Inspired by the fresh rain and cool weather this past week, our Aurora Perennial team attacked the gardens near the Perennial shed in the back of the retail yard. The Growing Place staff maintains over an acre of Learning Gardens at each location. Planting new varieties for study, dividing established perennials, and moving perennials when shade trees grow is what gardeners do for fun.

Joannie says “It’s not too late to plant new, or restore tired gardens. We spent the afternoon cleaning the back gardens but about 20 minutes on our new layout and planting!” With a good and beautiful selection of plants available, Barbara, Kyle, and Katie worked efficiently together towards the end of the day. One of the gardens is a Rock Garden in full sun with dry soil. The other Perennial Garden receives more tree shade on its average soil.

Barbara dug up a large ornamental perennial grass Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’ and divided it into 5 new plantings, placing them near stepping stones along the bed’s edge. The Growing Place Garden Mix was added to amend the soil. Divide and transplant perennials at the opposite time of the plant’s bloom period. Joannie says “Remember the ‘A’ months, April and August, for dividing and transplanting perennials.”

Allium ‘Serendipity’ was planted to compare with the existing ‘Millenium’ and ‘Summer Peek a Boo’ Alliums. Kyle likes them for their round shape, easy care maintenance, and resistance to rabbits. They will add height and color, blooming lavender from early to late summer. Allium are good for cutting, or can be left as winter interest, when the flower orbs turn to snow covered globes.

Popular ‘Montrose White’ Calamintha was planted to attract more pollinators while ‘Black Scallop’ Ajuga will fill in and provide year round living mulch. Ajuga in the other bed is not performing its best, and Kyle thinks the soil doesn’t drain as well there. They can take full sun to full shade, growing well under trees, preferring average, well drained soil. So, they’ll test it out in a drier place.

‘Hot Stuff’ and ‘Dazzleberry’ Sedums form short, tight mounds of drought tolerant, green foliage with blooms from mid summer to early fall that will attract butterflies. They compliment the Thundercloud sedum planted in the bed across the sidewalk.

The restored Rock Garden, now full of young, healthy perennials is also home to old rocks donated from customers over the years. Each garden tells a story. What will you plant to develop yours?

Walk our gardens and find your inspiration. Ask our experts what will grow best at your place. Begin a new garden, design a landscape, or bring life to a small space. Be willing to try something new and don’t be afraid to try again.