Gardening News: the front yard

This week’s Gardening News is all about the front yard.  The garden is a year and a half old now and there have been a few plants that have shown themselves to not be worthy of the water bill.

I learned how to garden in Colorado. Most of my experience came from failures, and some of it came through classes at the Denver Botanic Garden. My teachers were Rob Proctor and Lauren Springer (Ogden), both of them had the same ruthless pity on non-performing plants … if they aren’t worth my work they are trashed and made room for the next trial of a different variety.

This year’s dead beats are: copper canyon daisy, loropetalums, purple cone flowers, and I’m not thrilled with the rudbeckia.  To make the cut, they need to provide some kind of evergreen marker so I know where they were, and they all need to get along with the existing irrigation system.

The purple cone flowers are getting a pass and another chance to come back to life when I bring in 12 more and create a massive clump of butterfly haven.  In all honesty, we had some vigorous landscaping going on that cut and misplaced my drip irrigation, so they can’t be held accountable for dying in 110 degree heat without water.

The copper canyon daisy, however, should be given another attempt in the backyard where drip irrigation doesn’t hit them. They hate being sprinkled. They do very well in a dry spot where they get ignored.

loropetalums? I can’t stand their scraggly growth. There is no way to actually tame them with pruning. They have a lovely burgundy leaf and some tiny white flowers in the spring, but as a shrub, they need to be more polite in the garden and understand they are just there to provide a backdrop for the real show: flowers for the hummingbirds.

The rudbeckia, when in bloom, are really pretty and a nice dark yellow pop of color there. During the winter, they stand tall for the finch to finish off their seeds and then they turn a black hulk of nothing. If we had snow ….. If we had snow, that would be a mute point because all the dead plants under mounds of snow make for the prettiest sculpture garden.

Have a truck? I want to make a couple of seriously expensive runs to Red Barn Landscape and Gardens in Austin!

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