Well, as this was the first summer we have spent with our very own house and yard to call “ours,” I’ve been quite experimental with the garden this year. Tried out lots of stuff to see what would grow, and where, and what wouldn’t grow at all…and to see what would actually come back next year.

However, now that I’m getting a good idea of the land, and the shady/sunny spots, water trenches, and whatnot, I’m already planning bigtime for next year’s garden. With the newspaper starting to boom, and Honey making lots of future plans for it, I feel confident enough to plant some things that will take a few years to reach maturity. (And if something unforseen happens before that, I’ll just dig the suckers up and take them all with me!)

There are several things that did well this year in the garden that I’d like to use again next year, or that will come back next spring. But there are several more things that I’ve been researching online and would like to try next year.

Things I’d like to keep using from this year’s garden include:

Artemesia (perennial ground cover)

Creeping Dusty Miller (ground cover — hopefully perennial in this case, if my periwinkle doesn’t strangle it first!)

Caladiums (annual, but I learned the hard way this year that I’ve got to buy live plants because the bulbs won’t grow worth a lick for me)

Petunias (annual — who can live without these?)

Coleus (this year I purchased the gigantic “Kong” variety, which I won’t be doing again. They sprouted giant flowers that are very ugly, and trimming them off just creates zillions more. I’ll stick with the smaller, full-shade variety next year. Plus, they have many more varieties than the basic two Kong types, so I can create more depth in my garden by using the small varieties.)

Hydrangeas  (perennial — I bought two “Endless Summer” plants for the front yard this spring — in addition to the regular one I have at the side of the house. Not lots of blooms yet, but I’ve gotten a few so I have high hopes for the next two years. I would like to add to the collection when the pocketbook allows!)

Sedum (perennial — I bought a healthy Autumn Joy sedum from our garden club sale in May, and I’m hoping it comes back even larger next year. Mom has one that’s two or three years old and is really starting to plump up and look fantastic. I look across my yard to hers, and long for mine to take off like that.)

Daffodils (perennial) — Mom hooked us up with loads of these last fall in front of the porch pad. I’m not sure if they’ll all come back once we put purgola posts in the ground there, and they’re kind of a pain once the blooms die and you have to leave all that ugly foliage up for so long before it can be trimmed, but they’re my favorite cut flower in the world, so I’ll just have to come up with something to plant in front of them that will take off about the same time that they’re dying back. This year I used the Kong Coleus for that, but I’ll come up with something new for next year.

Hostas (perennial — I know these take a few years to really plump up. This year my hosta bed has nine plants, and looks pretty sad, but in a couple years they should really fill out the shade bed on the south side of our house where Geoff likes to take hammock naps.)

Lantana — I’m not sure if this is a perennial or not. It looks like it might be, but I’m not sure if it will come back or not. I planted six of them I got from Lowe’s, and they are so interesting — each flower head is made up of pink, yellow, red, orange, and purplish blossoms all together in one bloom. I would love to have a really dense pocket of these. If they’re perennials, I might not have to plant anymore, and maybe time will make them grow denser. If not, I’ll have to plan better next year and not plant them so spread out from each other.

Daylillies (perennial — the problem with daylillies is their foliage is so huge, even when they’re not blooming, and the leaves can very easily start to look beaten-up, but I just can’t bring myself to put my foot down and get rid of them. They do look pretty when they open…)

We’re planning on building a purgola next year to shade the entire porch area, and I’m really looking forward to dressing up the front of the house in a fancier manner. I’ve got my eye on several new plants to spruce up the facade…

Climbing Iceberg Roses — I saw a beautiful photo spread in Cottage Living a couple of months ago where a lady planted zillions of Icebergs all over her garden, and the effect was enchanting. Nurseries refer to these bright-white bloomers as “a garden’s nightlights.” It’s easy to see why! I would love to train these climbers up grow up the purgola posts. I think it will add a lot of “cozy” to the front of our cottage-style house. They’re supposed to be very low-maintenance, disease-resistant, extremely winter-hardy, fast-growing, and the climbing variety is supposed to have minimal thorn problems. Sign me up!

Lilac — I can’t figure out where to put something this yet, but I love their scent and can’t wait to have some in my own garden.

Primrose — Mom has a bunch of these near her front door, and they really took off this year. Such cute little pink blooms — I sort of need a “delicate factor” in my beds, and these are particularly beautiful during the day.

Peonies — I bought some bare roots this year, but neither of them did anything at all. I don’t seem to have good luck with bare root purchases, so I guess I’ll have to cought up the dough for some live plants next year.

Creeping Phlox — Our neighbors have a pond trimmed with purple and pink in an alternating pattern. Breathtaking during the spring. I’m jealous. 🙂

Wintergreen or Boxwood — Either of these would be OK; I need some green shrubs someplace to anchor the garden between bloom phases. I have two Euonymous in the ground, but they’re really slow-growing and neither is big enough to shake a stick at yet…

Allium (Giant Persian) — These things are so cool-looking. They look like they belong in a Dr. Seuss garden. I need a novelty in my garden.

Rose-of-Sharon — These are so low-maintenance. I’m not just crazy about them, in particular, but they take off effortlessly and grow really big, so it would be nice to have some as accents in the back yard, where I haven’t really done anything yet. (Got to come up with a fenced area for Cleremont and Dezi first, though — no sense in having a nice garden backyard if it’s full of doggy-bombs!)

So…I’ve got lots of work to do next spring! I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to afford to do all at once, but maybe I’ll get some nursery gift cards for Christmas and can save them up. Mulch will be a small fortune by itself, but I’m not worried. That’s the great part about dreamily planning ahead. You don’t have to worry about details yet. 🙂

–Gracie

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