel path that goes from the driveway to the back gardens, the pieces of Sedum ‘Matrona’ are on the right along the Liriope edge. Amongst the sedum are clumps of Camassia quamash bulbs that were taken from under the large pine trees. On the left are annual Dianthus chinensis with dark red flowers. These are perennial here for a few seasons and often self sow. An orange lantana, coleus, alyssum, euphorbia and who knows what else is in the far corner. These had been planted before the redo idea was formed and may or may not be moved elsewhere. Are you wondering what is planned for the space at the very front?June 1, 2009 SF1 055 (2)The plant that won our hearts at The Lurie, Prairie Smoke, Geum Triflorum will be placed in the front row. Seven plants were ordered from High Country Gardens and should be shipped next week. We do grow several types of Geums here in another area, so it is with crossed fingers and toes that this one will find the conditions in the new bed to its liking.June 6, 2009 022 (2) Here is the after shot of the newly planted bed. This photo will become the before shot when everything fills in. That is the plan anyway. As with most garden plans, there will have to be editing and tweaking as the plants sometimes have different ideas than the gardener. It may will take years for the vision to be realized…September 23,a 2008 015 (2)…Except for the muhly grass, it has already surpassed its assignment. This photo was taken last September, 2008. While we wait for the rest of the plantings to play catch up, the pink cotton candy poufs should keep us distracted.

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42 Responses to Faireluriegarden-Someday

  1. mothernaturesgarden says:

    You are a woman of action already incorporating a new idea into your own garden. Kudos!

    Hi Donna, thanks. Impulsive plus hyperactive equals woman of action! HA

  2. ryublade says:

    Wow, great job on the redo of the flowerbed. Although I’m not too into grass but that muhly grass has changed my mind. It’s so beautiful!

    Thanks. Ornamental grasses are amazing in the garden. Finding the right one for your area and needs is the key. As pretty as it is, the muhly grass is not even the favorite here. That would be Nasella tenuissima, Mexican feather grass with four seasons of beauty.

  3. Benjamin says:

    Looking nice. Will you come over and help me move some things tomorrow? I hate moving big, established stuff, but I have no choice, aesthetically speaking. I’ve had prairie smoke for years and love love love it. And three cheers for ironweed! It gives privacy along the fence, is interesting in height, brings in the butterflies, and crowns the glorious September show.

    Thanks, Benjamin, but I will have to pass on the moving of big stuff. You are much better equipped than I to handle that task. I prefer to get little pieces of stuff from existing plants whenever possible. It is how this garden was built. But I understand your needing to move things, remembering your photos from last year. The worry for the Prairie Smoke here is the heat and humidity in summer. Also the fact it has never been seen for sale around here, not usually a good sign. Now the ironweed is not sold either, but that is because it grows everywhere in open fields, considered a large weed by most. We love it and the discovery of the seedlings was a message from the garden fairies to use it in the new bed and possibly elsewhere. πŸ™‚

  4. Meredith says:

    What a lovely flower bed. That prairie smoke is going to be wonderful!

    Thanks Meredith. The prairie smoke addition is very exciting. We hope to use it elsewhere with seeds and divisions later.

  5. Pam/Digging says:

    My god, Frances, you and the Financier work fast! I’ve hardly managed to stay on top of the weeding since I got back—and the laundry—much less start and plant a new bed. That prairie smoke is going to be gorgeous in there. I’m envious!

    Thanks, Pam. I do have to say that the only thing The Financier did was take the bags out of the car and place them for me. I did all the rest over several days. I am NOT on top of the weeding or housework, but we have certain priorities around here. πŸ™‚

  6. You Cinnaberry-topped Thinker, I can see the light from all those bulbs being lit at once. This will be an outstanding bed when all comes to maturity. Gosh, it looks great now.

    Thanks Lisa, you are so funny! I am glad I got to taste that sense of humor in Chicago, and Tena too! πŸ™‚ The plants are rather puny and droopy now, too bad there isn’t rain in the forecast for several days. Water, water water!

  7. Catherine says:

    I know it’s going to look beautiful. It’s fun to have a vision and then get to work on it. Won’t it be fun to look at the before pictures in a couple of years and see the difference? I was out doing similar things in my garden today and got lots of before pictures too.

    Thanks for the confidence, Catherine. There will be losses, but there should be enough planted to get it going. I look forward to seeing your projects too in your beautiful space. πŸ™‚

  8. Balisha says:

    Oh, my…I wish I had your eye and your energy.That is going to be stunning!

