Friday, May 22, 2009

Pot Farming: The Porch

The spring porch is a welcome, a thoroughfare, a hangout and a place of reflection.  After a winter of entering the house from the garage mud room, it is like seeing an old friend whom you have not seen in 5 months.

On a weekend morning, I like to go sit like a lizard sunning in my PJs on the front steps with a cappuccino, watching the yard wake up.

During the day, it is the expressway of our family, kids running in and out of the house to play, me in and out while plucking weeds, a drop off of toys, baseball paraphanalia and other detritus. 

During the evening, after the kids are bedded down, my husband enjoys his Calvados and cigar while staring at the silvery twilight sky and treetops.

I found my porch plants... sad to say, last year's variety did not grow back... with the exception of my favorite, a strange type of bleeding heart that grows tall and delicate, with tiny leaves and alien looking pale pink florets that cascade down the plant when it is mature.  It's coming back quickly - last week, it was just sprouting up, this week, it looks like a plant!

Finding Color in Green
The philosophy I used when doing shade planting is color... it is already darker on the porch;  it is all logs and stone.   Bright greens, uniquely shaped leaves, and colored leaves were the plants I looked - for both my porch and the 80' planter.  I found them!

I had five pots to fill - my sixth broke apart so I must replace it at some point soon.   I chose the following plants, each deer proof, hearty to -30 degrees and that thrive in the shade:

a forest violet with deeply green leaves, that blooms profusely (although not yet)

a brilliant bushy lime green fern

marmalade huechera, a wonderful amber-colored leafy bush

a low-growing fern whose color gradates from deep green to pale green, with purple veins

my alien bleeding heart
and my colorful fern

The last thing for the porch is four large hanging baskets over the log railing, trailing with ivy and bleeding hearts.  I have yet to get these going, but by June 1st, I will have them up - I'm still hedging my bets on a late frost, and since they hang in the air, I don't want to risk losing them.

I'd also like to add three more pots to the porch, tall ones for visual height, but my budget is small this year, and I may have to simply hollow out some old logs lying around and use those... come to think of it, that would look pretty cool.

This Memorial Day Weekend, we are re-seeding the lawn and barbecuing like crazy!

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