Let's take a look at the species chosen for my new garden bed and I will explain why I selected these varieties. The two Junipers are called 'Blue Arrow' and they were chosen for the height and width. The colour is attractive (blue-green) and their presence is attractive year round. Their shape is easy to maintain and they are in keeping with the overall landscaping. Larger specimens are ruled out because one must consider the height attained at maturity. Having enormous trees in a garden approximately ten feet by six feet is not proportionately correct. Keep in mind the size of your garden and try to purchase plants that lend to the general size and shape.
The Flowering Almond Tree (Prunus triloba 'Multiplex') was planned well in advance as I do admire their double, pink flowers borne in mid-spring. The oval dark green leaves turn yellow in autumn. The height is approximately twelve feet and this is suitable for the garden. To be honest I really like the Saucer Magnolia (soulangeana), but this beautiful tree reaches a height of approximately twenty-two feet and the width is about fifteen feet. Obviously this choice is not possible in the area on the front lawn however it is an idea for another location and something I will keep in mind. They are truly glorious in spring and the tuliplike flowers faintly flushed with pink are simply spectacular.
Dwarf conifers are valuable plants especially for the small garden. They require very little attention and provide year-round interest. They can be planted as features in their own right, displaying their varied shapes, habits and striking colours. Several species are spreading and good for groundcover. The Mugho Pine (P. mugo) is compact with a mound shape. With only one clipping a year it will maintain a pincushion form and seldom gets bigger than three feet high. The Juniper 'Blue Star' grows about twenty inches high and wide forming a dense rounded bush with striking blue foliage.
Euonymus is a jewel among evergreens. Only a few plants can thrive in so many locations in so many forms. They will thrive in full sunshine or full shade. With beautiful shades of foliage in both silver and gold they bring a beauty unmatched throughout the year. With an annual clipping, Euonymus can be maintained in a variety of forms only limited by your imagination. They can be planted as a hedge or left unclipped for a delightful groundcover vine. Again this plant was a foregone conclusion for this garden as the variegated foliage creates a bright contrast in the landscape.
Dwarf Rhododendrons are located at the front of the bed. There are two varieties 'Impeditum' and 'Ramapo'. The 'Impeditum is a tiny mounding plant with little leaves literally covered with blue flowers in spring and the 'Ramapo' has bright violet pink flowers in early May. I like the foliage and naturally the blooms are pretty but above all I enjoy choosing plants that add interest to the garden. Several neighbours ask about the pretty little plants at the front and appear amazed that Rhododendrons are available in miniature form. Researching various forms of favourite species is advantageous as you can expand your horizons and implement new plants in the garden.
The Daphne (cneorum) is a gorgeous plant at the front of the island garden. It does not grow above twenty inches high and forms a thick mat on the ground. This is ideal for rock gardens with strongly scented bright pink flowers in spring. Guess what? After carefully planting, watering and monitoring the bed I noticed the Daphne had browning in a few areas. I applied plant food and tried to balance the soil to suit the plant to no avail. The problem is solved as I realized the plant was not getting enough sunlight. This is attributed to the Dahlias which were planted in the spring. Naturally in the beginning the Daphne received ample sunlight but as the Dahlias grew in height and width they began to shade the plant. I quickly transplanted to the rockery. In the rock garden the Daphne seems happier and the brown areas disappeared within a few weeks. The reason I am sharing this story is because I made a mistake. Not a tragedy as the plant is moved and I purchased another for this portion of the garden. Gardening enables one to experience the trial and error method while gaining valuable knowledge each step of the way.