Year Three in my Garden: Are the Perennials Leaping Yet?


You know what they say about perennials – that in year one they sleep, in year two they creep and in year three they finally leap. So let’s see how that’s working out in my new(ish) garden.


Even with a small townhouse garden like mine, going lawn-less is much easier with the right groundcovers, and I’ve found a few.  The photo above shows ‘Johnson’s Blue’ Geranium on the left, then Sedum takesimense (not blooming yet) with lots of Comfrey a neighbor gave me, seen blooming like crazy behind it and covered with bees. The geranium isn’t a big leaper in my garden but thankfully the Sedum and Comfrey are.

Other perennials are leaping only in the sense that they’re large enough to be divided – like the Penstemon ‘Husker Red’ and  Tradescantia virginiana seen behind the groundcovers. My three Amsonia hubrichtiis are slowly getting bigger and the Echinaceas have neither leapt nor grown large enough to divide, but a friend gave me her extras, so finally this border will, I think, look full this year. The back of the border is already full thanks to a tough-as-nails passalongway from a former neighbor  – Siberian iris.


Above, the view entering the garden from the rear sidewalk. I recently added a Redbud at the back of the border, but it’ll sleep for a while.


Above, the view from my patio offers a close-up of a great-performing perennial – Heuchera ‘Frosted Violet,‘ recommended as a longer-living purple than many other cultivars. So far, so good.

New Back Garden2

I can’t resist mentioning the ‘Ogon’ Spireas that I recently moved to just in front of my ‘Yoshino’ Cryptomerias. The Ogons looked fabulous blooming with daffodils, after which their chartreuse, willow-like foliage is just as pretty and lasts well into November. On the right it’s shown with some Pulmonaria that I brought from my former garden and have moved many times since then.  It scoffs at the abuse.


Perennials in my front yard are lagging in their leap year but good old azaleas are taking up the slack, at least for now. Later, the greatest leaper of all – Black-eyed Susan – will dominate.

Jealous?  Me?
So here’s my question for Evelyn – how the hell did you get your garden to look like that in only one year?


  1. I hope your comfrey doesn’t become a thug like mine did. I’ve been trying to rid myself of it for years now, but it still keeps popping up. In fact, it’s so rampant that all the uprooted ones I dumped at the back edge of my property have now formed a low hedge about 10-12 feel long! I’ve actually had people driving by that stop if they see me and ask if they can have some! My reply generally runs along the lines of “Jesus, yes!”

  2. Cannot wait for your backdrop hedges to grow.

    Creating, finally, your own magical world.

    Seeing neighbor’s homes? Not in my realm !!

    Best part of your garden aside from pretty? Obvious you are having FUN.

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

    • Exactly! I was pleasantly surprised to discover that creating a new garden is WAY more fun than tending an old one. At least for me, plus having a manageable size garden for the first time. Susan

  3. It took 10 years or more until the transdescanta vir. became a nuisance. It pops up everywhere.

  4. And by the way, I went back and took a slower look at the pictures – you’ve done a really masterful job, Susan. This is beautiful, and you should be very proud of what you’ve accomplished!

  5. It is beautiful! I also have no lawn, just garden, paths and patios. It is a great thing for those of us who do not have children at home, dogs who need to run about, or croquet sets.
    I am in zone5b (outside of Albany) but we have many of the same plants. My Ogons are glorious right now.
    As a ground cover I love Geranium macrorrhizum, or big root geranium. If you have not tried it, you might check it out.
    Enjoy your lovely setting!

  6. Beautiful! I’m another who wants a private backyard.

    I don’t think I tried comfrey, and *I* can kill mint, but borage is damned invasive. Trying to eliminate a local invasive native, Himalyan blackberry (how did that come to be a “native”? is a pain unless you hire goats.

  7. Susan, WOW, your garden has really filled in since I last saw it. It looks glorious! Love how you have thought carefully about where to place the woody plants so they will be able to stay and grow in their sites for many years to come.

    There are two kinds of comfrey: a self-sowing smaller one and a larger one that does not spread (except by forming larger and larger mounds). Also, you probably know that a new comfrey plant can grow from any piece of a root that is left in the soil, or dropped on the ground as you are moving the plant around (or digging it up to put it on the curb or in the trash).

    You reminded me how much I miss willow-leaf spireas. Such a fabulous plant, interesting in many seasons. I will have to add some to my new garden too.

    I agree with you, it is very fun to make a new garden. Lots of work, but lots of surprises and interest to reward us.

    Keep posting pics of your garden’s evolution!

  8. This is lovely, and encouraging to someone whose garden is developing far more slowly. It’s also a comfort to learn that I have company among those who have move plants again and again.

    What is the low mound with white flowers, front center of the first photo and showing up elsewhere too?


  9. Very nice photos and your garden looks lovely, you should be very proud of what you’ve created.

    It’s funny (and a little comforting) to hear that there are others who are apprehensive about posting photos of their own garden. I still have twinges of anxiety every time I post pictures of my garden!

  10. Hey Susan,
    This is a wow! I’m putting in a new garden after mine got ruined in a renovation and this is inspiration . . . Thanks!

  11. Your garden is looking really nice, Susan! I think it looks quite full for the third year. My own “new” garden has taken seven years to really feel as if it’s filled out.

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