Take advantage of the time indoors during winter by planning renovations

Published 9:00 am Sunday, December 21, 2014

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang 

Another small garden renovation is in the plans for next spring in the tiny garden in the far western corner of the backyard. This past fall I started getting the plants pulled out that I didn’t want in this area that always seems to be a dark corner. My first inclination was to plant three of the small rudbeckia that I had used in the raised beds to the right of this garden where the rock is, and if there is room I just might do that. The other day the Bluestone Perennial spring 2015 catalog arrived, and as I was perusing it, my eyes were drawn to a couple of smaller hosta plants.

The photo shows a small garden that will be renovated with smaller plants and lighter colors to make it stand out against the gray fence. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

The photo shows a small garden that will be renovated with smaller plants and lighter colors to make it stand out against the gray fence. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Since this area already has two hosta planted to the front of it my decision was made to order the three hosta that appealed to me and one of them will go where the white rock is sitting. Raspberry sundae immediately caught my attention with its red flower stalks and buds. This little gem is 9 inches tall with a spread of 20 inches so it would work out very well there. Old glory is 14 inches high with a spread of 24 inches with heart-shaped leaves, a golden center and irregular margins and would be different from the  lance-shaped leaves of the two hosta already planted there. The third one I ordered was Virginia reel, which has blue-green lance-shaped foliage with wide yellow margins that would blend in with the other two hosta that are there.

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Once all three of them arrive I will place them in small containers and have each of them sit in the location that I will plant it for several days before I make a final decision.  When that decision is made the other two will be relegated to the front garden under the white pine where I have many other hostas planted. I don’t like making a decision from a photo in a catalog, but rather place the plants where they will eventually be planted until I make a decision.

The small white ornament with the blue gazing globe was broken when during my haste to move it to the shed for winter, I dropped it and broke it into many pieces on the sidewalk. Haste makes waste, they say, and this time one of my favorite pieces was broken. Now I will be looking for another white piece to sit where this one was.

In the very back corner of this garden is a purple/pink phlox that will be replaced with a white phlox to make this corner come to life. The physostegia in purple were taken out last fall because they always seem to flop over from wind and rain and because the color just seemed to blend in with the phlox, neither one of them drew your attention to this garden. The white phlox will stand out against the gray fence and call your attention to this small garden.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

The clematis growing on the arbor will stay — even though the past couple of years it has not had many flowers on it — when it does bloom it is lovely. My goal is to have shorter growing perennials in this garden so the wildflower garden directly to the left of it will become more prominent once again. This past spring I planted axminster gold comfrey in this raised bed and I want it to really become the central flower in the wildflower garden. Over the years the wildflowers have died out with only the trillium and Virginia bluebells as well as Jack-in-the-pulpit thriving. I will add a few more trillium to this garden this year and hope they do well once again.

A garden is never truly finished, as just when you think you have it the way you want it, something seems to die on you and then you are left with a gaping hole to fill or something outgrows the space and needs to be moved to another area. That is what gardening is all about and why I love it so much.

“How fair is the garden amid trials and passions of existence.” — Benjamin Disreali


Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at carolhegellang@gmail.com.