A magical little secret is tucked away in the corner of the city, hidden by well-established Viburnum opulus sterile (Snowballs) and Acer circinatum (Vine Maples). You’d never know the sanctuary exists until you walked behind the wrought iron gate and arbor covered with Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine). A small woodchip pathway meanders through lush evergreen foliage mixed with spots of color throughout the year.
A dappled mixture of bulbs gives a nice pop of color scattered along a path before the summer begins. The perfect time to plant many bulbs is actually November and December, with our winter rains they’ll mature and flower on time. Tulips and daffodils are some of the most common bulbs but you can also incorporate snow drops for an earlier bloom time.
To create a sanctuary for pollinators and butterflies continue planting the yard with small perennials neatly clumped together. Perennials come in all shapes and sizes like ‘Mardi Gras’ Hellenium that could add a spark of color and texture to any yard. Likewise, if you haven’t used Echinacea in a landscape, you are missing out. Many landscapers pair this with ‘Goldstrum’ Rudbeckia for an excellent long lasting, hardy plant that continues to bloom throughout the summer. Both these plants are drought tolerant and fairly prolific. Echinacea comes in a wide range of colors like the vibrant ‘Cheyenne’ variety, which is a good addition to any yard. ‘Victoria Blue’ Salvia farinacea is also definitely worth mentioning but does need more space than Echinacea. All these perennials are dependable long bloomers if you keep them dead headed throughout the summer.
Alternatively, Gerbera daisies can be tucked into a small area. I recommend planting them in a container because even though they are a perennial, they aren’t very hardy and this gives the ability to move them during the colder months, like into a garage near a window.
This world is hidden but bursting with life. A small seating area offers an intimate relationship with nature. Hummingbirds and pollinators are buzzing around a healthy ‘Spitfire’ Crocosmia (Dwarf) along a living border. Remember, the larger the diversity in plants and planning for a continual bloom throughout the year the more likely your garden will flourish by attracting these useful visitors.
Written by Karen Smith, Lane Forest Products Plant Specialist