Dahlias inspired the island garden at the front of my property. This may seem hard to believe but I spent two months considering the ideal location, garden shape and secondary plants to enhance the focal point. The rock is positioned slightly off centre and the Junipers are planted tightly behind the rock. The plants in front were carefully chosen to make room for the Dahlias. Although they are planted in May the blooms do not develop until the end of July. But the show is breathtaking! However one must think about the dramatic difference from spring to summer to fall and plant a succession of blooms or variegation. Another reason I enjoy this garden is because the plants perform an incredible feat. They actually give the garden three distinct looks.
Last fall I planted several bulbs for a pretty show in spring and early summer. During the early summer months I plan on filling some areas with annuals until the plants mature. The Dahlias highlight the garden for late summer and fall is colourful Mums. The excitement of a new garden is trying different varieties and changing certain plants if they are not to your liking. We do make mistakes and plant incorrect species in poor locations but that is part of the learning process and the garden is constantly undergoing changes until the gardener is completely satisfied with the overall look.
Do remember it takes time for plants to mature and the garden you plant this year could take up to five years to resemble the drawing you prepared. In the interim there are many ways to fill the gap. Propagating from other areas of the garden, using annuals, placing ornaments in bare spots, clever use of groundcover, the list goes on and on. This is the time your personal ideas are incorporated into that one of a kind setting. Bear in mind that if you are not pleased with the shape or certain plants you can also revamp the area. Cutting out a new shape is not a hardship and transplanting a few perennials is easy. Don't complicate any gardening project. Try to keep it simple and if you need to revise a portion of the section to suit your taste then do just that.
Angles and size greatly determine the appearance of your new bed. The island garden is on a forty-five degree angle facing the street. This is part of the thought process before getting the tools and digging the area. The curve of the garden adds interest to the corner of the property. The curvature of the grass sloping to the sidewalk seemed too flat. My primary concern was digging a garden that may look too big for the area and overwhelm other plants. Keeping this in mind I realize the bed has to be an adequate size for planting but not too large as the site cannot house gigantic species. Another item to factor into your thinking is grass. Some gardens are so big that the grass surrounding the area is somewhat reduced to a size of non-existence. This is a common mistake and we must carefully consider the surroundings of the garden before digging in. Lush grass is the framework of your newly created bed. The garden is the canvas and your masterpiece will lose appeal if the perimeter is marred with shoddy framework. Before considering new beds no matter how small, the first concern is always the lawn. The prettiest garden with fabulous flowers is pointless if the grass is full of weeds and bare spots. Getting the grass in shape is not that difficult. It is good experience as you learn how to grow from seed before venturing into garden beds.