Saturday, May 16, 2015

Porch Planter 2015

Last post, I mentioned that I had gotten the porch planter re-planted. This job has also been checked off my pre-surgery "to do" list utilizing my daughter's excellent digging assistance. This stone planter is an annual challenge to beautify, because #1 it is so obvious at the front of the house and #2 it gets variable light. See last year's post here to get a run down of those challenges. I have seriously considered simply filling this blasted planter with rock and calling it a zen garden!

Anyway, the Celadine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) that is planted at the shady end of the planter is doing quite well. This year it had lots of yellow flowers and it has doubled in size... it took a bit of research, but when a plant is placed in the right spot, meaning light and soil requirements, it really pays off.  Last years caladiums were a terrific color boost, so I definitely wanted to repeat them. While I liked the leafy Gryphon begonias planted last year, there were none available at my local plant stores this season.

Since the Celadine Poppy is a perennial, I thought I would like the convenience of repeat performers throughout this site. I chose Coral Bells (Heuchera) to experiment with, since they tolerate partial to full sun, and maintain a tidy mounding culture producing tiny pink or red bell shaped flowers on delicate stalks. This is truly an experiment as I have killed at least four in the yard gardens in past years. A perfect example of disregarding light and soil requirements, resulting in plant sacrifices, never a pretty outcome. So fingers crossed this will be a good fit.

I have never fully explored to the bottom of this planter, it is stone/cement and about 2-1/2 feet deep. I suspect it drains from the bottom because it never becomes a pool after rainstorms. I think the voles can access it as well, from the top or ?underground, because there are tunnels/holes after the winter. Occasionally, there are massive tiny brown ant colonies, as well as a healthy pill bug population. Last year, I turned over the soil and added compost and I think disturbing the soil reduced the ant population and the extra nutrients really benefited the plants. So going on last season's success, I added I bag of compost along with one bag of topsoil, and Juli dug it in.

The final two feet of this planter are in full sun by mid summer, so last year I stuck a mini gnome statue there. Juli loves lilies and since she did the digging, she got a this piece of garden. I have been reluctant to incorporate Asiatic lilies into the yard gardens as they are virus carriers, but this spot is certainly separate and contained. She planted a lovely Stargazer Lily whose blooms are a fragrant delight while sitting on the porch. Altogether, this planter project has turned out even better than last year! Thanks to my kids for their generous help and creative gardening suggestions!!

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