The Dry Garden

I thought I might give you all some tours of the garden spaces we currently have so that you can get to know the place, get an idea of our style(s), and how we got here.
The Dry Garden is the very first space we did (after the veg garden got placed) and therefore contains the most mistakes along with the most established plantings. Eh. You win some, you lose some.
I’ll get the confession out of the way first: We should have leveled the space. We didn’t. Partly because we didn’t appreciate fully how impactful the slight grade would be, partly because even if we did understand it- we didn’t have the equipment to do anything about it. But all that aside, it isn’t that big of a deal. Especially once we move the fire pit and put a planting bed in its place. Then it becomes a space for strolling rather than lounging- making the slight grade less of a big deal.

The gist of the garden is less a design manifesto and more a semi-cohesive study on what grows in zone 4, likes searing hot full sun, grows in what is basically a beach, and is also pretty. I tried to stick to cooler colors (purple, blue, and white with pops or orange) to mitigate the aforementioned searing hot full sun. Like somehow the colors will make you feel cooler- at least that is what the books and designers say. I say it doesn’t work- at all- but at least it looks pretty.

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The beds are edged with found limestone from a super secret source in Minnesota. The paving is the cheapest thing you can get at the gravel yard that we do our best to keep in business every year- driveway base. It compacts super well, weeds pop out pretty easily, and it drains like a champion. The beds are mulched with pea gravel to help retain whatever moisture we get- also because it looks so darned nice.
The garden is only about three years old, so it is hitting its stride, but some of the plants aren’t huge yet and still filling in. But, we have lived with it long enough to start making edits this year (2018)- things like the ever-floppy artemisia will go and something that is working will replace it. The experimental yuccas took off like gangbusters so I’ll have to divide them and find new homes. Fine tuning. Lots and lots of it.
I will post more photos/video later this year when it is in full bloom (peak color is usually late July/early August). Promise!
Plant List:
  • Lambs Ears
  • Verbena Bonariensis
  • Echinacea (wild type)
  • Salvia (various purple)
  • Lavender (Hidcote and English)
  • Little Bluestem
  • Big Bluestem
  • Indiangrass
  • Various sedum
  • Lupine (purple)
  • Iris (Bearded and Siberian)
  • Anise Hyssop
  • Butterfly Weed (Showy Milkweed)
  • Cotinus (Golden)
  • Dwarf Arctic Willow
  • Serviceberry
  • Lilac
  • Ohio Spiderwort
  • Spotted Bee Balm
  • Yucca
  • Echinops
  • Russian Sage
  • California Poppies
  • Rattlesnake Master
  • Baptisia (False Indigo both white and blue)
  • Anemone (white)

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