My Bird Bath Garden on June 1st

As I promised in my post yesterday (Birdbath Garden Layout), here is what our birdbath garden looks like right now. I'm pleased with the effect even though there are some small planting gaps in the garden. It needs a border but I haven't decided what kind yet. For now it's just a trench border. I might go with a stone border imported from the in-laws property.

I began the garden with the idea of creating a rustic birdbath. We were given a copper birdbath several years ago when we were living in an apartment. It was really designed for mounting on top of a deck rail but I was able to adjust the copper flaps at the bottom so they could fit on top of a 4x4. The 4x4 came from a wooden palette that I tore apart and recycled for this and a potting bench. I sanded the piece down and left some of the dark spots alone. Then I stained it with a cedar stain. You can still see some of the discoloration from the original palette but to me that just adds to the rustic look.

The grass around this birdbath garden needs some help. It was overtaken during the winter with an insidious weed called chickweed (my wife actually likes this one). It spreads rapidly and prevents other plants from growing in those locations. I've peeled back large clumps of chickweed from the area and it has left gaps of exposed brown dirt in the turf. My advice on chickweed is to get it before it spreads! Unfortunately that does mean some winter time weeding.

Here's the garden from the backyard, please ignore the sad looking back porch. It's been neglected and ignored but its day will come. We have some improvements planned like lattice work and a raised bed planter that we haven't had time to do yet. On this end of the bed there is a small purple leaf plum that should grow into a nice small tree. I'll try to keep it trimmed back that way it doesn't overtake the garden. Even without their blooms the the irises stand out with their sword like foliage. The 'Caradonna' Salvia nemorosa needs deadheaded, the work never ends. But is it really work?

Here you can see our coneflower reaching up to the height of the birdbath. There is another plant on the opposite side of the birdbath that just hasn't done as well as this Echinacea purpurea. They are both the same and I'm sure it will come along in time. The coreopsis is doing great. I couldn't have hoped for a better set of blooms from a seed plant. Fall is a great time to plant perennial seeds. When spring comes their roots are established and the plant takes off.

The post for the birdbath still has nail holes that stand out a little, but I'm happy with the look. Not to mention the price! To the left is the front of the bed. There are a total of five salvias in this bed with three coreopsis plants. The irises will get trimmed eventually and won't be visible due to the foliage of the other plants. I may need to move a couple of these irises to give them room to grow.

To the right is the back of the birdbath garden. On the bottom and to the right is a mum from the discount racks last fall. It's a good idea to pinch back the mums through mid-July to get a nice bushy plant for great fall colors. I like to cut back the mums and root the leaves to make more mums. I have 18 potted up that need transplanted and several more started.

These plants seem to do well together. The echinacea in the back with a salvia and a coreopsis (or tickseed, I try to avoid that name since it sounds pretty undesirable!)

Behind the birdbath is the butterfly bush. This one is starting to bloom. It was a discount plant last fall ($5 if I remember right). They are extremely tough plants that perform very well in Tennessee. Don't be afraid to cut them back when they get too large.

Here's a view from behind the garden. Coneflower and coreopsis.

I didn't get a very good shot of the Zebra Grass (Miscanthis sinensis 'Zebrinus') but I'll have some close up pictures of the plants later this week. For now just look at the first picture on the left in front of the salvia. I would like to expand this small garden later on with more perennials for a greater variety but for now I'm happy with the way it is going.

The garden should fill in more as the summer progresses. All of these plants are perennials which is great since I shouldn't have to replant anything here. They are also drought tolerant which as we all found out last year is a good thing!

I hope you enjoyed this short garden tour. I'll be sure to update you on its progress!

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