Tuesday, July 02, 2013

ANATOMY OF A SUN GARDEN - breaking the rules

A virtual tour of my "South Lasagna garden" which I am officially renaming my "Sun Garden".

Although some experts suggest limiting use of the sunny colours to "no more than about 10 to 15 percent of really warm or hot colors for best design" I have my own ideas on this matter.  In my Ontario gardens I had too much shade to grow many of the most colourful flowering plants and now that I have sun I am embracing them wholeheartedly in what I am calling my Sun Garden.  It sure has changed a lot in the last month, including the removal of cedars that had come with the house.

My Sun Garden is primarily reds, oranges and yellows with perhaps 10-15 percent purples - so take that experts!
The second floor window is the best way to get an overview (literally).

Another rule I have read is that clumps look better than rows. But since my garden has such strongly defined borders being next to the driveway I have chosen to emphasize them by planting in rows all along the border. Nasturtium seedlings line the driveway and 11 Blanket Flowers line the grass path, alternating between "Arizona Sun", "Red Sun".
  1. The large triangle in the middle is made up of purple Iris and red Lucifer Crocosmia. Their foliage is so similar and their bloom times so far apart that they complement one another really well.
  2. The pale 'no smoking' symbols in the centre are Honeyberry bushes, the fruit of which has been described as a cross between a raspberry and a blueberry.  
  3. Behind them in the yellow circle I just planted a pack of burnt orange and yellow Marguerite Gloriosa Daisy seeds.
(Ignore the stones, they are only placeholders until I find something I really like to build up the edge.)

  1. Moving to the right we have three hearts representing orange Butterfly Milkweed. 
  2. The house shapes represent some kind of Bellflower that was here already, and that I divided into about 8 clumps. One of the few purples in this garden. 
  3. The red bullseye represent red Columbine, 4 plants and a pack of 'Bordeaux Barlow' seeds.
  4. Yellow lightning bolts represent yellow Leopard's Bane x 5.
  5. The dull purple "L"s could be Asclepias, I have not been sure since I bought them.
  6. The dark brown squares represent orange Iceland Poppies which have not bloomed so far this year.
  7. The small yellow bullseye mark where I have planted roughly 9 orange Asiatic Lilies, only 1 of whom has so far broken the soil 
  8. in that same space I also spread orange California Poppy seeds. I am not sure how their bloom times will coordinate with the lilies, but they could be spectacular together. 

  1.  On the left I have various Coneflowers represented by the small green shapes. Two each of "Hot Lava" and "Secret Desire".  Between the winter and the rabbits they are struggling.
  2. The light blue rectangle represents Rudbeckia GoldQuelle; bought three in the fall only 1 strong contender left.
  3. The red line in the middle left are three Helenium "Red Jewel".
  4. The blue triangles are red Lupine which are not happy in this continuously damp soil. I hope they do better in the sandy soil at the cottage.
  5. Yellow rectangle represents three red Bee Balm.
  6. Purple rectangle represents red Butterfly Bush - I think, but am not sure.
  7. Orange stars represent 2 Red Charm Peony 
  8. To the left, just out of frame, I have lined the border with Swiss Chard with its bright yellow, orange and red stalks.
  9. Over the entire left side, filling in the gaps between all plants and progressing really well are Coreopsis Roulette I direct sowed. Absolutely gorgeous; hope to have it 'take over' more than half the garden.

Spread across the whole garden (except for amongst the stalks of Iris and Crocosmia in the centre) are Scarlet Flax seeds.  
And finally, other seeds I tried but do not believe are germinating include a chocolate-orange Rudbeckia, Cherry Brandy Rudbeckia (red) and Brilliant Oriental Poppy (red) as well as some gentian blue Anagallis Mouron for contrast.

So as you can see, I am fully embracing hot summer colours in my "Sun Garden".  I will keep you posted with photos all summer and you can be the judge if it "sizzles" or is 'too hot to handle'. 



  1. I think that you, with as short a summer as you have, should plant all the hot, bright, sizzling colors you can and enjoy them for all they're worth! It's pure jubilation!

    I'm rather fond of a chaos of color as well. Can't wait to see yours in its full glory!

  2. What a lovely variety!! I usually stick with purples and whites just because that's my favorite color scheme, but I've started adding in more oranges and reds.

    1. I'll let you know when my post about my other new garden beds are ready - one is blue/purple and the other is white! I think you'll enjoy them.

  3. I love color anywhere, anytime. Looks like your garden is going to fit that bill just right.

    1. You'll love the follow up photos in late summer then I bet!

  4. WOW! That's fantastic! You've been really busy designing and planting. It will be worth it; it's going to look great!

    1. Thanks Anastasia, It is looking better every day.

  5. I didn't know the rules... I would plant whatever you want and it seems like you have given it a lot of thought and effort... Here is to your colorful sun garden.... Michelle

    1. Good thing I did not know the rules either, until AFTER I already had mine planned, LOL.


Posts from the Past