Garden music – part 2 (dissonance)

a garden mixSometimes the garden resembles a well thought out mix-tape that keeps you swaying and singing and other times it looks like we put the ipod on shuffle. Sometimes the needle hits a scratch or we just can’t find the right song to follow the daylilies. I think it’s one of the reasons we keep gardening – to get it right, we rewind, start over and press record again season after season. And every time we get a song or two closer to a perfect mix.

Here are some of our current clunkers:

A river of Swiss Chard running through the Plectranthus fruticosus seemed like a good idea when we planted them together but there’s not enough contrast between them to make it interesting – it’s like a Hank Williams and Patsy Cline mix – not to mention that the plectranthus (Patsy) has overwhelmed the chard (Hank).

Swiss Chard and Plectranthus fruticosus - Hank and Patsy singing the same song

The record is skipping in this corner of the North Garden. For too long we have let plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) and various nepetas asters and chrysanthemums play on and on and to me, there’s just no tune there anymore.

broken record

Daylilies plague me like an earworm – we keep looking for the right plant that can shift the focus away when the foliage starts to drive us crazy. – What do you plant with your daylilies (and moldy Phlox!) to hide the leaves?? (Really, truly – I’d love to know!)

Please help!

We often allow Nature to add to the mix and occasionally her choices are a little on the funky side. A wide bluestone path narrowed by sticky Nicotiana is perhaps a little like mixing Motown and Mozart…

Nature’s self seeders busting a move on the path

And this dodder (Cuscuta spp.)- a parasitic weed that the Rockettes discovered yesterday in the Water Garden is just like fingernails on a chalkboard!

dodder - fingernails on a chalkboard

What do you have in your garden that doesn’t sound quite right?

6 thoughts on “Garden music – part 2 (dissonance)

  1. Despite the fact that some days I absolutely love the wildflower patch, they are as many days that I utterly hate the chaos. I keep thinking I’m going to have to pull it all out and create a perennial flower garden instead. Maybe now wouldn’t be a bad time to do that. No matter what I do I need to provide stepping stones throughout the 4×15 space because I just can’t get to the back to weed no matter what I do and it’s full of Asiatic dayflowers, which just might be the off-key note in my garden this summer.

    Heather, I just scrolled through your site and didn’t see any full body shots of that garden – must be time for a change! (I understand your love/hate with a wildflower patch – I’ll bet it was glorious early in the summer and now it’s probably looking a little peaked?) If you do any re-planting now, just remember to water water water! -kris

  2. Well, my main problem is the kikuyu, which is as ubiquitous as those people who cough through classical concerts.

    WRT the North Garden: too many specimens, and not enough variation in leaf shape/colour. There is one large rounded leaf form at the front — perhaps more of that and fewer of other species? And is there enough sun there for the Swiss chard?

    Funny, Chookie! I had to look up kikuyu grass – looks like it’s as devilish as our goutweed (Aegopodium). And you’re right about that corner. The round leaf in the picture belongs to Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) and we have a lot of them in that garden as a foil for the bitty leaved plants. As for the Swiss Chard, they’d get enough sun if the Plectranthus hadn’t grown gangbusters! -kris

  3. I absolutely cannot figure out how to camouflage the bad daylily foliage… but I know that Karen at 1-2-3-Go Garden (see my bloglinks if you want to visit her, as I can’t figure out how to put html links here) uses them a lot AND has a fairly foliage-oriented garden somehow. So I think it’s my failing… but I frankly just don’t use them at all because of that!

    I have some dissonance going on in the garden right now, but mainly it’s due to weeds. And my propensity to plant things a bit too close…. somehow the way I fit in a lot of plants resembles more of a clanging pot than a thundering crescendo. *sigh*

    Kim, Thanks for directing me to 1-2-3-Go Garden – she definitely has some amazing daylilies – I could almost love some of those blooms. But she cleverly photographed them without showing the foliage. I’ll have to be in touch I guess to see if she has tricks up her sleeve…
    I hear ya with the weeds and packed planting – I’ve got those problems at home too. You’d think all the plants would stifle the weeds… But I’ve seen pictures of your garden – you say clanging pots, I say Radiohead. -kris

  4. I really like the analogy you used between designing a garden / plant combinations and music. It´s like getting a symphony orcestra to sound right and play in tune. My lillies and some hardy geraniums definetely need to shape up in my garden!

    Niels, I love the thought of us “conducting” our gardens! What will your neighbors think when you wave your baton (pruners?) to cue the lilies (the brass section?) and the geraniums (strings?) to keep up with the tempo? -kris

  5. Phlox paniculata ‘Nicky’ looks absolutely revolting with ‘Little Grapette’ Daylily. You’d think they’d go together, both purplish flowers, but yuck, especially when ‘Nicky’ is in full magenta stage. Large Japanese Anemones hide Daylily foliage. (They hide the Daylilies too.) I’ve got another Daylily with the foliage hidden behind Endless Summer Hydrangea, which just doesn’t get that big around here.

    I’ll have to see if you’ve posted a picture of the revolto-combo! And you’re right about Japanese anemones – they probably wouldn’t mind at all growing up through the daylily straps and then hide them quite conveniently. We have a few in the North Garden – maybe we’ll try moving them to more useful situations. Thanks for the tips! -kris

  6. Awww… thanks, Kris. I needed to hear that today. 🙂

    Oh good – I was hoping you’d take that as the compliment I meant! -kris

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