If you build it, it will come

Previously, I mentioned this new bed that was calling out to be created once I moved my fenceline last year. As the vision came together finally this spring, the hardscape was completed with much digging of grass, removing of rocks, amending of dirt, and adding Benda-board edging.


I’m letting the bed tell me what it wants. I’ve done this same process with all my planting beds so far; each one has its own personality and color scheme, and each one was created as a blank canvas germinating inspiration.

While far from complete, the color scheme is underway with warm pinks and creams contrasting sweetly with the greens and purples of the leaves.

Warm pink is a color I adore but for some unknown reason haven’t yet put anywhere else in the yard. With the unexpected purchase of the Canna Lilly Pink Sunburst and a few gorgeous pink/cream Tropical Sage (Salvia Coccinea) for shade, I was off and running.


Canna Lily Pink Sunburst


Tropical Sage (Salvia Coccinea) Coral Nymph

I found this little Ivy Geranium (a tender perennial) with blooms that are cream with warm pink edges.Ā  The purple in the leaves also echoes the color in the Canna leaves.

Since I’ve fallen in love with my other lavender Ivy Geranium, I thought this was a good addition that I will enjoy. However, I put this one in the ground while my lavender version is in a container that gets protected in the winter. Perhaps I’ll uproot this one and pot it for the cold weather as well.


Two white Salvia Greggii blend easily in the small part of the bed that gets a bit more sun. I’ll see as the year goes on if they get enough hours of sunshine to be happy or will need to be moved to a sunnier location.

A Mardi Gras dwarf Abelia was in another bed and not doing well, and I realized its pink-edged leaves would work in the new bed, so up it came and changed neighborhoods to the warm pink zone.


Pink Turk’s Cap went into the shady areas, of which there are many. An aggressive grower, it should flourish and cover many of the shady spots fairly quickly.


A few annual pink-blooming begonias fill in the bare spots while I wait for the perennials to grow. Bamboo Muhly is getting started in a part shade location for background interest.



Evergreen shrubs are next on my list, and again, I’m waiting for the bed to talk to me. So far, I’m loving this one a lot. It has been fun, and the color is soothing and exciting all at once.

What do you suggest adding to this bed? I need shade-loving evergreens of varying heights, and perhaps some new warm pink blooming plants that I don’t know about? I’m considering adding a Rose Mallow. What would you use for contrast? I would love some winter-blooming warm pinks, but I can’t think of any. This bed is under deciduous Cedar Elms, so winter plants would get full sun, while spring and summer plants are morning sun or shade only. Suggestions please, everyone?


16 thoughts on “If you build it, it will come

  1. What a great bed! It looks lovely already. Hmmm, I’m also searching for shade lovers for a planned woodland garden. Would azaleas work in your area for their evergreen habit? There’s also a variegated variety I have that has similar pinkish, salmon tints. Or Pieris? Although that may be too large. Not evergreen, but Astilbe has a nice billowing structure, and a decent height. Can’t wait to see what the garden ends up with. Glad I came across you blog!

  2. Oh, you’re killing me here! I adore Azaleas, and the pictures I’ve seen of Astilbes make me want them a lot. Not familiar with Pieris. However, our soil here is very alkaline, and our summer weather is extreme beyond description. Neither Azaleas nor Astilbes will live here, much less bloom. Good ideas, I wish I could do them!

  3. Have I mentioned that I love your color choices for this bed? I love the color choices for this bed. And I have both the Coral Nymph & Pink Sunburst & would never have thought of planting them together– brilliant!

    For color contrasts, I’d definitely add some purple and white foliage plants– purple heart, white monkeygrass or lirope, I’d try some purple fountaingrass even though it’s kind of shady, and maybe a tall purple-leafed castor bean (I have some seeds somewhere I can share)…

    How about some ajuga? It’s evergreen, makes a nice groundcover, does well in shade, and you can get it with various foliage colors that include purple & some pink. Lowe’s used to have a bunch of different kinds, but I haven’t looked lately. And as a bonus– blue flowers in spring.

    There are also some aloes that’ll take dry shade and bloom in orange-pink, which might be a bit too orange for this bed. I have a couple blooming now if you want to take a look. I got mine @ The Natural Gardener.

    And of course, there’s oxalis, purple-leafed or pink-flowered, and you can underplant the deciduous flowers with tulipa clusiana ‘Cynthia’ or tulipa somethingorother ‘Lilac Wonder’ for some early spring color before everything else really gets going…

    As for the rose mallow, isn’t that more of an icy pink? I’m not sure how well it’d go with the peachy pinks, but it could be interesting.

    P.S. It’s been raining here for an hour! I hope you’re getting it too. šŸ™‚

  4. Robin, it’s already looking great! As for other plants, Barbados Cherry would work there. (You do have to keep an eye on it, in my experience. It roots where it touches.) Meadow rue has creamy flowers and a very airy quality. Species tulips ‘Cynthia’ are cream and pink; groups of those could be tucked in here and there.

