Here's the challenge: This area of the backyard (I call it the "Birdbath Garden"...duh) goes from hot sun near sidewalk to deep shade under the trees. I've tried many different things with this area, including taking out most of the grass and putting down wood bark mulch -- HATED that!! I've planted just about everything I could think of around the birdbath: tulips for spring, thyme for ground cover, all sorts of perennials, you name it. NOTHING does well here except for the year I surrounded the birdbath with containers of geraniums (and those don't look real great until later in the summer). I always go into this project with beautiful visions of what it will look like and every time I end the season very discouraged.
This area looks good in grass because it breaks up the various areas. But... the grass under the shade needs to be replanted several times a year, and the grass around the sidewalk dries out, no matter how much water it has. Sooooo...... what do I do? My husband is thinking of planting buffalo grass in the area. I like that idea, but you need to make sure that it is a variety that will grow in shade. As the catalogs come in I put my virtual glasses on and envision many ideas. There are nice collections of wildflower seeds. Wouldn't it look good to "naturalize" this area with buffalo grass and wildflowers? I like that idea very much. But here we go again. Most wildflowers need a lot of sun. Another idea... ground cover. Maybe I should explore that more. The problem here is that this area does get a lot of traffic from maintaining the birdbath and flower beds. In the winter it is exposed and gets lots of cold snow and wind. I have zillions of vincas that we inherited next to the fence and I'm tired of them. They are also difficult to walk among without tripping.
How about a nice big water feature that would replace the birdbath (although I need to keep the heated part for the winter)? Don't think we have the energy or money to do that, but maybe I could do it on a smaller scale. I could place some rocks around the birdbath and build up around them? But we are finally making progress in removing tons of red rocks that used to cover this area, making it difficult to plant in areas. What to do? Right now I'm lost. But that's what winter is about, right? Dreaming and making plans. So, I'll be looking at more catalogs and doing some more planning, and I hope to come up with a solution that will work. Back to the drawing board!
If anyone reading this blog has any ideas, please let me know.