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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

End of the Month View -- April 2014, The Bottle Tree Bed

The last time we took a look at the Bottle Tree Bed, in March's End of the Month View post here, I was in the middle of overhauling it, having just pulled everything out and amended the soil with compost. I had just started putting plants back.  Since then, I divided the Agastache 'Golden Jubilee' and Sheffield Pink mums and spread them out throughout the bed, in a more satisfying pattern than the haphazard way I had them placed originally. I returned the Verbascum phaeum and sword ferns to the bed as well, and finally planted some of the perennials that I bought last fall, such as Carex 'Banana Boat,' Anamanthele lessoniana, and Amsonia hubrichtii. I pulled out three peonies, and moved them to the sunny front bed, where it looks like they are going to flower despite the fact that I moved them so late in their spring growth.

So, at the beginning of April, it looked like this.

The sleeping angel kitty used to be nestled under the big rock. I like this spot better.

I harvested another major crop of rocks when digging holes for all the plants

For a few days I left these Centaurea dealbata here by the fence, and then had a brainstorm that they would be more at home in the front garden, so out they came

I dug up some tall Veronica 'Lilac Fantasy' and Sesleria autumnalis from another bed that was too crowded and planted them in the Bottle Tree Bed

View of the Bottle Tree Bed as you enter the back garden through the gate

At Hortlandia a couple of weeks ago I bought two Tulipa 'Love on Fire,' and planted them in the bed next to the Carex 'Banana Boat.' But I think it needs more spring bulbs, like windflowers and species tulips, to brighten it up even more early in the year. I'll try to remember to order some in the fall.

Later in the month, just a few days ago in fact, I planted three pots of strawberry foxglove in the bed, plants which I sowed two winters ago.

Some of the new plants in the bed are flowering.

Lamium orvala, although still short, has put out a cluster of flowers. I certainly hope it gets taller next year after it has a year to grow and settle its roots.

Isn't it a pretty flower?

Verbascum phaeum, grown from seed a few years ago, is going to flower despite being dug and replanted

My Ribes sanguineum are flowering profusely too, to the great delight of the hummingbirds and bees. I planted them here four years ago, bought from the Pierce Conservation District sale quite inexpensively, and they have turned from leafless sticks with roots into towering flower-laden (and later currant-laden) shrubs.

Flowering maybe two feet or so over my head

My tiny yellow tree peony, which returned two winters in a row while still in its little nursery pot. I hope it thrives here too.

The bottle tree bed is home to a couple of other pieces of garden art. This rusty old bird, bought a couple of years ago at The Best of the Northwest, a juried art sale in the early spring (I blogged about it here), peers out at visitors from behind the Sambucus 'Black Beauty.'

This little piece of beaded garden art came from Gardener's Supply a few years ago, and the beads, especially the amber ones, have faded in the weather and sunshine.

Now, at the end of April, after some tweaking and spring growth, the bed looks like this:

The End of the Month View is hosted by Helen at The Patient Gardener's Weblog. You can read Helen's current post here, and check out the comments where other bloggers leave links to their posts.


  1. It's so good to see things that you've planted start to settle in and grow. The border has really filled out. Well done on moving those peonies too.
    And I love the rusty bird!!

  2. I know just what you mean about harvesting rocks! I prepped 3 decent size beds a few weeks ago, and harvested quite a few myself. Is there any reason you waited to put your strawberry foxglove in the ground? I sowed some this winter, and just put the first ones in the ground. They seem happy, but should I have waited?

  3. Looks so good, Alison! I was so happy when my Lamium orvala returned this year...I thought I had killed it last year when I accidentall dropped a pot on top of it...eek!

  4. You've done so much, Alison! - despite all that plant swapping and nursery gallivanting you've been up to. The Lamium, which I've never seen before, is beautiful, as is the Ribes.

  5. Everything looks super. You do such neat work.

    I think I can use some aurora borealis beads from an ancient mobile that someone gave me years ago in a little piece to fit a flower pot similar to your garden art bead piece. One Day.

    You have harvested rocks -- harvesting rocks here requires the use of a bulldozer, but I can harvest buckets of clean white sand at field's edge after a rain.

  6. It looks great! It's fun to tweak the garden and satisfying when you can bring reality closer to your vision. That lamium is beautiful! And I love the bird. Quite the character!

  7. Wow, that really has filled out and already looks so much more settled. Great news on the peony, I have just discovered one in a lost corner of my back garden that I think I will need to move if it is to flower at all, too much shade where it currently sits.

  8. It sounds as if you are like me, constantly moving your plants around. But they don' t seem to mind. You have been busy, everything looks so well organised and weed free. I love that Lamium and your bird is fun.

  9. Looks lovely Alison, I love the ornament you have in the garden it works really well.

  10. I love that Lamium , I'm going to look out for it when I get to 'Far Reaches' next month. Your bottle tree bed looks wonderful !

  11. I can't do much planting yet, so Tom is getting double duty this year, but I did start putting out some yard art today. All of your hard work is looking great! And now things are blooming!

  12. It looks great, Alison! Love the rusty bird too!

  13. Nice job, you've been working hard! I meant to ask you at the swap, where are you planting the teasel you've started?

  14. It's shaping so nicely Alison and looking forward to the progress your garden this growing season which has just begun!

  15. Hi Alison
    It is looking so good now and I love your art work. It was one of the things I noticed when we were in SF how much you all use art in your gardens, which I dont think we are so good at here in the UK. Thanks for joining in the meme again

  16. It looks very "Northwest" with the Doug firs towering over it. And by the way, I LOVE "Northwest." :)

  17. This bed is looking very nice and your whole garden is simply glorious! It's even more impressive in person!

  18. It's looking great Alison - I can see a huge difference and like me, we've got a whole new bed to observe this summer.
    It's amazing just how quickly it all knits together, isn't it. My Lamium orvala is now in it's second year here and has really impressed me this year, I'm sure yours will do just the same! Sadly, I didn't give mine enough room and will be needing moved before next spring!

  19. I love the new look of the bed so nice and neat...and I like the stone path. I need to plan for some of this...and your garden art is right up my alley.

  20. Your bed looks awesome! It's so tidy. :o) Love the art. :o) We have very similar taste. That ribes is just fabulous!

  21. I love it all! It looks so fun ;) I could not do most of that in my front yard due to having an HOA (they even spy into my backyard...ugh)...but it is all very tasteful. Your garden should be on a tour at some point! I also like your term 'horticultural vinegar' does work great on weeds!


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