New Perennial Garden
We are currently working on installing a new perennial garden in the front yard. I have been growing the plants from seed over the Winter, and Ian's brother Trevor came over last week to dig out the sod. (He does yard chores for cash - it's a great arrangement!)
Here is the location of the new perennial bed.
We call this area "the triangle." This area is infamous for being a pain in the butt to mow, so Ian is happy we are digging it up! He is glad to never have to mow it again! At first we were just going to put a nice ground cover like purple winter creeper in this area, but then I caught the flowerbed bug and decided I wanted to use this full-sun site to its maximum potential! Leafing through gardening magazines all Winter can be detrimental to the fun of a husband's weekends in the Spring - LOL! Poor Ian.
Rather than spend mucho dinero on plants to fill the new bed, I decided to grow all the plants from seed. I spent an hour at the Jesse Israel garden center in late Winter picking out the perennials I wanted to grow. Not all perennials can be grown from seed, so there is a smaller selection than when you buy plants from a garden center. I decided on verbena, coreopsis, shasta daisies, salvia, purple coneflower, evening primrose and ruber (ie, Jupiter's beard). Since we have daisies growing along the sidewalk and salvia and coreopsis growing in the flowerbox, I wanted to incorporate these three plants in the perennial bed for consistency across the various planting areas. I chose the purple coneflower, evening primrose and ruber because they bring a variety of pinks / reds to the bed which will help tie in with the reds of the knockout roses. The verbena are a trailing variety that will add interesting height variation to the front of the bed, and the lacy foliage will offer a nice contrast to the rest of the plants whose foliage is more solid.
I sowed over 50 seeds in individual peat pots and waited. They began emerging about 10 days after sowing. The bottom tray in the photo holds the perennials.
After about 2 months they were ready to start being hardened off outdoors. I potted up some of the more fragile-looking plants in plastic containers to give them a better jump start to life.
The coreopsis has been the most impressive grower. Although the germination rate is not excellent, I recommend trying this one from seed, as it grows fast and the plants are strong and healthy.
The verbena, shasta daisies, salvia and primrose had an excellent germination rate, though the verbena germinated much slower than the other plants.
The coneflower, ruber and coreopsis had a lower germination rate, but I am still happy with these plants.
We still need to dig some peat into the flowerbed before planting, and I would like to give the plants I potted up some time to form better root systems before planting them. It will probably be another two weeks before we actually get the plants in the ground. I have a lot of other garden chores to finish up though, so I'm not in any hurry!