A Companion’s Garden

Companion's Garden, foreground

Companion’s Garden, foreground

Yesterday I worked on a new planting bed that came about as the result of needing a place this winter to offload and store some extra mulch. Selecting a spot where the grass retreats and dies back every summer once the weather gets the least bit dry, in February, I lay down 3-4 sheets of newspapers, wet them, and stored my excess mulch on top.

By yesterday most of the mulch had been distributed. I removed most of the remaining mulch, added a good quality topsoil mixed with mushroom compost. No digging. Touched just a bit by the shadow of a Red Maple, this area receives early morning sun, then is shaded from the other direction by a ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress in early afternoon.



My husband is intrigued with the variegated leaves of coleus, always pointing them out in other gardens we visit (especially at the trial gardens at the Raulston Arboretum). With an emphasis on foliage, this little garden of annuals is planted for him this year. For now companions to the coleus are caladiums and a few impatiens. I might move several Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells) into this bed as well. We will just experiment here.

13 thoughts on “A Companion’s Garden

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Yes you’ll probably see it again! By next GBFD this garden should be filled in better. Bought an Elephant’s Ear today to add to the back and give it some height.

  1. Cathy

    The Caladium are gorgeous – had never thought of planting them out in summer, as they are common houseplants here… great idea for a shady spot! I think Heuchera is a good idea. I have a lovely yellowish one, but don’t know its name.

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      The caramel/yellowish-tinted one is Coleus. I will have to look up the name though. Caladium are used in the landscape here very often, but they do not overwinter.

  2. fredgonsowskigardenhome

    Hi there pbmgarden, you are not the only one who is adding to / reshaping their garden. For the longest time I’ve looked out of my windows and wanted to create a long walk, that brought me or a guest, from the big border at the far end of the lawn out back, back toward the house. Just making a change like that, really made a difference, and how I feel about the decorating of my land. Each change it seems triggers some other project, the possibilities can be endless. Too bad the money to pay for fantasies was also not endless ;-}

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Your walk project sounds great Fred, a satisfying addition to your garden. If budget were no problem who knows where our garden ideas would lead us.

  3. Felicia

    Love your roundy bed. I’ve got one in my front garden and one in the back and I just love the shape. I especially love how the boarder accents the roundness.

  4. Alberto

    Wow, it’s quite brave of you planting all those variegated leaves altogether! I’m looking forward to see how this new bed will evolve. Are you planning on keeping it as a temporary feature or forever? I’m just asking since you used a lot of annuals to fill it in.

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Alberto, I think this area will transition to perennials eventually. The grass wasn’t growing well there anyway. I normally don’t buy many annuals but using annuals this summer will give me a chance to think about what else to do with this area.

      1. Alberto

        Yes. I thought the same. That’s clever, so you don’t have to rush a perennial planting now and you’ll make your husband happy!

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