Bed 6 (Grad Garden, inner corner of front courtyard)

General description

This rectangular bed is across from Bed 1, on the east side of the main central courtyard. It is tucked into the corner with the glass windows and the back side of the auditorium, and has become known as the Grad Garden: a showcase of colour and greenery, to serve as a backdrop for students graduating in June. Two sides of the bed have a wide retaining wall, often used for sitting. There is only one surviving Shrubby St John’s Wort bush, due to the drought conditions in this space. The Grad Garden is the first of the beds that was brought to maintenance level.

The Grad bed was the first one to undergo a major overhaul; see `The Big Dig’ for the year 2013-2014.

5 June 2016

The annuals are starting to settle in, and more of the perennials are in coming into bloom: pink lychnis, purple cranesbill geraniums, blue delphinium, white field daisies, tubular white blossoms on the beardtongue. It still looks a bit sparse along the back wall — I’ve got several purple coneflower plants which could go in to fill the spaces.

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2 June 2016

Over the past few days, annuals have been added to the bed:

  • petunias (white, purple)
  • dusty miller (silvery jagged leaves)
  • marigolds (orange, yellow, red)
  • portulaca (multi-coloured)
  • four o’clocks (white, pale yellow)
  • cleome (white, pink)

Now it’s time to let the new plants settle in and start showing their colours as we approach the end of June and graduation.

Right now: deep fuschia pink lychnis are starting to bloom.

27 May 2016

Worked on the Grad Garden this morning (one hour, before the sun reached it all). From the `To do’ list (13 May), last year’s dead growth has been removed and it’s been weeded. I also cut back the wooly lambs’ ear — it was a bit too enthusiastic … It’s too hot to move plants around or add annuals — hopefully there’ll be some rain over the weekend, and next week will be cooler. It looks like almost all the perennials have come back and are thriving — big shrubby plants 🙂 The mulch is bare in only a few spots so perhaps only one bag will be needed to top things up. Annuals will add punches of colour.

Right now:  The purple cranesbill geraniums are starting to bloom; there are a lot of buds on the blue delphinium (behind the geraniums); there’s a forest of lynchnis plants at the window end of the bed — once their fuschia pink blossoms start opening up, it’ll be quite spectacular.

13 May 2016

Right now: in bloom, some white and yellow tulips; earlier, there had been 3 clumps of hyacinth (purplish, pinkish, blue?). Perennials that have survived from last year: closest to the school windows, lots and lots of pink lychnis; yellow coreopsis that were along the back wall have only a few survivors (I’d like to replace with other tall yellow plants, less likely to spread so fast). In the central area, there are 3 purple cranesbill geraniums, 2 white beardstongue, 1 tall delphinium (dark blue). Here and there are various types of hostas, and a few field daisies. There are two spreading patches of woolly lambs’ ear, which will need dividing (or just pull out the extras). And at the south end, 6 day lilies. Some annual poppies (fuschia pink) are also coming up. Around the perimeter of the bed only some of the small hostas are coming up (I have some more of these at home). And at the far corner, there’s the small St John’s Wort shrub (yellow flowers), the only survivor of all the shrubs that were originally planted here.

To do:

  • Trim the dead stalks
  • Remove the occasional weed
  • Freshen the mulch.
  • Then plan for annuals (must survive full sun, little water) that make the bed a nice showy spot for graduation in June.
  • Additionally, some sort of sign or banner has been made in the past, to cover the large notice about on-site surveillance cameras — not something one wants in a grad photo!

Note: This bed is in shade only for the morning. By 11 a.m., in summer, it is in full sun until evening. As well, the inner corner by the windows is in the rain shadow of the roof above (lychnis are in that corner because they will survive drought conditions). This lack of both shade and water is what caused the original planting of shrubs to die off within a few years. The lychnis are bienniels: they push up a `rosette’ of leaves the first year, bloom the second, and then die. But if you spread their seeds two years in row, then every year there will be some doing rosettes and some pushing up flowers. So they seem to be perennials.

As with other beds, many of the perennials will eventually need to be divided, yielding material for periodic plant sales: lychnis, woolly lambs’ ear, day lilies, cranesbill geraniums, and hostas. 

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