White And Yellow Bed-What Looks Good Now


Sunrise is a special time in the Fairegarden. The property is situated in a way that allows for the viewing of bright morning light as it washes across the north sloping land, beginning at the arbor and creeping slowly over pathways and flower beds. One of the first areas to be illuminated is located to the left of the concrete stairway that is the only remnant of the house that was knocked down to build the garage. Standing under the garage deck the view shows the gravel bed to the left, the arbor in the far back and the stairs aforementioned to the right. Let us climb those stairs together and watch the sun paint the colors of the yellow/white bed, shall we?


The plants have been jam-packed in here over the years, striving for better overall design and to help keep down the weeds. No bare earth means fewer weed seeds can germinate. Coming into view as the elevation changes with each lifting leg are the bearded irises. Iris germanica ‘Lacy Snowflake’ is sublime in ruffled skirts with an ever so slight bluish tint.


Iris germanica ‘Tiger Honey’ has been the most floriferous of all the iris here, most of which were passalongs. Tiger Honey was bought and paid for many years ago, a wise expenditure. Seen in the background just to the left is one of three dappled willows, Salix integra ‘Hakuro-nishiki’. These shrubs are coppiced to one foot tall in late winter, to better enjoy the color of the new foliage and to keep the size small. Left unpruned they would quickly fill this entire bed, as has happened in offspring Semi’s garden from sticks stuck inground several years ago. A little more to the left is a golden puddle that needs explaining.


Standing in the lower part of the gravel garden, facing the old block wall to the left of the steps is Erica darlyensis ‘Westwood Yellow’. In the early plantings, heaths and heathers were added all over the slope as the conditions were found to be to their liking, this one went into the first hypertufa trough. It soon grew too large for that containment and was planted along the wall with some yellow creeping jenny, Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’. Cuttings have been spread along the wall with high hopes for this has been a successful design element in a very hot and dry space. Behind to the right is the same dappled willow and Hammamelis ‘Arnold Promise’ with oddly browning leaves directly behind the heath. One of several daylilies is in full foliage. White astilbes also inhabit the area, including a new purchase.


A recent road trip to the fabled native plant nursery just north of Knoxville, Sunight Gardens yielded this beauty. Even though we have a whole lotta astibles and have divided those ad finitum, this dark foliage and red stem could not be resisted. The tag said this was a dwarf, so we will see if this is good placement for Astilbe ‘Younique White’.


A Mother’s Day gift from The Financier several years ago, this very early blooming daylily is always surprising. The label read Lemon Lily, Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus, but we believe it might be H. dumortieri due to the red buds and outer petal coloration. Lemon lily is actually H. flava, so who knows? It smells odd, not like lemons to this schnozz. Other daylilies in this bed are H. ‘Demetrius’, H. ‘White Opal’, H. ‘Moon Dazzle’, and H. ‘Happy Returns’. Photos of these can be seen on the page listed on the sidebar, Plants We Grow-Daylilies.


Back to the stairs and this time looking down at the plantings along the edge, the first group is the Allium karataviense overplanting Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’. Fifty of these Alliums were purchased for planting under the knockout roses on each side of the steps leading to the knot garden. It was not realized how large the bulbs were and so they were also planted along the middle terrace path, at the end of the vole project wall and here in the yellow/white garden. I can’t say enough good things about these bulbs, gorgeous blooms and the coveted large leaves are just as attractive to combat the Little Leaf Syndrom we often drone on about. Next to the Alliums is the Sedum alboroseum ‘Mediovariegatum’.


It was the brilliance of this sedum, (I am not recognizing the name change, thank you very much), that was first noted as the foliage began to enlarge from the tight rosette in early spring.


The combination with the Iris pallida ‘Variegata’ was a happy bit of serendipity. This bed is also home to the collection of Veronicas. Shown above with the iris is Veronica spicata ‘Royal Candles’. Intense study of the Piet Oudolf/Noel Kingsbury book ‘Designing With Plants’ helped this gardener see the wisdom of mass plantings, repeated in a bed. Last year many plants were brought together from their far flung plopping homes and replanted close together with the intent of more overall eye pleasing attractiveness. Here, it has worked.