    Thanks Balisha, but both the eye and the energy are rather spurty. I have learned to not put things off when the mood hits. πŸ™‚

  9. Lythrum says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of work, I’m sure that it will be beautiful. I am done with major moves in the garden right now. Way too hot and muggy at my place. πŸ™‚

    Hi Lythrum, thanks. We are at the tail end, probably past it really for moving plants here, too. But knowing that, I continue to move stuff every year during the summer when it should not be done. πŸ™‚

  10. Janet says:

    Oh my goodness that makes me tired just thinking about all that re-doing! What a grand undertaking! I think the Geum will be a great complement to the Muhly Grass. Awaiting photos….in the fall. πŸ™‚

    Hi Janet, thanks for your support. I am tired, actually. I can’t wait to see the Geums, knowing they will not be quite the size of the ones in Chicago.

  11. Dave says:

    It looks like you have a very nice start on that area! I can’t wait to see all the salvia blooming. It will definitely give you that summer interest until the muhley grass is ready in the fall.

    Hi Dave, thanks. The blues of those Salvias should look good. May Night will continue to bloom with deadheading, don’t know about the others. There should be something looking good all season now.

  12. susan harris says:

    It was great hanging out with you in Chicago – hope to see you soon in DC! Susan

    Hi Susan, same here, I especially enjoyed the cruise, thanks for offering it to others. Don’t know how soon I will be coming to DC though. πŸ™‚

  13. gail says:

    Frances, I agree with everyone…You are a marvel and the bed will be fantastic! Like Pam, I am still trying to catch up. I do feel pleased to have gotten plants ordered and a few planted! gail

    Thanks Gail, you know me, can’t wait! The time for moving and dividing plants is really past, so it was do it now or wait until late fall when the muhly is in full glory. I didn’t want to spoil that show so did it now. Glad to hear you planted some things too. Time is running out! πŸ™‚

  14. Jean says:

    Whew, you make me tired with your industriousness! I think it’ll be really splendid looking when it grows up. Although summer is upon us here and it’s really too late to do anything as major as you’re doing, I have visions of a front perennial bed that may (or may not) finally come to fruition this year. I’m sure it’ll have many ideas from CSF incorporated. I can’t wait to see your garden in person!

    Hi Jean, thanks. It really is too late to be doing this new bed, but that never stopped me before. It is good to have the vision too. So sorry you won’t be able to come now, but do hope it can happen on your return home. πŸ™‚

  15. Beckie says:

    Frances, I am so impressed with your vision and your determination to make it happen. I am still recouping from Chicago and playing catch p on the weeds.

    I think the new bew will be delightful and it looks as though you have a perfect spot for show casing the plants you have. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to divide existing plants to make new beds with?!! Keep those photos coming as the bed progresses.

    Hi Beckie, thanks. The weeds and housework are threatening to take over here, but my priorities were for a new bed. HA It was fun shopping for the plants in the garden, hope some of them make it! There will be updates. πŸ™‚

  16. Hi Frances, I like your newspaper method of killing grass(weeds?)/mulching. I too very much liked the prairie smoke and it did remind me of your pink grasses. It’s been cool and cloudy and rainy here, but I did manage to plant the first of my two small veggie gardens. Go tomatoes, go! (And, of course, I planted banana peppers!)

    HA Monica, banana peppers, good one! It is the opposite of cool and rainy here, so I am hoping the new bed can survive until with hose watering until rain comes here. I am excited about the smokes! πŸ™‚

  17. Racquel says:

    You definitely are a force to be reckoned with to attempt a new garden in June no less. I can’t wait to see it all fill in. That new Geum is gorgeous, hope it does well. πŸ™‚

    Hi Racquel, thanks. Fools rush in …. as the saying goes. The geum is the icing on the cake, it is hoped. πŸ™‚

  18. Joanne says:

    Hi Interesting post I do think even ommon garden sage is under valued for it’s lovely flowers. The salvia shot looks lovely as does your geum.

    Hi Joanne, thanks. You are exactly right, the flowers of sage are quite beautiful and the pests stay away from the strong scent. I might have to add some of that elsewhere for just those reasons, thanks for the idea!

  19. Joy says:

    Hello there Frances ! I don’t think we ever stop dreaming of new ways to make our garden look gorgeous .. that pink muhly grass won me over the first time I set my eyes on it here ! haha
    The geum is showing up in a lot of posting and I have also been a fan of it for a couple of years .. I think I will have to finally order it next year for sure : ) Great pictures .. love the new bed !

    Hi Joy, thanks. The muhly is an eyecatcher in September, but looks pretty drab the rest of the time. You should be able to grow the geum, it said hardy to zone 1 !!! Is that Antarctica? πŸ™‚

  20. tina says:

    You are such a good designer and I love the process. The new bed looks most substantial and will be outstanding-hopefully in a year and not years:)

    Aw shucks, Tina, thanks so much. I do hope it will look good sooner, too. The muhly should take hold easily, don’t know about the rest. It is all droopy right now, we could use some rain. πŸ™‚

  21. Frances,

    You came back inspired and ready for action! I can visualize your mature garden as you described it all so well.

    That Lurie garden river of blue is such a temptation. If only we could plant our 2 acre meadow like that!

