The garden east of the house is just a little over 2 years old but has filled in quickly considering its youth. I saved a lot of plant material before we moved the house and have put that in. There are still holes and it'll be interesting to see how many losses there are after this extremely wet winter.
So far for spring effect there is the polyantha 'Marie Pavie', columbine, the rugosa 'Hansa', Phlox pilosa (from Gail), a mystery Gallica hybrid nicknamed Delia's Purple, a fragrant mockorange grown from a cutting, Gulf Coast penstemon, foxglove, and bearded iris. Off to the right, the small white rose is the polyantha 'Clotilde Soupert', and beyond that is the China 'Archduke Charles'.
For summer and fall there's purple coneflowers, summer phlox 'Robert Poore' and 'David', a hibiscus seedling, grasses, asters, skullcaps, seashore mallow and blue mist shrub 'Longwood Blue' and 'Dark Knight'. The repeat roses chime in again in the fall too. During the summer they're pretty much a write-off due to the Japanese beetles.
The big green blob to the left of the tulip poplar in the background is aster 'Miss Bessie'. She gets big, which is why I can't let her into the garden next to the house.
There are several plants which may or may not do well, like the blue mist shrub. It likes a poor sandy soil best, but does well in poor clay soil too -- even wet clay soil, but add rich to wet and it may die. I'd have put it next to the house, but it needs to be somewhere a little away from main traffic. It's actually very fragile and will break off even if rubbed against. I always want to have it somewhere in the garden, however. I love the blue-violet flowers, the silvery fragrant foliage, and the way it blooms in August and is just like a breath of fresh air at that difficult and very humid time of year. Coneflowers are another one that may be iffy. Conditions for these plants will not always be this iffy -- the bedding will not be as rich and moisture-retentive as it breaks down and is absorbed by the plants.
If I lose the coneflowers I will start more from seed, as I love the combination of purple-pink and orange. My favorite is is the wild-type seed from the NC Botanical Garden. The petals fold down, but the color is brighter and longer-lasting than that of 'Magnus'.
The below picture provides an example of what the garden looked like in early days (April '08) while the beds were still being constructed. We had a pile of clean shavings that were left when we had to board the horses while the house was being moved. After 6 months some of it was beginning to break down, so I used that as a base, along with compost, and then eventually mulched with hay to keep the weeds down and help break down the shavings further. You can see the mushrooms popping up next to the iris.
The bones of this garden are mainly deciduous shrubs: Japanese beautyberry, the rugosa hybrid 'Sir Thomas Lipton' and other rugosas. There's also a trellis next to which are planted a young 'Crepuscule', an 'Alchymist' and a violet clematis. I would have loved to have used more full-sun native shrubs as the backbone of this garden, especially a few evergreens, but couldn't think of any that aren't too dense and dark, don't get too tall, and like this much moisture. (These beds, by the way, can be much wetter than the beds right around the house -- those are bone dry.) Heck I would have loved to have used tea roses, but 'Georgetown Tea' has gone by the wayside already. I didn't want very many tall plants in this garden, because I didn't want to block the view downhill to the pastures. We have so many evergreens here anyway -- the loblollies and the voids and spaces of woods and pasture are really the bones of the landscape. The idea was for this area to be a billowy mid height cottage-type garden with lots of whites and pinks and purples and violet-blues, with some yellow thrown in for contrast.
This garden consists of islands and streams that allow water to drain away from the house
and this little island bed. Parts of these beds will likely alternate between sopping wet and desert dry, and the plants within will likely flow and ebb too, depending on the conditions that they thrive in. This fall I added a bunch of spiderwort divisions, Iris virginica seedlings, Gulf Coast penstemon, Scutellaria integrifolia, Crinum digweedii (an actual scientific name), hardy ginger lily and Hemerocallis citrina (a daylily that seems to like a lot of moisture) to the edges of the beds.
Littlewing is responsible for giving me the daylily bug. :) The year before I got a number at really good prices, and some through trades; also, being a compulsive seed collector, I will grow more.. Here's a few:
I want a lot of bearded iris up here, but in some areas it'll have to be water and Siberian Iris.
I've also put zigzag iris Iris brevicaulis underneath the Japanese beautyberry, along with several starts of purple violets. I want this stuff to spread, because I need the groundcover. I. brevicaulis is a native iris that likes part shade; it's one of the iris used in the hybridization of Louisiana Iris. While not itself a water iris, it tolerates flooding just fine and is also in one of the beds in the floodplain.
Part III: The Vegetable Garden