A conscious effort to include larger leaves found the planting last year of Rudbeckia maxima next to the clothesline pole that is another architectural remain from the former house here. This is some handsome folige, huge in size, glaucous and the very tall flower scape can be tied to the metal pole if needed. The favorite rose, Rosa ‘Moonlight’ was originally planted on the rusty post, but succumbed to the dreaded Rose Rosette disease and had to be dug out last year. The single red Rosa ‘Altissimo’ is now alone, and liking it. This rose was originally planted on an arbor that stood between the main house and the garage before the addition joining the two structures was built. Altissimo was cut to the ground, dug up and stuck, or plopped next to Moonlight, with no hopes of it living. It just goes to show that sometimes our expectations are offbase. There are two other Moonlights still growing happily on other treillage, BTW.


Newly added last fall, ordered from Annie’s Annuals is Asphodeline lutea. This plant has very interesting evergreen foliage with bluish twisting leaves. The yellow flowers bloom from the bottom up on spiked stalks, with random florets opening up and down the entire stem as bloom progresses. The foliage blends well with the sedum and R. maxima.


A list was begun of all of the things growing in this, the yellow/white bed, sometimes called the white/yellow bed. It was astonishing how many different plants are contained here, in a somewhat small space. Daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, leucojum and muscari on the early blooming end, daisies, goldenrod, helianthus, blue eyed grass, veronicastrum, lilies of various sorts, echinaceas, filipendula, roses, phlox, hibiscus, astible, viburnums, bronze fennel, yellow star grass, willow, witch hazel, clematis stans …you get the idea. I am sure some have been left out even. So much for a mass planting of just a few things, the design goal. Being a plant collector does not mesh well with good design, but it is pleasing to me, especially as the sun rises. That is the important thing, don’t you agree?

Frances

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16 Responses to White And Yellow Bed-What Looks Good Now

  1. One of the things I like about your garden, maybe at the top of the list of good things – is the intensity of the planting, the crammed-in-ness of it. Your garden is big and beautiful while mine is small and haphazard but, having yesterday mentioned the squashed together-ness of mine on my blog and arriving here this morning, I realise we have this one thing in common. (Having never before thought our gardens are alike in any way. There are hardly any plants the same in both – and you have so many!). I’m feeling all cheefull now!

    Esther

    Dear Esther, you are too sweet, thank you. Your garden must be lovely. I wish you lived nearby to me, we would get your garden filled to overflowing in no time at all!
    Frances

  2. Beautiful sunrise garden and colors!

    Thanks so much, Cindy.
    Frances

  3. Carol says:

    I also have that Allium and love it for it’s big leaves. I have just a few though but want more! I want that Rudbeckia, too, if it is hardy enough for my zone 5 garden.

    Your garden looks stunning in the morning light. Since I am completely redoing my garden, it looks positively sparse compared to yours!

    Thanks Carol. Does the Allium return for you? I am hoping it will. The Rudbeckia is very tall, if it grows as stated on the tag. It will need tying to the clothesline pole for sure. Your own garden will fill in quickly, just keep adding plants!
    Frances

  4. Greggo says:

    I am a crammin nut my self, or I should say plant collector extraordinaire. I look at the my garden the same way you do. It is pleasing to me….need I say more. Speaking of broad and bold leaves I planted a common mullien that I dug up in the roadside ditch and planted it into a nutrient filled bed: it’s king kong now. Hugh.

    Good to know, Greggo. I also dug up a Mullein by the side of the road. It hasn’t bloomed yet, but I hope it seeds about in the gravel garden. It is with some other purchased Mulleins, I love that genus.
    Frances

  5. One of the things I love about reading your posts Miss Faire is how we have many similar plants, but you and I plant them in different combinations. I have ‘Altissimo’ on the East side of the house. I do not have Iris variegata, but I think I should. It looks so good with the sedum. Also, I have the large rudbeckia, two plants of it, and I love it. I purchased V. spicata ‘Royal Candles’ last year. It is a pretty thing. Love how you have it placed. I also do the cramming method probably because I love plants so much. It does cut down on the weeding too.~~Dee

    Thanks Dee. At some point, a lifetime of plant collecting and similar zones will have us end up with many of the same plants. I adore Royal Candles, and have divided the heck out of it. I like the height of those dainty spikes.
    Frances

  6. Leslie says:

    It is pleasing to me too! And the more you plant, the less you weed! Lovely spot for coffee…

    Thanks Leslie. I would much rather plant than weed any day! There are two chairs facing this bed that get lots of sitting time.
    Frances

  7. I’m a collector too, just trying to arrange the collection in an attractive way (not always successful).

    A question about the Hakuro-nishiki willow – is there any pink in the leaves? I always see it described as having pink/white/green variegation, but the emerging leaves on the cuttings I received earlier this spring are just green.

