Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sun, A Friend, and Plants

That describes my day today! The sun came out today, it warmed up a bit, into the high 50s, and it stopped raining. Actually, in all honesty, it was just as nice yesterday too. I don't know if we can take this abundance of sunshine!

So -- what did I do on this sunny weekend day? I met Catherine of A Gardener in Progress at Molbak's, and we went shopping for plants together. Catherine left her two girls at home, and took off for some valuable "Me Time." She was shopping for plants that she admitted she had no spot for. I admitted I do that too. But this time I was shopping for plants for the new garden, drought-tolerant conifers and perennials. (I have a Pinterest page where I've been pinning plants I want in my gravel garden. You can view it here.) Of course, I didn't actually find exactly what I had on my list, but I found others. I want conifers in the new garden (one of its purposes is screening), but I know next to nothing about them. I found from my Googling that junipers are one of the most drought-tolerant conifers. And I knew I wanted a combination of gold and blue foliage (is it called foliage with conifers?)

Before Catherine arrived I took a look around, and spotted some interesting specimens.

A Hinoki cypress called 'Fernspray Gold' -- I liked it, and it might work in the gravel garden, but it will have to take strong afternoon sun, although not necessarily hot. The tag warned the foliage might burn.

A ground cover juniper called 'Sea of Gold' that grows only 3 feet high and 4 feet wide. I bought the one on the right.

This 'Blue Point' Juniper looked interesting too. But I worried it might get too wide, the tag said it would have an 8-foot spread, and it prefers ample moisture.

'Blue point' Juniper

Ultimately I ended up getting a Juniper called 'Skyrocket.' Here it is below at home, next to one of the Trachycarpus that is also going into the gravel garden. The tag says it's a fast grower, from 15 to 20 feet, but only 2 to 3 feet wide. That sounds perfect. With this new garden, I go back and forth between thinking how on earth am I going to fill all that space, and worrying that I won't have enough room to plant all the great new plants I want. Catherine helped me wrestle it into the car.

'Skyrocket' juniper

Here are some of the perennials that I bought.

Two Euphorbias called 'Rudolph'

Rich red stems and a red star in the center of the flower

Two lamb's ears called 'Primrose Heron.' Hard to see in the picture, but the leaves have a golden glow.

On the way home, after a tip from Catherine, I stopped at two different Top Food stores (grocery stores, but they have an excellent little gardening section), where perennials were on sale for only $3.99. I bought some Erysimum, one plain and one variegated.

Two white and two red Pulsatilla.

I love the fuzzy flowers, and I can never find these at the nursery.

I found 5 Lewisia, a succulent-like native with pretty little flowers. It should be right at home in the gravel garden.

I recently ordered a bunch of Sempervivum from Wild Ginger Farm, but when I saw that Top Food had Semps on sale 5/$10, I couldn't resist. They were not just healthy, they were also huge.

Who could resist this?

I also bought 3 Delosperma congesta (succulent-like ice plant) with yellow flowers.

At some point I should do a post listing all the plants I've bought so far for the new garden. It won't make for exciting reading, but it will help to have a record of what I started with -- in two or three years, when things have changed, or died, or I've gotten tired of them.

Or they've outgrown the space because the label lied.