It’s time to select plants for the bed near the Planters’ Choice sign on Huntingtown Road. In the last step Elizabeth narrowed down the selection of plants to ones that will do best in part sun and part shade, dry to medium soil moisture, medium to high salt tolerance, and a maximum height less than three feet. This gave us a place to start. At about the same time as when we gathered soil to submit for analysis we also measured the site and sketched the area out on graph paper.
Thinking about the Crocuses that were there last spring made me think of the unsold bulbs that remained in inventory which preferred to be in the ground rather than sitting on a shelf. So that’s where the design began. It was limited by what was on hand, which was mainly Hyacinthoides, Narcissus, and Muscari. I calculated the number of bulbs per square foot based on the spacing recommended for each type of bulb and then divided that into the total number of the specific bulb to determine the square footage that they would cover. Thinking about height, bloom time, and color combinations helped with deciding where they would go. We were also aiming for an impactful look, so decided that some of them would be planted together in a mass.
Knowing that the bulbs would finish blooming in May led to the rest of plants being selected to provide interest for the remainder of the growing season. The things someone usually thinks about when pairing plants together are mature height and width, texture, color – foliage & flowers, month of interest, form, and habit. Working from the list that Elizabeth compiled of salt tolerant and drought tolerant plants, ones were chosen with contrasting or complementing colors, form, and texture. From May through October the plan was to have at least two species of plants that flowered each month. Elizabeth wanted an evergreen to provide interest through the winter, so we chose Pinus mugo and some Yucca plants. All the other plants pretty much fit the criteria with the exception of the flowering spike of the Yucca which can reach up to 8 feet. The Yucca also prefers full sun so it will be planted on the south and east side of the sign, where full sun does shine for the first half of the day. The part-sun/shade plants will be used on the north side of the sign where the canopy of the maple tree will cast a shadow in the afternoon. With the plan in place, the next step will be preparing the space and amending the soil.