Garden Spaces: Plans for a Colonial Garden

| December/January 2011

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    Illustration by Gayle Ford

• Pinks (Dianthus spp.). Cheerful traditional flowers in a range of pinks, reds and whites. They are low-growing perennials and some annuals that form tidy mounds in the garden.

• Violets (Viola spp.). To plant near the edges of your garden, choose either the perennial V. odorata or some of the readily available annual pansies or Johnny-jump-ups. They’ll stay under about 6 inches, adding a bright splash of color without obscuring the view.

• Myrtle (Myrtus communis). This evergreen shrub can be clipped to form a formal hedge, or left to grow into a more natural shape to enjoy the numerous small white flowers later in the summer.

• Lovage (Levisticum officinale). This medicinal and culinary herb is a hardy perennial that grows to about 5 feet. It has a celery taste in the stems, leaves and seeds.

• Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea). Enjoy these beautiful vertical spikes of tubular flowers; don’t use it for medicinal purposes, despite its pharmacological history, as it is toxic, even fatal. Foxglove is a tough biennial, flowering in early summer of its second year and reaching 6 feet or more in bloom.

• Globe thistle (Echinops ritro). The silvery-blue, almost metallic-looking flower balls of this plant provide fascinating texture in the garden, but be sure to cut off the stalks to prevent too much self-seeding; at the end of the season, leave one or two to ripen and spread a bit of seed for next year.

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