July 29, 2006

Filling in the gaps

Sometimes an entire flower bed refuses to cooperate. I've got one of those this year. This time last year it was a joyful riot of annuals, roses and lilies. The roses and lilies are still there, but nothing much else has gone according to plan. The bee balm has actually shrunk compared to last year, and is sick and chewed up. Perennials I've put in are still too small to put on much of a display and several have been fighting the plague of earwigs that I didn't recognize until too late. (Hey, I'd go out with a flashlight and I wouldn't see them...) The annuals didn't reseed because of the mulch I'd laid down, so I started some in containers to transplant. A little on the late side. When I did put them in, the earwigs chewed most of them down.

Large-leafed coleusOn top of it all, I've had to shelve my expansion plans, seeing as the probability of a move next year is very high. There's no point in putting in a bunch of perennials that won't hit their stride until I've been gone for two years, especially not knowing if the next owner would even keep them.

Although individual elements have been enchanting me, the bare patches were really getting on my nerves. So I succumbed to temptation some time back and came home with three large coleus plants. I generally prefer to seed my annuals, but it was way too late to start over. Two of them went into the ground, the other stayed in a pot so I could perch it on a stepping stone. An added benefit is that they have large leaves, adding very nicely to the texture of the garden as well. This particular bed is still far from being an example of good garden design, but it has perked up somewhat and a little shuffling of plants in a more propitious season should help a lot.

I was a wee bit concerned that the coleuses would find it hard going in the hot afternoon sun with the added heat radiation from the parking lot, but so far they're doing pretty well, although they do require a little more water than their neighbours (who rarely get any supplemental water) and I have had to trim off a few leaves that were browning under the relentless sun. All in all, these are minor irritations, and I am pleased enough that I'll likely take cuttings to bring inside for the winter.

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