I Like the Islands!

Earlier this week I spent an afternoon outside with my oldest daughter who had a half day off from kindergarten. She was running around outside and playing on the swingset while her brother (our youngest) was napping in the stroller nearby. Since he rarely ever naps I was not even remotely tempted to tempt fate by moving him indoors and stayed outdoors looking for something to do. Let me just say that something to do is never far away!

What I ended up doing was completing a new island bed that I worked on earlier in the summer. I'm a big fan of using multiple island beds to break up the yard into smaller sections. Every time a new island garden is added it creates a new zone along with new pathways to walk down. I've always thought of pathways in the garden being just as important as the plants in the garden. The paths take you places and create a structure for organizing the garden. They can be as natural or as formal as you want them to be as long as they lead you onward through the garden.

Before this island was just a single viburnum (Viburnum dentatum). Then I added a yellow knockout rose I bought on a discount rack. I spaced it out several feet away from the viburnum with the intent to fill in the gap in between with mulch and other plantings later. A couple months passed by and I had a minor inspiration. I went over to my 'Husker's red' penstemon and used the easy propagation method for propagating penstemons. Then I brought 6 small rooted sprigs of penstemon and spaced them out between the viburnum and the rose. Eventually I'll have to move them when the viburnum spreads too wide but I enjoy having to do that since every time I move plants I end up with extras - funny how that works! I also divided a ponytail grass (Stipa tenuissima) into three sections and replanted it into a larger mass planting. Since I saw those for almost $4 a piece in the stores this year I may have saved myself $8 with that minor little task (They divide very easily.)

Here is the end result after dividing, planting and mulching.


By spring everything should be settled in and ready for new growth. There is a purple coneflower that was the result of an "I need to plant this somewhere, oh this spot looks good" moment. Usually when that happens I end up having to move it later! The bags of mulch that I used were broken open at the store and I received a discount for purchasing them and since most of the plants were free this small garden expansion cost less than $10. Originally the viburnum was also a discount rack find which I have been thrilled with each of the last two years. Who says discount plants don't work out?




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