Tuesday, August 07, 2012


My parents have the most amazing built-in planter in their front yard.  With about 30 feet long and a plantable 15 inches across there is a lot of space to fill.

As you can see, they fill it with annuals, and my first instinct is always to garden with perennials, so I have been having some fun thinking about the challenge of putting in perennials instead.  Not that it is mine to plant mind you, but I just can help but think, 'how would I plant it?' if it were.

The first thing I thought of since it gets quite a bit of sun is to go with some Sempervivums.  
Then I read they don't like too much sun to get started but once mature can handle direct light, since the location seems perfect for it, so I would start with just 5 feet one year and see how it did.

I could easily picture a mixture of stones including river rock and slate, perhaps some driftwood. 
(Although it would be tricky with light conditions, if there was any way to get some moss into the mix that would look out-of-this-world.)
They can be quite dramatic in flower; the blooms are as rare as they are beautiful.

And there is really a great variety in the detail, including some versions that are covered in what looks like a spidery-web material ("arachnoi-deums", no surprise), which are the most tolerant of light.

It turns out that "trough gardening" is already 'a thing'.
While many arrived at trough gardening in an alpine style before me, most are not lucky enough to have such a large and well-placed trough to plan. 
(No, that should not read "plant", keep in mind I'm only visiting this garden, LOL)

It is hard top argue with the success they have had with the petunias, and the scent at their front door is heavenly, but still I cannot help but imagine other designs.

Aside from semps and rocks I also couldn't help picture some small evergreens, after all, we know they are plentiful at roadsides, as well as sedums so that their draping habit would soften the too-even edge of the trough.

While Canadian Gardening says semps grow to zone 4 only, the Winnipeg Free Press says I should be able to find a variety of succulents that survive here so it looks like this would at least be possible. 

Other plants suggested by Canadian Gardening for Alpine Gardening in Zone 3 include Creeping Phlox, Basket-of-Gold (which I had never heard of before but may have seen on a walk last night!), Saxifrage (another new one!), and Dianthus (not my favourite, but if they share optimal growing conditions with the rest then worth a try) .  

Having sunny options will clearly introduce me to many, many new plants, 


  1. That is an amazing planter..I am a novice and am always looking to learn as I don't think I have enough knowledge to form my own plans yet..except that I would like to continue improving on my wildlife habitat..Michelle

    1. The more I learn the more I realize there is to learn, so we will both keep up on our reading and learning it sounds like. :)

  2. Congratulations - you have been featured this week at Inspire Me Monday at Create With Joy!

    I loved reading about your parent's beautiful planter and seeing all of the beautiful pictures. I look forward to reading more of your blog as I make plans to beautiful my new home! :-)

    Create With Joy

    1. Sorry for the late reply, and thanks for featuring me.


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