In the early stages of garden making, this sort of frivolity is commonplace. With a relatively blank canvas, the ideal spot can be found for just about anything. But unless your last name is DuPont or you are lucky enough to own acreage and have the time and/or resources to tend to it, and with the exception of annuals, at some point you have to start exercising a modicum of restraint when shopping for plants.
On my small suburban property, with the exception of annuals, the good old days of piling plants into the nursery cart are over. Nowadays when I head to the nursery I almost always have a specific spot or area in mind and have given some thought in advance to the type of plant that would enhance the garden and perform best. In past years this hasn't been the case. I've always had an "inventory" of plants cooling their heels in a shady area of my patio while they wait for me to find the perfect spot for them in the garden. I fondly refer to that collection as my pot ghetto.
As I reveal my current pot ghetto which consists of just a few measly cuttings of Coleus and Hibiscus acetosella, some bits and pieces of Canna tubers, a small Aster frickartii 'Monch', two three inch pots of Persicaria capitata 'Magic Carpet', and two pot bound Tithonia seedlings I can almost hear my garden friends out there gasp in collective horror. Say what? That's it? No shrubs? No trees? Just a couple of perennials? No real annuals? Yes, that's it. Consider me plant less.
Nothing more than a pitifully staged vignette.
Well...I do have one more plant-a recent impulse buy.
Meet Echinacea-Sombrero Salsa Red.
Yes red-actually more of a reddish orange but I saw it and I just had to have it. Who cares if I was breaking one of my cardinal rules not to be seduced by flowers over form and foliage? Who cares if the type of full sun conditions Echinaceas prefer don't exist in my garden? Who cares if it's yet another designer hybrid that might not make it through the winter? Who cares? It was calling my name. And 40% off at Natureworks didn't hurt.
So now I have it and must begin the search for the perfect spot.
Option #1 East Fountain Garden
Yikes! Even if I take all the pink/purple toned annuals out of the picture, and add additional plants for foliage contrast, bloom time coincides and clashes with Indigofera kirilowii, the summer star of this garden.
Option #2: Garage path garden
Definitely a possibility. Conditions are dry and not much else is blooming here now. Sun is sufficient now but decreases as the season progresses. Existing spot would be a squeeze-especially if the Montauk daisy (Nipponanthemum nipponicum) decides to take off. But after five years of doing nothing maybe a bit of friendly competition is just what it needs.
Option #3 Side Entry Garden
During the winter of 2010-2011 voles ate the bark from the gound up to about eight inches on the trunk of a specimen Acer japonicum 'Shishigashira' I had planted here along with most of a juniper and a fabulous patch of Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'. Last spring the back half of the tree died but the front half leafed out so I left it. This spring the whole tree was dead so I had to remove it and start from scratch. In an attempt to be artsy I arranged a few glazed pottery pieces with a container and some tropicals and annuals in the ground. I like this option except I'm afraid the Echinacea won't be structural enough after it's done blooming to earn a spot in such a front and center garden.
Option #4 Patio
Maybe, but I've already committed to a dark leafed orange Dahlia here. Normally this bed is heavily planted in season spanning tropicals and annuals due to it's proximity to the patio dining area.
Option #5 Side Walkway Garden
As soon as this 'Moonlit Masquerade' daylily finishes blooming I plan to move it back where the crappy foliage can hide for the rest of the season. I have very few daylilies left in the garden. Even for the heavy bloomers and for the two or three weeks they bloom, the daily dead heading and dead leafing required to keep them looking decent just doesn't seem worth it. Supposedly Sombrero Salsa Red is a compact grower reaching only two feet tall so it would front down the Caryopteris 'Summer Sorbet' quite nicely.
And so the process continues. Stay tuned for my final decision. I do have a couple of other spots to consider. If nothing else, I'm finding more open spots in the garden than I would have guessed I had. Time for a more plant shopping!