The Evolution of the Birdbath Garden

Today I put the final touches on the birdbath garden for the 2008 gardening season. It's come a long way since it's inception last fall. In the beginning it was merely a birdbath with a couple plants next to it. A few irises, two coneflowers ('Sunset'), and a butterfly bush made up the whole garden.

Later I added some discount salvias and expanded the area. Here is what it looked like at the beginning of June. The coreopsis was grown from seed in the fall and I added a couple ornamental grasses (Miscanthus sinensis 'Zebrinus') were planted on the left side for their foliage.

In July I added the stone border and a few other small plants like Salvia 'Black and Blue' and a phlox. You really can't see them too well from the photos. The purple leaf plum was doing well despite the deer nibbles.

Recently I added this dogwood to replace the birch that kept getting eaten by the deer. My wife was wanting a dogwood and this one was a very good choice. It's an 'Appalachian Spring' dogwood which is a variety that was developed at the University of Tennessee and is currently it is the only anthracnose resistant dogwood variety. Unfortunately it became a target for a rutting deer. The leaves were never touched, just the bark on its trunk. I'm hopeful that it will survive.

This week I added a couple new plants to the garden. The first was a native coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus) that was on the edge of our property. We are bordered on one side by a woods where many coralberries are growing. While it can spread through runners it should be containable in the birdbath garden area. The other addition was a 'Birkwood' Viburnum (Viburnum X burkwoodii). What is really cool about this viburnum is that it has evergreen foliage, something that I know is lacking in our garden. I definitely need to add more evergreens. It will also produce brilliant white fragrant flowers in the spring and provide the birds with food in the form of reddish berries that darken into the autumn. I've been adding viburnums to the garden every chance I get. This one was another discount plant find at 50% off!

Here's how the garden looks now. Unfortunately darkness was approaching when I took the picture but maybe you can get an idea of how far the little garden has come. The coreopsis finished blooming over a month ago as did the salvias but the butterfly bush hasn't quit. I moved a volunteer coneflower to the new deck garden and I'm planning on moving the Zebra grass to another location in the spring.

It's fun to look back and see how far things have come. I wonder how it will look next year? Gardens are always evolving!

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