    Hi Tangled, thanks for joining in the collecting party here! As for the pink in the willow leaves, I have found they show a lot more of that color when coppiced very short. My daughter never prunes hers and they have little if any pink. I cut them in late winter.
    Frances

  8. Layanee says:

    The morning light is full of promise. Your blooms are wonderful and I like your ‘puddle’. I have a few puddles here and there. I find the L. n. ‘aurea’ a bit temperamental about staying in one spot. Do you?

    Thanks Layanee. I love the puddles of color, too. Glad to hear you have a few. As for the creeping jenny staying in one spot, I don’t even try to bridle it. Anything can grow right through it, and it helps keep weeds from germinating. We like free spirits here!
    Frances

  9. Nell Jean says:

    That is my kind of gardening, too. Massed plantings with little bits tucked in. My yellow/white bed is one of my favorites, now blooming with Brocaded Gown daylilies and nicotiana.

    Thanks Nell Jean. I have Brocaded Gown, it is stunning! Our daylilies bloom in June/July with a couple of super early ones in May, including that species. Your yellow/white sounds perfect!
    Frances

  10. Elizabeth McLeod says:

    I look forward to every posting on “Fairegarden”. I learn something new everytime and I love looking at the serenity of the beautiful garden(s).

    What a sweet thing to say, Elizabeth, thank you.
    Frances

  11. VW says:

    Ah, your alliums are lovely. They are definitely on my wish list – some of the big white ones for the backyard. Maybe I’ll get some planted this fall, we’ll see.

    Thanks VW. I hope you can get some planted, they are fabulous! I am going to order more of the tall white Mt. Everest, they returned and bloomed well the 2nd year. Some of the Alliums take their time to rebuild the bulb back to blooming size.
    Frances

  12. Elaine Parsons says:

    Frances,
    I found your garden-web early this Spring. It is a joy to check out your plants. I am from Maine and the season here is just beginning. I am a zone 4 to 5. I am a collector of plants. I am almost done with my raking this year and then the fun starts. I can dig, divide, move plants and place all to my liking. I have about 3 acres and over the years the gardens have expanded. One of these days I’ll learn how to post pictures. I look foward to all your postings.
    Thank you, Elaine

    Thanks for visiting, Elaine, I do appreciate your readership. You garden in a beautiful State, even if you have to wait longer for Spring to arrive there. If you want to post your photos, you can do so on facebook. If you want to begin your own blog, go to either blogger.com or wordpress.com, the format I use. Good luck!
    Frances

  13. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    The most important thing is to be true to yourself. You don’t want to be working your behind off to please someone else. I think this yellow and white bed is gorgeous. Well done.

    Thanks Lisa. You are so right about that. Sometimes I just don’t know what I want the garden to look like, but sometimes it looks just right the way it is.
    Frances

  14. Gail says:

    Dear Frances, What a delightful read~I read it twice, it was so chocked full of goodness and ideas. i do like the german iris~Perhaps because they were the first I met or that they tolerate shad so much better then the newer ones! Tiger Honey looks stunning in the morning light~ I’ve been thinking a lot about how I garden for me and if someone else likes what I put together; well, that’s a bonus! BTW, I like what you’ve put together. xxoogail

    Thanks Gail, that means a lot since you have seen this garden several times. We have to garden for ourselves first, like the way we decorate our homes for ourselves. What would be the point of any other way? HA
    xxxooo
    Frances

  15. easygardener says:

    Thank you for showing me the garden….and the sunrise. It’s not likely that I will ever see a sunrise for real (being a late starter in the morning!). The seed pods on Asphodel lutea are attractive too, so look out for them.

    Hi EG, so nice of you to drop by for some early morning vicariousness. Thanks for that tip about the Asphodeline, I was wondering whether the spent stalk should be cut or left standing.
    Frances

  16. Leslie says:

    Love the larger views! I enjoy getting a feel for the overall garden and yours is so lovely. The sun coming in gently makes me want to sit and sip coffee and enjoy the view.

    Thanks Leslie. I like to show the long views, even though the photos are not as good. I don’t have the skill to capture the beauty as it is to human eyes, so appreciate your kind words.
    Frances

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