    My salvia nemorosa seedlings from the mother plants bloomed in the 2nd year — first year, flat leaves on the ground that resemble verbascum. 2nd year–great blooms. It won’t be long before your mass planting is achieved.

    The geum is so enticing!


    Hi Cameron, thanks. You would have loved the Lurie, lots of ideas there beyond the sea of blue too. The May Night has seeded well when I leave the seedheads to mature, but then the blooms stop for a while. It is a trade off. Right now, more plants seems like the better deal. Hope the Geum can live here. πŸ™‚

  22. Phillip says:

    That is going to look fantastic!

    Thanks, Phillip.

  23. Rose says:

    I can see, Frances, that you have been very busy since returning from Spring Fling! That, to me, is one of the best parts of viewing fantastic gardens–getting ideas to use myself, though on a much smaller scale, of course:) I was taken by the Prairie Smoke, too; it will be a lovely addition to this area. Can’t wait to see how this looks when it matures.

    Hi Rose, thanks. Busy yes, not necessarily doing what I should be doing however. πŸ™‚

  24. Raffi says:

    Hi Frances – you take so many great pictures – do you mind if I use some, like for example the really cool Prairie Smoke (Geum Triflorum) on http://www.plants.am (with credit, and a link of course!)? Thanks! Raffi

    Hmmm, I will have to think about that one.

  25. P.S. I woke up at 4:00 itching like crazy from mosquito bites I got planting a veggie garden… and went online to High Country Gardens and ordered three prairie smokes! HA! (You recall I’m cheap, so this is very monumental. Note I’m not even complaining about shipping charges! πŸ˜‰

    Hi Monica, funny how itching causes late night/early morning plant ordering!!! It seemed like HCG was the only source for this plant. It is a wonder they didn’t sell out after the bloggers were in Chicago! πŸ™‚

  26. Darla says:

    Love the AHA moments!!!

    Hi Darla, yes, they really help in the garden too! πŸ™‚

  27. Randy says:

    Well, you have inspired me to stop talking and start digging! We need some new beds.

    Hi Randy, as if you need inspiration! HA You and Jamie are dynamos of energy with your gardening, I can only dream of such things. πŸ™‚

  28. I love to see how new beds are designed and planted. It sounds like it will look great all season. Don’t be too nice to that Geum triflorum and kill it with kindness. Mine thrives on neglect.
    I’m still trying to recover from Spring Fling, and from the Madison Feis last weekend.

    Hi MMD, thanks for the advice about the Geum. I don’t know much about it, but might tend to overwater since the other plants in that bed are all tryiing to send out roots. The arrival date for it is June 11, hooray!

  29. Sue says:

    I got all excited at reading about expanding your flower bed. There’s something about making space for more plants that is so satisfying, until it’s filled, and then a new area needs to be expanded or found.

    I took some divisions to my neighbor’s to plant, and the liriope plants were the only ones that suffered no shock at all.

    Your beds look great!

    Hi Sue, thanks. New beds are very exciting, I agree. We are running out of space here, but there can always be a total redo of existing beds. That liriope is unkillable! πŸ™‚

  30. That’s quite a job you took on Frances, hope everything works out according to plan. Well, more or less, preferably more. πŸ˜‰

    Hi YE, thanks. I sense the doubt in your voice, hope it works out too. This is really not the best time of year to be dividing plants, especially just pulling them into bits and planting in mulch, not soil, over newspaper. Watering until we see growth is the plan. Anyway, the plants were all free except the Prairie Smokes which will be nice potted things going into soil, not over newpaper in that area. πŸ™‚

  31. Cindy, MCOK says:

    Frances, the new bed has fabulous potential! I’m very impressed with how much you got accomplished! I so wish I could grown those Prairie Smoke here … they would look great in my corner bed. Maybe I’ll take a chance on them this fall, or maybe I’ll content myself with seeing them in your pictures!

    Hi Cindy, thanks. Wish me luck with the Smokes, and the other bloggers who ordered them. We all have high hopes. If there are successes, maybe you will want to add some this fall. πŸ™‚

  32. tyziana says:

    dusted off this old post (thanks for putting the link on the homepage!) And it is from this morning that my nose glued to your pc enchanted by Mulhembergia, combined with Trifolium Geum and Salvia Caradonna!!
    A great project, congratulations indeed!
    I think that I will take some ideas …..

    Thanks Tyzania, for visiting the old post. Many of them are viewed every day, and I will go back and reread them myself on winter days. I have great hopes for the Fairelurie, especially those geums. Maybe we will have blooms this year. I am glad you have been inspired. πŸ™‚

  33. Gail says:

    Just wanted to let you know who was searching fairegardens’s salvia posts~~ME! I have ten meadow salvia that survived the winter neglect in pots and need to get in the ground! Great post… gail

    Hi Gail, thanks. HA Great news about those Salvias, will there be a Clay and Limestone Lurie? πŸ™‚

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