Friday, March 14

Bird bath bed

A small bed close to the house contains one of our bird baths and so has for a long time been known as the bird bath bed. Like the bed of hellebores and snowdrops as this bed is overlooked from two of our house windows we planned that it would look good in spring.
If you look carefully you can see the hellebores in the background. The tree behind is a large magnolia which will shade this area once it is in full flower and even more so once its leaves grow.
To the left of the bed is the summerhouse. By the way if you are wondering why there is an obelisk by the bird bath, in the past we had a drip feeder that constantly dripped water into the bird bath to keep it topped up when we were at work. It's been left in place as the birds like to perch on it whilst waiting for a turn in the bath. Maybe I need something short growing to climb up it and disguise it a little.

This bed is raised behind a wall...
... which means not only are we able to appreciate the flowers at eye level but it also provides a good view from the house window.
There is a problem though! I need to think of what I can plant so that the bed doesn't look boring in summer. There are one or two ferns in there but I need something that can tolerate mainly shade and the splashing of the birds when they use the bird bath. It needs to be something that will still allow the spring bulbs to put on a display at this time of the year.

I have tried bedding out mimulus in the past but they didn't flourish. Astilbes didn't seem to like the position either. Ferns may work but we already have one fernery, Small hostas are a possibility but would they avoid slug devastation. Any ideas?


34 comments:

  1. What lovely spring photos Sue, there is so much yellow it's beautiful. The daffs here are only just about 6" out the ground so far, though I do have some lovely crocus flowering in the PT.
    Love the bird bath area. Personally I wouldn't grow anything round it because it's so lovely but also because any cats in the area would have the perfect cover for stalking the birds.
    Lovely photos, thank you for sharing them.

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    1. I don't really want anything too tall, Linda more ground cover and maybe something that will trail down the walls

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  2. What a gorgeous area, and you're lucky to have it at a raised level so that you can appreciate the flowers more. I wonder if there's a shade loving hardy geranium which would do well as they're such hard working plants. You need something which will fill the area and geraniums tend to spread easily.

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    1. I do have quite a few hardy geraniums, Jo but I'd like something a bit shorter growing and that won't interfere with the bulbs but thanks for the suggestion.

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  3. Such a pretty garden from so many points of view.

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  4. This time of year is definitely "yellow time". I'm visiting my daughter in France and her house is surrounded by flowering Forsythia.

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  5. I really do like this Sue - it must be such a delight looking out your window. What about some Dicentra eximia - King of Hearts flowers in my garden for most of the summer. The foliage is only now appearing above the soil. Epimediums might be worth a look too - foliage gets cut back late winter - will allow your bulbs all the attention they need and when they've finished flowering their foliage looks great all year round. They come in a wide range of colours and heights, I'm sure there would be something too suit.

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    1. It;s like having a large window box, Angie. I'll look into your suggestions.

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  6. I expect hostas would be an open invitation for a buffet table for the slugs & snails. Which is a shame as it is a lovely area.

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    1. Probably, Joanne, especially as they would hav to be the diminutive ones.

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  7. It is very nice Sue.
    What about the hosta "Halcyon". It is a small hosta and it is blue, tough and a shade lover. It is supposed to be slug resistant. It is on the whole left alone by the slugs in my garden.

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    1. I'm looking for something even lower Alain. I do have an Halcyon on a pot and believe it or not it was one of the worst for slug damage last year

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  8. Lovely daffodil springphotos, I like this raised birdbath bed. What do you think about a border of Vinca minor which can hang over the wall and around the birdbath Hostas with blue leaves, which are more slug resistent.

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    1. Vinca is a possibility, Janneke although maybe a bit too vigorous

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  9. A host of golden daffodils - they look terrific en masse. What about Heucharas for under planting the bird bath - they don't seem to mind a little shade .

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    1. We have heucheras in the front garden, Elaine and they tend to cover the daffodils unless severely cut back in spring

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  10. The daffs look lovely Sue! I was going to suggest Foxgloves for the area, but of course they are tall! Carol Klein seems to talk a lot about plants for shade- maybe look up some of her choices? She certainly suggests epimediums, and also trilliums, which look intriguing!

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    1. They would be too tall, Jill definitely need something very low and maybe trailing. It's a difficult one!

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  11. A member of our gardening group detailed plants she used for her shade throughout the year under "plants for shade" at http://gardenersfridayforum.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/signs-of-spring.html

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    1. Thank you L, I'll take a look. I think the difficulty will be in getting something low growing that won't affect the bulbs.

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  12. It's a lovely bed Sue, I don't have any suggestions for summer, but no doubt you will find something that works. I love magnolias, lucky you having a good sized one. I've just put a tiny white Stellata in the front garden. I'm hoping it grows well, it's had a battering from footballs in the back garden and has lost a branch or two. Good luck with the bird bath bed, I'll be interested to see what you decide on.

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    1. CJ The shape of our magnolia is really as a result of it taking a battering by builders when we had the extension built.

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  13. Wow.. beautiful daffodils. We can't grow it here.

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    1. I'm guessing most of our spring plants would struggle in your climate Endah.

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  14. Your daffodils look stunning Sue!

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    1. Thank you Pumpkin Lady - such a pity the display is relatively short loved.

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  15. What a lovely Spring bed.....I wish I had some good suggestions but my mind has gone blank....good luck with it.xxx

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    1. Thanks, Snowbird - so has mine!

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  16. A nice area there, Sue! Brunnera 'Jack Frost' perhaps? It works in my garden as you will have seen in my current post. The beautiful patterned,big leaves brighten up shady places in the summer but at this time they are small :-D

    A big sigh here... at seeing your birdbath ;-( As you may remember, we 'had' the same one but sadly not now. I have kept my pillar as a landing spot for birds near my tiny rockpool pond but sadly the bowl split completely in two after hard frost/cold two winters ago.

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    1. I do have a brunnera Jack Frost elsewhere in the garden, Shirl and it is pretty .

      What a pity they don't just sell the top bit of bird bath,

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  17. It looks so lovely right now I would struggle to know what to do with it for another season!!

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    1. I'll have to see what I can find in the garden centres Tanya

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