When I first started putting shrubs into this bed, I didn't have any vision of what I wanted it to look like other than to provide cover and food for birds. I realized after plunking shrubs and a couple of perennials here and there, that it needed some structure, as well as organized access. It was such a deep bed, and I couldn't just keep planting it and stepping all over the soil. So I decided to add a stone path that goes into the bed and around one of the Douglas firs. Right now I'm just trying to find larger (fist-size to head-size) rocks to run along the edges.
I have a lot of river rock under the dark compost in all the beds. The previous owners had used it as mulch in a lot of areas, and when we had the back garden redone, all that river rock got incorporated into the beds. So I dig it up, every time I plant. I've been saving it, figuring I might find a use for it, and I have.
I'm probably just going to dig out the top layer of compost from the pathway, and then scatter the rocks, but every once in a while I entertain the idea of embedding them in the soil, like a mosaic, with maybe a nice cushiony ground cover between the rocks. That will be a lot of work, but so will digging out the compost. I've been working on this since about the middle of September.
In the bed I've planted a bunch of native perennials. On the left side of the path, I planted Cornus canadensis, yellow-eyed grass, Sedum spathifolium, Heuchera, Lilium pardelinum, Tolmiea menziesii (also called piggyback plant) and many of the bulbs that I posted about yesterday. This spot gets more sun than the area farther in, right under the trees, so I tried to use plants that would take part sun here.
On the right side of the path, I planted a variety of ferns, Asarum caudatum, Heuchera, Lewisia, Armeria maritima, Vancouveria hexandra (also called inside-out flower), more Cornus canadensis, a couple of heathers (Oops, not natives), a Sitka burnet, Lilium columbianum, and in the blank spaces, many of the bulbs mentioned yesterday.
Some closeups. Leatherleaf fern
Lewisia and Sedum
Sitka burnet (Sanguisorba canadensis)
Far in the back, directly under the trees near the fence, are the plants that take pretty much unrelieved shade. They might get an hour of dappled shade in the morning, but the rest of the time it is deep shade. Planted here are Dicentra formosa, Aquilegia formosa, sword ferns, deer ferns, goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus), Veronicastrum, Tellima grandiflorum (also called Fringecups), and the two kinds of Erythronium that I mentioned yesterday. The Dicentra and Aquilegia are so fragile, I have them planted under hardware cloth, to keep the lawn crew from raking them to pieces.
A tiny goatsbeard
A row of large healthy sword ferns, and some Fringecups
I had several sources for all of the plant material that I've put into this bed. For bulbs, I used Brent and Becky's Bulbs and John Scheepers. For the perennials, I got some of the plants from a GardenWeb swap. Others came from Fall sales at Watson's Greenhouse and Nursery, Windmill Gardens, Northwest Perennial Alliance, and MetroParks Tacoma Nature Center. I also bought some of the plants online from Bluestone Perennials and Santa Rosa Gardens.
There's more new plants in other beds in my garden. I'll be posting about that soon.