Over the decade we have lived in our current home, we have transformed what was once two acres of woods with a too-large lawn into what we think is an attractive series of interconnected gardens: shrub beds, perennial borders, xeric beds and specimen trees – and a lot less lawn. I have willingly contributed the labor while my wife, the Master Gardener, provided the intelligence and design prowess.
But there comes a point in a garden’s evolution when the place is, well, full. For a period of time after that, new plants can be introduced by filling in gaps. Inevitably, however, you run out of space and, short of cutting down more trees to open up new territory, you have to learn to live within your garden footprint.
We reached the saturation point about three years ago. But nothing has diminished my wife’s interest in adding new specimens. A trip to a nursery ‘just to look around’ inevitably results in something up coming home with us. When those new shrubs or trees or perennials arrive at out home, there begins a game of musical chairs that I have come to think of as ‘the Rule of Three’.
Unfortunately, there’s a problem. Our shrub bed already contains more than twenty specimens. She begins walking the bed. She views the bed from multiple angles. Finally, she makes a determination: the Baptisia (false indigo to the rest of us) has to go. It never looked good there and it didn’t bloom this year until late July and then only for a few weeks.
And so we have the second hole. Out goes Hypericum, to be replaced by the displaced Baptisia.
Now, you can only imagine what happens half a dozen new plants are brought in at once…