08 April 2008

slope on the brain

On Saturday afternoon I began raking out the part of the slope that I want to plant this year. It’s about 25 feet long, 7 feet deep on the left (the steepest part), and 3 feet deep on the right. Here’s a photograph of it. The area to be planted is outlined with orange trail marker tape. It looks like a very large geometry lesson.

To the left is the Rosa rugosa, which is beginning to fill in and to the left of that is Helianthus “Lemon Queen” and some blackberry bushes. These are all tall, so I want something tallish on the left margin. Maybe the red osier dogwood I just ordered?

I would love to get my hands on maybe three Potentilla fruticosa “Katherine Dykes” for the next drift. It’s a little shorter than the dogwood will be. Then I’d like to have maybe three Microbiota decussata, which turn bronzish in the winter and will feather nicely along.

So. Strong verticals and bright winter interest with the red osier dogwood; a graceful, sweeping shape and yellow flowers throughout the summer with the shrubby cinquefoil; and then low feathery greenness with the Russian cypress that will transition into the catmint I planted last fall over on the right.

This all feels a little overwhelming. I’m fearful that I’m going to take out the grass so I can plant the new stuff and the whole slope will collapse, or that I’ll hate how it all looks when I’m done shelling out the bucks for the cinquefoil and cypress, or, or, or.

But as Alan says, if I don’t like it, I can change it and try something else.

But, actually, anything is going to be better than a weedy slope, right? Right? Right.

I’ll call around to some nurseries to find out whether they have “Katherine Dykes.” I can’t find it online anyplace except Nature Hills Nursery. Does anyone in the blogosphere know anything about this place?

The Russian cypress I can order from Bluestone Perennials. Small plants, but good prices and very good quality, I’ve found.

Forward march.


  1. Jared .. your plans sounds really interesting ! .. I think it is going to look so beautiful !
    The two companies yo ordered from always looked good to me on the net .. I have looked them over for a couple of years .. but being Canadian I don't order from them too many rules to follow.
    i think you are going to be happy with your combination of plants .. and your friend is too right .. you CAN change it if you don't like it .. but leave it for a couple of seasons to make sure .. let it fill in .. try to be patient ? .. which is too funny for me to be saying that .. I'm always impatient and ready to change things ..
    Good luck with the planting .. sounds amazing !

  2. Hi Jared -- I don't think you'll be disappointed with your plans. I love that you've allowed for some winter color as well. I can't wait to watch the progress on this lot -- your property is so lovely!

  3. Thank you both for your support! Now that I've made some decisions, I feel like moving ahead will be much easier. Joy, you're right, patience, patience . . . I will be patient . . . And Nancy, I'll post pictures, I promise! Thanks again, you two.