My original plan for this area had two ornamental grasses on both sides of the main pathway. I followed that plan by planting two Shenandoah switch grasses which are at their peak right now. The leaves turn a beautiful red color that extends down from the leaf tips. The happy accident here was when one of our extremely heavy winds knocked a sunflower down to the ground. I planted the sunflower from a seed but I really intended it to stand on its own as sunflowers do - the whole wind thing changed everything. The sunflower continued to live after the fall and since I didn't want to deprive the bees and the finches their favorite food I let the sunflower stay put. Here is how it appears now:
The fallen sunflower branched upward and created a bushy sunflower peeking above the switchgrass.
This photo is a little closer and you can take a look at the foliage of the switchgrass. Switchgrasses make great substitutes to miscanthus which can be invasive in some areas. Switchgrass is a native which are always great to add to the garden.
Just to the right of the switchgrass is a planting that uses Russian sage, rudbeckia, and Shasta daisy. The Shasta daisy was a trade brought home from a plant swap last year. It was one of those plants that I really didn't have the right spot for so I stuck it in this garden. In this instance I think I got lucky since it blends so well with the rudbeckias and the Russian sage behind them both. Next year this display should look fantastic as all three plants are in their second year in this spot. I've found that the third year is when to expect great things from perennials!
The rudbeckia and the daisies are almost inverses of each other. The yellow centers of the daisies blend nicely with the yellow petals of the rudbeckia.
And one more gratuitous garden shot... you're not opposed to gratuitous gardening are you?
These small zinnias are a very cool find this year. They are called Persian carpet and even though they aren't carpeting the area it would look very awesome if they were. I only ordered one pack of seeds but you can count on the fact that I'll save the seeds from this group for next year. Each flower looks like a tiny little fire lighting up the garden.
And here's the last gratuitous gardening photo for this post: a Monarch butterfly on a cosmos flower.
Stay tuned for the next post to see the rest of the plantings near the garden shed!