April 13, 2013

Bronze Spring

How did this happen?


The plan for this strip of plants along the front of the house was to soften the brick wall with soft pinks, some wine red, and green neutrals. Later in the year the focal point is a clear white clematis 'Henryi' that climbs the iron sunburst trellis.

But now, in early spring, the soft pink heath (Erica darlyensis 'Ghost Hill') is actually magenta, and it is surrounded by Sedum 'Angelina', which has turned fiery gold.

The wine red accent was supposed to come from this tall urn, which is actually a deep rust brown, setting in a pool of gold sedum.

It's a riot of bronzy colors right now, in April. Rust and gold and brown and that little pop of magenta heath (there are actually two of them.) The tall plant in the background above is a juniper, 'Gold Cone' which will stay narrow and upright for this tight space at the corner of the wall.

At the very front edge along the walk there is another sedum, 'Red Carpet', which adds an additional fall color of deep crimson to the riot along the front walk.

I never planned for this kind of spring display.

In summer it does go pretty and pink. That was the design. The sedum 'Red Carpet' blooms bright pink as it creeps over the sidewalk, and there is a willowy, bouncy gaura with rosy blooms above it. A billowy amsonia is in the background. The urn looks more wine colored here, doesn't it?

The clematis is bright and white and a nice contrast against the brick, rising above al the pink frothy stuff.

And in late summer, the whole effect is softened as the tall sedums and the creeping sedums and the gaura and everything else fades.

But in earliest spring I have a burnished tapestry, all autumn shades, all fiery bright and the only real color anywhere in my awakening garden. In earliest April daffodils aren't up yet, tulips are just green spears nosing out of the soil, and even the forsythia is not quite open.

As we wait for spring to arrive in this cold part of New England, my front walk can be seen from down the road and across the neighborhood, an out of control blast of rich gold and bronze colors.

A spring riot of fall color.

 

40 comments:

  1. You should take credit for this incredible Spring color. In my mind any garden accident that looks great is "planned" after the fact. When neighbors or friends comment how great it looks - "Oh thanks, that was my vision". I have enough failures to take credit for that the occasional accidental success needs to be embellished a bit.

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    1. El Gaucho, thanks --- you know, it really was my vision all along! I wanted bright fall colors in April : )

      But I do like it, so I am taking credit as you suggest!

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  2. It's only a temporary riot, but it does have that burnished autumn glow one does not expect in spring. Maybe a pair of rose-colored glasses will mask the glow until more spring-like shades take over?

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    1. Joene, I like that description-- burnished glow! Unexpected, yes. Temporary, yes --- the pinks and softer colors will take over soon.

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  3. Well I think it looks fabulous. Nicely done! Sedum Angelina has formed a carpet at the base of my fountain on the patio. To me it screams "Spring!".

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    1. Sue, When I first planted it I had no idea that Angelina sedum turned such a bright gold in late winter. Nice surprise.

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  4. Any color is a good color after winter. Think of it as beautiful and unexpected, which it is. Not the cliched blues and yellows.

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    1. Sarah, that's exactly how I am looking at it -- no cliches here!

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  5. I think it looks festive. Nice to see the vibrancy after a very long winter.

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    1. Donna, thanks! Festive is the word for all that color.

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  6. I agree with all the encouraging words above. Bottom line: it looks good. Maybe a bit unexpected, but what is wrong with that?

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    1. Jason, Definitely unexpected, but I like it!

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  7. I like your riot of color! It makes me happy just looking at it! Gorgeous!

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    1. Nicole, thanks! Spring should always make us happy : )

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  8. Hi Laurrie...I think this area looks fabulous in all seasons! The fact that this one area has such a different "look" for each season is incredible! I really like it!

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    1. Christy, this very small area does change dramatically as the seasons progress. It does make it interesting!

