The picture on the left was taken just after I completed the birdbath and installed the first few plants. Irises, coneflowers, a butterfly bush and chrysanthemums became the first residents of the birdbath garden (for the layout see here).
Since then many more plants have been added. The coreopsis that I gathered as seed and planted last fall began blooming in late spring along with the coneflowers. I added two clumps of Zebra grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Zebrinus'), a purple leaf plum tree, a river birch and several 'Caradonna' Salvia nemorosa plants that I found on the discount racks.
The next picture was taken at the beginning of June. The coreopsis plants were still in bloom along with the salvias.
This month I acquired some stone for the border of the garden from my natural stone supplier (my in-laws). Most of the stones are limestone from the outcroppings found in many areas of Middle Tennessee but a few of the smaller ones are sandstone which is also fairly common.
Here is what it looks like now. The stones add a finishing touch to the garden and help keep the mulch contained. I used pine bark mulch since I like the look of a dark and loamy mulch and it's fairly cost effective! I put a flat stone toward the middle of the bed as a stepping stone for my convenience. That way when I need to prune or deadhead the butterfly bush or the ornamental grasses I can use the stepping stone and I don't have to step on the mulch. It should help me avoid some soil compaction.
After my return home last weekend I needed to freshen up the birdbath garden some. Many of the flowers had gone to seed and looked kind of disheveled.
This is the garden just after my return home. The coneflower petals were ragged and needed deadheaded to hopefully get a second flower display this fall.
The cones of the coneflowers were in good shape but for some reason the petals took a downturn. They probably needed more watering.
The butterfly bush has been blooming prolifically all summer. Not bad for a $5 plant! I trimmed up the deadheads on it and should get more and more blooms.
I'm very happy with this clump of Zebra grass, it's a variegated form of Miscanthus sinensis. This one was a discount plant that I divided last fall into four clumps. Three of the clumps came back and are doing well while one faded away. Three out of four ain't bad!
Somehow I ended up planting a salvia and a mum too close together. They are so close that their foliage and flowers are intermingled. This fall the purple flower stalks will stand out against the red flower heads on the mums. I'd better think about transplanting at some point!
I deadheaded the coreopsis but I didn't throw out the seed. I saved them and put them in a small tray to dry out. Pretty soon I'll plant them in pots or scatter them to the ground somewhere in the yard to create some stunning flower color in the late spring and summer. Coreopsis is very drought tolerant so if you are looking for something that does well in our Middle Tennessee area give some of the many kinds of coreopsis a look!
Thanks for visiting the birdbath garden, here's one last look at our rustic birdbath!