Lisa Remby sent in today’s photos.
After many years of living in the Midwest for work, my husband and I decided to move back to Massachusetts for retirement in 2020. Like the Pilgrims, we landed in Plymouth, on the south shore, about 40 miles south of Boston, in garden Zone 6b. Coastal breezes and sandy soil create a perfect climate for hydrangeas, grasses, sedums, and other perennials that prefer fast-draining soil. Because our home was new construction, this garden was an opportunity to start from scratch. The building blocks were several Japanese tree and shrub varieties such as white pine (Pinus parviflora, Zones 4–7), black pine (Pinus thunbergii, Zones 5–8), lilac (Syringa reticulata, Zones 3–7), dappled willow (Salix integra ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ Zones 5–7), various maples (such as Acer palmatum, Zones 5–9), and hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa, Zones 4–8). A long, indirect stone walkway from the driveway to the front door is anchored by 25 lavender plants (Lavandula × intermedia, Zones 5–8). This path helped to divide the rectangular front space into several smaller bedded areas dotted with large rocks from the construction site, along with bulbs and perennials. We have just marked the third summer of our new, full-sun garden, bringing us much pleasure and opportunities to chat with neighbors as they stroll by.
This is how the beds looked after they were filled with a variety of perennial sedums, guara, grasses, and a hardy cactus. The open lots to the south of our house made the first summer challenging, as the plants didn’t have much shelter from gusty coastal winds and blowing sand.
The bed closest to the front porch is set aside for a carpet or tapestry garden—a bed for a collection of low-growing perennials. A recycled rainwater irrigation system was installed as part of the house beds to provide drip irrigation.
The front far corner of the garden showcases (left to right) Digitalis hybrida ‘Arctic Fox Rose’ (Zones 5–9), upright sedums (Sedum ‘Pink Bomb’ and ‘Brilliant’, Zones 4–8) along with oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Sikes Dwarf’, Zones 5–9), and Monarda didyma ‘Purple Rooster’ (Zones 4–9), as well as blooms from Heuchera ‘Grape Expectations’ (Zones 4–9).
A barely blooming stalk of Allium amethystinum ‘Red Mohican’ (Zones 4–9) lords over the tapestry garden, which includes creeping thymes such as Thymus ‘Annie Hall’ (Zones 4–8) and wooly Thymus pseudolanuginosus (Zones 5–8), low-growing stonecrops such as Sedum ‘Coral Carpet’ (Zones 3–9), and blue fescue (Festuca ‘Elijah Blue’, Zones 4–8).
This view of the carpet garden features Scotch moss (Sagina subulate ‘Aurea’, Zones 4–8), Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’ (Zones 4–8), Scotch heather ‘Tip’ (Calluna vulgaris, Zones 4–6), and ‘Red Dragon’ Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Red Dragon’, Zones 5–9). In the background, the showy sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora, Zones 5–9) is in full bloom on the gate arbor. We now have a house built next door that frames the front garden nicely and protects it from wind.
In midsummer, the front beds were full of showy bulbs and perennials such as Allium sphaerocephalum ‘Drumstick’ (Zones 4–8), Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed, Zones 5–9), Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum × superbum, Zones 4–9), and blooming oakleaf hydrangea.
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