What Went Wrong: Dry Garden Edition.

Oh, where to start!

No sense beating around the bush, let’s get into it:

  • Anise Hyssop. It took over everything and self seeds everywhere. It makes the whole space seem higgeldy piggeldy and unkempt- even when it isn’t- simply by existing in every nook and cranny available.
  • Ohio Spiderwort. This time of year it is a floppy mess that won’t re-bloom when trimmed. Its bloom season is short and its impact isn’t as good as it could be. Its upside isn’t worth all the downsides. Plus it just looks messy all the time.
  • Early bloomers. I unintentionally planted a really great late Spring garden. And it is really great that time of year (Irises, Baptisia, Anemone, Alium)! But it wavers and sputters the rest of the year and doesn’t wow like it should come late June-August.

    The Echinops are literally the only color in this bed right now. I’m happy with the foliage variation here, but color is sorely lacking. Do better Cortney!
  • Color Story. In my attempts to have a strict color story, I ran out of viable plant options that fit the story. So I tried to work a few pinky-purples (Echinacea) into it for July blooms (which it is doing beautifully right now) but the effect upended the color scheme- but only just enough to make it weird. I need to lean in to it and bring in more color- something that will help with the mid and late season blooms.
  • Too Much Uprights. Irises, Grasses, Yucca, Rattlesnake Master, Anise Hyssop.  I have a lot of tall, slender plants. They all are very happy here so I am inclined to keep  most (I’m not looking at you Anise Hyssop), but I need more foliar variation and I need those plants to not be floppy (I AM looking at you Cranesbill Geraniums).
  • More (and Better) Swaths. I did put in a few big swaths of plants, but since I didn’t do it everywhere, the effect is a bit muddled. Much of the Iris, Baptisia, and Echinacea are in clumps/swaths, but everything else around them isn’t. I need to beef up those other areas to make both more impact and more sense.

    So much green. So much Baptisia. So little interest…
  • Better Foundation Plants. I’ll be honest, I was so busy searching for color and vaguely Mediterranean characteristics I forgot about underplantings and low-growers. I have only Lamb’s Ears to fit that bill and I have the exact amount I want- no more. I need more plants with enough impact to stand out and enough strength to help prop up things like Geraniums and Anemones.
  • Variegation. I think adding in some more plants with either variegation or non-standard green tones would also go a long way to breaking up the masses of green. I’d like to find more lime green foliage options that aren’t more coral bells. I have a few more variegated irises that I’ll be adding in to break up the standard iris leaves, but I need to explore more options- even if variegated leaves aren’t something I’m usually drawn to at the nursery.

I’m probably being overly harsh with myself, but I think most of these are fairly easy fixes and I’ll be able to take advantage of the late season sales to get the plants I need. I’m excited to get stuck into it and see where we end up this time next year!


1 thought on “What Went Wrong: Dry Garden Edition.”

  1. Anise hyssop “Golden Jubilee” has lovely golden foliage, and coneflowers come in luscious colors that aren’t purple or pink now. Tweaking takes time, but you’ll get it eventually…and then you can come do mine!


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