One Bed’s Evolution

A few years ago, Hubby built an L-shaped raised bed on a sunny spot on Chicken Hill. A semi-dwarf Rainier cherry tree was selected as its anchor, and a plan began to form in my mind for an unusual white, red, and black theme, since the bed sits apart from other perennial beds. Planning out a bed from scratch was a brand-new endeavor for me. I considered red, since it’s a color I use sparingly in other areas of the garden. I’ve been drawn to the deepest tones in flowers, hence the black. White is a great accent and sets off the bold red and black.

Here’s the bed at its inception:

During the spring of 2015 I added many ‘Mrs. Bradshaw’ geum and ‘Black Barlow’ aquilegia I’d grown through the winter. I selected a ‘Claire Austin’ English white rose for one corner of the bed. In the spring and fall of 2016, I added red dahlias for late season color and two varieties of white peonies. The following winter I seeded snowdrop anemones, marbled heuchera, and white with black bee delphiniums for the bed.

Last year, I stood back and enjoyed the full, beautiful bed:

I’ve enjoyed the unusual color combo and height of the plants in this bed. The geums and heucheras have proven to be evergreen, so it’s never bare. So far the only flops have been artichoke plants I added the first year for foliar contrast. One does return each year and sports silver, jagged leaves near the center of the bed, but no artichokes, so I guess it’s a partial success.

The only plants added in 2018 were chocolate cosmos, which I dug up, divided, and stored over winter, then replanted a couple of weeks ago. Today the bed is bursting with green and bulking up, as is the whole garden. Pleased with the bed’s fullness, I chose to add new double black hollyhocks I grew from seed into other garden beds. The Rainier cherry tree has recently dropped its blooms, but other flower buds are about to open. The ‘Madonna’ snowdrop anemones are already cheerfully nodding their white heads.

7 thoughts on “One Bed’s Evolution

  1. A great success. I didn’t realize that there was a spring-blooming anemone. I always think of them as fall blooming. I love to see before and after pictures.

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  2. What a lovely border and some great combinations in there. I like the palate of reds, greens and darker shades. I wouldn’t completely give up on the artichoke – sometimes they can take a while to bulk up before flowering well – they are hungry and thirsty plants though!

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  3. L. L. Bean (It is shaped like a bean.)
    That cherry is happy. I just got a ‘Ranier’ this year as the bare root stock that didn’t sell was being discarded. There is nothing here to pollinate it. It was in rough shape anyway, so got canned, although with a ‘Beauty’ plum. Now I have another year to worry about where to put it in the ground. I don’t want to keep it canned for long.

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