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  9. Fabulous! Isn't this the narrow bed that was driving you crazy last year? I love that this has so much interest across the seasons. It looks like a little party. :o)

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    1. Tammy, yes, this is the area that has been has been changed so many times. It is The Vole's Rampage, if you remember the post I did on naming garden spaces. The voles undid everything one year, and I have been tinkering ever since. I'm glad it looks like a little party now : )

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  10. No matter when you look at it it is quite nice. You should be pleased with it.

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    1. Lisa, thanks! It's unexpected but I am pleased with all the color.

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  11. Laurie what an interesting spring display that works so well...and I love the colors in summer too.

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    1. Donna, thank you. I like the way the colors change so completely from spring to summer.

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  12. Be grateful, Laurrie, and take your color where you find it; Down here in colder Connecticut, the dominant color is still brown. But, hey, brown is beautiful, too. Soon, all the colors of the rainbow will be washing over our gardens. Or, maybe later than soon.

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    1. Lee, it does seem like spring takes forever, is so tardy and so slow, and then all of a sudden one day, blam! It's all out at once and too much to deal with : )

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  13. Thanks for sharing. I'm in RI and we'll take any color we can get.
    Is spring ever going to arrive in the Northeast?

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    1. Chris in RI, it's been such a slow spring this year. The forsythia just began to come out this weekend-- and it's halfway to May already! Hang in there.

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  14. Hi Laurrie....I'm commenting again! I'm a little worried that we might have voles. Last year we had quite a few moles and I know voles get into their tunnels. A few of my plants along where there was a mole tunnel are dying. How did you get rid of the voles?

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    1. aack, there is no good way to get rid of voles, unless you hire and eagle, a hawk, a falcon and a herd of predator bobcats. Make sure you have them (little black mice) and that the dying plants aren't just because the moles disturbed the earth around the roots.

      I tried chewing gum, peppermint oil and mothballs stuffed in their tunnels, to no avail. I set mouse traps and got several, but barely made a dent in the population (set out traps in Sept. when they make nests. Put the trap under a flowerpot set up on bricks, voles love to run under things). One year they scurried right over my garden shoes as I worked in the garden, cheeky bastards. You can set out mouse poison, and that is effective, but be aware that birds will eat the poison too and predators who eat the voles will get the secondary effect of the poison. Not good.

      Vole populations rise and ebb over the years. When they are high they bring in predators who eventually decimate their numbers. Then the predators move on for better eats elsewhere and over the next couple years the vole populations rise again, attracting the hawks and cats back. Nature's way -- ebbing and flowing -- is what I have learned to deal with. I replant a lot. Two years ago we were inundated with voles, last year very few.

      Good luck : (

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  15. I'm not a big fan of yellow, but in the spring, when nothing else is blooming I think it's such a cheery color. I certainly like it better than all the brown in my bare garden:) The red urn really makes a dramatic accent here.

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    1. Rose, thanks. Spring yellows tend to be clear, light colors, and they are cheery. Forsythia and daffodils and even the subtle yellows of spicebush and cornelian cherry do pop in the earliest parts of spring.

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  16. I love those bronzy colors! I think they go quite well with your bricks. Interestingly, I think the pinks of summer also go well with your brick. I think the light and the way the sun changes throughout the year also has a lot to do with it. Very nice.

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    1. HolleyGarden, you are right about the effect of light. In spring, the bronzy gold colors are in this strip are so bright because there are no leafy shadows to soften things -- all the branches are still bare.

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  17. The best laid plans of mice and men... :)

    I agree with the others -- it's a wonderful show in all seasons!

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    1. Aaron, thanks. My plans rarely work out as I want, but I do like how this turned out!

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  18. I love this, Laurrie - you'll confuse the neighbours! Seriously, getting two different colour schemes from the same group of plants is a bonus, and means you won't get tired of looking at this bed.

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    1. Lyn, you are right, it's a bonus and the space really is a changing kaleidoscope through the seasons!

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  19. That's funny about the autumnal colors, but it's really lighting up the side of the house!

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    1. Sweetbay, it's very bright, that's for sure : )

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  20. Wonderful combinations/transformations!

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