Some of the very first plants I planted in our new flower beds in the summer of 2010 were NE Asters (Purple Dome), a Crape Myrtle (Siren Red), two Porcupine Grasses, some Asiatic Lilies (Tiny Dino and Tiny Ghost), a couple Montauk Daisies, Red Hot Pokers (Flamenco), Echinacea (Red Knee High, Rocky Top Hybrid, Big Sky Sundown) and some daylilies (Baby Darling). After getting them in the ground, I waited to see what would happen. What happened was that that I loved the Porcupine Grass as it grew tall and striped, the Crape Myrtle with its red new-growth foliage and its crimson blooms, and the fact that in late summer, the Asters exploded in masses of bright purple blooms surrounded by buzzing bees that our dog persisted in chasing despite retaliation on the part of the bees. And the Montauk Daisies are so cheerful that I forgave them for being white in a garden that is mean to be bright.
Here’s new-growth foliage on the Crape Myrtle, from this year, with Porcupine Grass in background:
But even with these plants, I was aware that the garden was still fairly bare. So in the fall of 2010, I planted bulbs under the watchful eye of the neighborhood squirrels. Having battled bulb-eating squirrels before, I built impenetrable defenses around my bulbs: I coated them in foul-smelling deer repellent spray before planting them, covered the planted area with chicken wire, added a bit more soil, and topped up with a light layer of mulch, which I sprayed again. It worked — no squirrels got my bulbs. Note: use this method only if you do not ever plan to move the bulbs elsewhere or plant anything else in close proximity to them. The chicken wire served as a great defense against my own future landscaping plans. But I got the best of the squirrels, so it was a small price to pay to have to pull out the wire cutters a couple of years later.
Next: Phase 2.