2023 Priority - Front Porch Bed - March 2023

Listed at number 3 on my 2023 to-do list, figuring out the newly configured front porch bed is a pretty significant planting priority for me, but one that I've done the least posting about in the garden diary.  That lack of posting on a 'plan' for the bed, doesn't mean that I haven't been busy working the bed already by moving some things around, adding some things and thinking a lot about what we want up there.

The season started with some vertical mulching of biosolids to try to improve the soil overall - that was after some topdressing of biosolids last Fall around the hydrangeas.   Then, just recently, I did three things:  first...I dug-up and transplanted the Green Velvet Boxwood that was left orphaned once we planted the Triumph Elm tree.   I moved around three Karl Foerster Grasses (see below for placement) and then just this past week, I planted three bareroot Disneyland Roses in the bed where the old Norway Maple tree was situated.   

The other thing that we did LAST FALL - but is paying off this year is the planting of the dozen Allium Gladiator bulbs in the bed.  I put them in FRONT of the boxwoods, but I now have second thoughts about that.  (I went back-and-forth about the location of these bulbs last year.  But...despite not being settled on the location, I think I want to add them to my 2023 Fall planting list to add even more...)

That leaves me with some planning in terms of what we want to do going forward.  This, below, is what we're dealing with currently:

This is a look at the live location situation earlier this Spring - showing the boxwoods on the right, the one that I moved (recently) laying in the back.  When I look at this (below), it feels very much to me that there is *almost* as much linear space on the left of the new Triumph Elm as there is on the right (between the tree and the stairs).  On the right, there are five Green Velvet Boxwoods in that spot.  My plan is to replicate that boxwood hedge on the left.  Four or five.

What I've been working through is what 'fronts' those boxwoods and allium.  Because the new boxwoods (on the left) are going to be MUCH SMALLER initially, my thought is to break up that border planting into two parts.  

On the right - in front of the mature boxwoods and Gladiator Allium, I'm thinking of a short grass.  Initially...I was thinking;  a blue fescue like Elijah Blue.  But, looking at Northwind's list, there are a few grasses that I'm thinking about as better fits.  See the two lists (annotated) below:

Seslaria Albicans and Autumnalis - Moor Grasses - jump out.  What do they look like?  See below - Albicans on the right, Autumnalis on the left. 

They're both about 1-2' tall with blooms.  Eight or ten of those in front of the border.  

The left side - with the new, smaller Boxwoods?  A staggered planting of eight-or-so Summer Beauty Allium.  Like these that I have in back (photo below).  Of all the things that I've planted in our garden, the Summer Beauty have been the strongest performers.

That's the 'mixed' fronting - in front of the boxwoods.  Moor Grass on the mature side.  Allium on the new side.  

I also want a place in front of those for annuals - likely just one 'layer' (for now) - with French Marigolds. 

This bed also has FAR too much mulch, so groundcover is required.  Ajuga Chocolate Chip is where I'm going to start.  I also want some layered 'movement' and nothing moves in my garden like in-bloom Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses.  Spaced in behind the boxwoods and in front of the Hydrangeas.  These exist in this bed, just have to be moved around and transplanted.

In this new, layered, design there are a mix of colors (some blooms from the Ajuga, Marigolds, Allium, hydrangeas, roses), textures (grasses, shrubs, evergreens, strap'y foliage) and some seasonal coverage - Boxwoods as evergreens,  tulips in early Spring along with the blue Ajuga flowers followed by grasses, Allium and hydrangeas in Summer and Roses through the Fall.  

All that material layered-in leads us to something like this:

This means, the new material required for out front includes:
  • 3 Disneyland Roses (planted)
  • 4 Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses (have them, just need to transplant)
  • 1 Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea
  • 10-12 Ajuga Chocolate Chip
  • 8 (or so) Summer Beauty Allium
  • 4-5 Green Velvet Boxwoods (going to buy small)
  • 8-10 Moor Grassses
  • Flat or two of French Marigolds (Annuals)
That's A LOT for one season.  I'm thinking that I'll likely have to decide between the grasses and the allium - and it will depend on what is available when we hit the nursery.


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