So, back in the spring, I had the genius idea to plant a wildflower garden so that I could snip flowers and have fresh arrangements in my house all summer. I guess I forgot that I live in the south where it is ungodly hot for like 11 months out of the year. My little wildflower garden was pathetic, as it got many hours of smokin hot sun every day, without relief. So, my son and I laid waste to it.
I went to a local nursery, which happens to be owned by a nearby family whose landscaping I had always admired. I looked specifically for perennials that thrive in full sun (even though my garden area gets some morning shade... it still should be fine, as most of the day is relentless sunshine). I bought 2 butterfly bushes, some ornamental grass, a couple of dwarf zinnias for fun and a lantana because they have such pretty delicate flowers. Turns out that was far too few plants to even partially fill the garden, but I have a plan! I decided to ditch any landscaping fantasies I have for my backyard (this new gardening endeavor area is on the side of the house), so over time this fall I will be relocating any plants worth saving to this area. I already moved a rose bush (see photo below) and have plans to move 2 more plants.
I'll never forgot learning about thrillers, fillers and spillers in regards to container gardening, and the principal applies in a larger space as well. The photo below shows my "thrillers"... the grass, rose bush and butterfly bush. Then, as I have time and energy, I will add medium-sized (fillers) and low growing (spillers) plants to complete the garden.
You can also see the California Christmas Tree in a container at the bottom right of the photo. This is a gorgeous tree that the nursery owner has in his front yard and he happened to have a couple at his nursery. I have loved that tree since I first noticed his yard. I can't wait to plant it, though I am not yet sure where it will go.
One last thing, planting these large plants has been a complete pain. I finally broke out the pick to attack the nasty, rocky, clay-y soil. It was a nasty, sweaty workout to dig a hole 3 times the size of each plant, then to mix in soil conditioner to aerate and improve the soil. I don't think I planted more than 2 plants on any one day, and sometimes it was only one plant for the day and then I didn't touch the project again for a few days. I really like gardening, but it is an "extra" in terms of my responsibilities and passions, so for this garden to literally and figuratively grow over time is fine. Though, I watch enough Curb Appeal: The Block that I wish it could be done in one giant shot.
My "soil" -- more like clay, boulders, roots, and a few bugs ::