  5. Cindy, Barbados Cherry is so pretty, I’ll think about that! Good ideas you offered, thanks. I’m considering an oak leaf hydrangea, too, but it isn’t evergreen.

  6. Of course, Lori, you would add some purple šŸ™‚ ! Ajuga sounds great, good idea. And you’re right, the rose mallow is more of a cool pink – I don’t know what I was thinking. I want to get some salmon colored Irises – there’s one spot in the bed perfect for Iris. I do already have several white blooming things – a crinum Album and a two white salvias – as things grow I’ll see if I need to add more. oooh, you just made me think – an evergreen with white blooms would be nice -perhaps a rusty blackhaw viburnum. Two of you have mentioned the Cynthia tulips, I obviously need to check those out. We did get some rain this morning, but I forgot to set out my gauge. It’s so nice to have things falling from the sky! But what’s up with this wind?

  7. And there’s also that low-growing groundcover with white flowers that Pam has– Diamond Frost euphorbia, I think.

    You could also try a coralberry in that space, but in my experience, it’s similar to the Barbados Cherry– it roots everywhere it touches. If you decide to try either of these, let me know– I might be able to give you some since I have them both and I can just let it root instead of cutting them back in bounds.

    And man, the wind…you know it’s windy when the mostly deaf girl freaks out at the sound of it whipping around the house! Geez. Hopefully the fence won’t come down. One of my friends has already had a big tree fall in his yard today, but luckily it fell on the street instead of his house!

  8. P.S. If you do decide to try Cynthia tulips, want to put in an order together in the fall? I want to order a ton to try to naturalize around the yard and it’d save some money to put in a bigger order. I want to try the Chinese Sacred Lily too– the vanilla scent is supposed to be a-may-zing. Can you tell I got my Brent & Becky’s Bulbs catalogue last week?

  9. Sounds like a nursery trip is in order? And yes, that wind is crazy! I’ll bet that was scary for you, hearing that noise. It’s died down here, though we’ve had some power transformers blowing/exploding in the neighborhood and power has been flicking off and on. I hear the rest of the city is having power problems, I think especially around Pam’s new home area.

  10. How beautiful, I love all the plants you’ve added so far. For years, I’ve grown Turk’s Cap, but always red; I didn’t even know there was a pink available! I agree with some of the previous comments, ajuga and oxalis would fit the color scheme. Don’t know how you feel about iris (seems people either love ’em or hate ’em; I love ’em), but there are some lovely shades of pink that might fit the bill. Not sure if your garden would be shaded that early in the spring; they may or may not bloom there. Can’t wait to see the progress in your new bed as the seasons change.

  11. Nola, I love Iris and have, in fact, left a spot for them. I’ll get some planted in the fall. Where do you purchase your Iris? I have Turk’s Cap in white also in my front fern bed. I think red is more commonly found, but it’s really pretty in white and pink and, to me, less harsh to my eye once in full bloom. Thanks for the ideas.

  12. I know this wouldn’t add flowers as such. But my two cents is I would add hostas to fill out the area. And ferns. You could get the ferns with more color. Both add an airy lightness to a garden, while filling in the spaces. You’ve done a wonderful job so far, so I know it will just come to you what next to do.

  13. Now I KNOW it’s a conspiracy! Hostas don’t grow here either, Brenda. All of you have named wonderful, gorgeous plants that are lush and I love them. Unfortunately, they won’t grow in Austin’s alkaline, clay, rocky, dirt (or lack of it) as well as the extreme heat. I would love to have hostas there. And we must think alike, Brenda, because I’ve already purchased a few ferns that can live here in the shade. Today I thought about adding a variegated Pittisporum in my large empty spot that I’m saving for an evergreen shrub. What do you think?

  14. Hi Robin, I have a variegated Pittsporum that I have pruned up. It is in full bloom right now and it smells amazing. It is also known as Japanese mockorange for this reason. I have posted a picture of it in my latest post.
    I also have a burgundy witch hazel that has interesting foliage and magenta blooms?

  15. Ooh, ESP, good thinking. I just planted my variegated Pittisporum this past weekend in that bed, and it is covered in fragrant blooms. I hope the near-freeze tonight doesn’t do it any damage, cause I”m looking forward to scenting the garden with it. I’ll bet your mature one is just amazing. Burgundy witch hazel – also known as Loropetalum or Chinese Fringe Flower, right? So far I have five of those in my garden – er, yard šŸ™‚ – and I think I’m maxed out! Obviously, they are a favorite of mine as well. Two of them are just opposite this new bed. I love how the purple leaves and green leaves combine this time of year.

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