Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Red Garden is Bumped Up

I confess, the above picture is not from the Red Garden (the subject of this post), but I liked it anyhow and I wanted to share it. I'll be posting more random pictures of the garden very soon and that may be where the above picture belongs, but the 'Forest Pansy' is red and that counts in my opinion. The shrubs at the feet of the 'Forest Pansy' are Spiraea 'Ogon'. I love the color combination and I especially love Ogon! It blooms very early and simply glows in the garden. As far as the Forest Pansy, this small tree was a replacement to these new gardens since my Forest Pansy at my old gardens was way too big to move. This tree has been here three years and still has not made much progress with its growth. I am holding out hope it will finally begin to grow in this perfect spot for it.
Here is the Red Garden, so named because of the Red Drift roses in the foreground. Also, I have tried to pick a theme and/or color for several of my gardens and this one is the Red Garden since not only does it contain red roses; which bloom all season; but since this garden is located in full sun in the front of my home I have tried to keep reds and yellows and bright dark colors in this area since I think they show up better in the harsh light of full sun. This garden is also a butterfly garden and is quite visible from my kitchen window where I can enjoy the many butterfly visitors while inside the house.
Here is one of those visitors, an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. I can never find this particular plant without several visitors. It is rare there is only one butterfly visiting it for nectar. This plant self seeded itself in the Red Garden and since it is such a wonderful butterfly plant and does not clash with the reds, I have let this native bee balm (Monarda fistulosa) grow and prosper in this garden. This particular bee balm grows wild all over our property and is always covered with butterflies. It is a great blender of colors for all sorts of garden flowers because the soft lavender does not seem to clash with other colors. It can easily take on reds and yellows and looks equally at home with blues and pinks. I highly recommend this bee balm.
The far end of the Red Garden contains some spireas along a slight hill on the back side of this garden. You will soon see why this post includes 'bumped up' in its title. The pink spireas are a great erosion controller and work well in the somewhat shady conditions of the back side of this garden. On the level part of the Red Garden we see dark red lilies (cultivar unknown) and 'Aphrodite' sweetshrub. In the foreground is the foliage of Siberian irises-already gone by.
In the middle of the garden we have daylilies, 'White Swan' coneflowers, blue asters, 'Annabelle' hydrangeas (along the edge of this bumped up garden), a Japanese cedar tree, and miscanthus grass in the far corner.
Here you can see some sedum, more daylilies, tatarian asters, and cut leaved coneflowers along with the Red Drift roses and miscanthus. From this shot it looks like all is level with the surrounding orchard-but it can be deceiving.
Getting closer to the edge we see the Red Drift roses which are bordered by baptisia that has gone by. Baptisias are a must have plant in any perennial garden because they provide year round interest are easy to grow if given the right conditions. After the bloom is gone the foliage looks outstanding and helps to keep down weeds by shading the ground. Brown pea pod like seedpods remain on the plant most of the year and in the fall the leaves will fade away and you'll be left with a bunch of branches you can leave in place for the winter for winter interest if you like.
Flipping around to the other side of the Red Garden and the Red Drift Roses we find five 'Limelight' hydrangeas, blanket flowers, and lambs ear growing on a lower level with concrete pilings behind the front part of the Red Garden. Now we can see that the entire Red Garden is actually not level with the terrain on the lower end but it is leveled with the lawn closest to the house due to the concrete barriers.
A closer look really shows the barriers from a better perspective. I had purchased fourteen of these very heavy concrete barriers in order to barricade a road on our property. We then opened the road and the county moved the barriers to a location near this garden. When Mr. Fix-it and I built the house I had a good idea to use these barriers to level up the lawn and to reduce runoff and to reuse these no longer needed barriers. I had a great backhoe team that kindly put these fourteen big blocks of concrete into an L shape in this location creating me a new garden area during the house build three years ago. 

We then filled the space in with backfill and I began landscaping. Prior to landscaping tho I did paint the front of the concrete barriers with a green concrete stain in order to help the barriers blend into the garden a bit better. It has taken a few years to really get this garden going and to pack down all of the infill. Once a piece of dirt has been dug up then refilled it seems like nothing ever goes back together properly and so it was with the entire front lawn since it too was dug up, and not just the Red Garden. I had to continually refill the location and work the rainwater run off from the higher ground by directing it to where I wanted it to go. All in all, bumping up the front yard to create this garden was a great idea and has worked well for us....

in the garden....

Barriers like these are available from any concrete supplier for a nominal cost. In my area they were $50 per barrier. The real cost comes in with getting someone to not only pick them up and deliver them, but to put them in place in your landscape. If you have the means to do this then all the better but you do need a good sized tractor or machine to maneuver them around the landscape so be prepared.  These barriers worked better than any retaining wall and were a lot cheaper to use as well.

Happy Early Birthday to my twin daughters who turn 36 wonderful years young this week!! 

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. I am always amazed at how large your garden is and the amounts of shrubs, flowers etc that you plant. You have so much more energy than I. I can't imagine it all. I must make it to your garden sometime. I would love to see it in person.

    1. If you ever get down this do let me know. You are welcomed to visit anytime. The garden is fun to see on a four wheeler so if you haven't ridden one get ready!

  2. A red garden-awesome. I have a red bed that I'm trying to get established. It's getting fuller slowly. I hope your twins had a great day!