From The Sperry Garden – August, 2008

Our landscape gets little direct sunlight. Areas that once were turf are now relegated either to groundcovers or container gardens. Sure, I could put in big beds for caladiums, coleus, begonias and impatiens, but I really prefer to feature large container plants that give our garden more depth and texture.

The plants you see here occupy space that once featured Delaware Valley White azaleas and St. Augustine. Both went by the boards about 15 years ago, and it’s been an annual event to place large foliage plants into this private little corner each spring. Let me call out some of my friends.

First and foremost, there is the dwarf yaupon holly in the foreground and the Willowleaf holly top/middle. They, along with several other hollies and nandinas unseen from this angle, make up the winter backbone of this part of our garden. Around and between them you’re seeing one of several palms, Xanadu splitleaf philodendron, asparagusfern, crotons, chicken gizzard plant (yellow and green variegation on left) and Dragon Wing and Torch begonias.

Lest anyone ask, we made the path stones many years ago. As the concrete puddled and just began to set, we pressed rock salt (ice cream salt) and a few interesting leaves into its surface. I used a rock hammer to knock off the square edges. That, plus years in the ground, have given the stones a nice patina. The pine bark mulch serves to unify everything and keep the weeds down. In the winter, when all of the plants head back into the greenhouse, we’ll uncork a few new bags of mulch to tidy everything up for the year.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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