Summer is far upon us now, and yet the gardens at Grimm’s are at their peak performance. Jeryl Grimm has a walk through her kitchen garden lined with annuals and some perennials for the enjoyment of her family and those who visit her. Around their house, Doug and Jeryl have planted many trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals to both enjoy and test the viability of plants in the hot Great Plains landscape. Their gardens along with the arboretums and displays at Grimm’s can be used for influences on other’s gardens.
The above photo shows the amount of variety sold at the greenhouses. Jeryl uses as many of the annuals as possible fit neatly into the garden walk.
The three above photos showcase the different color combinations used by Jeryl and Doug along the walkway. When you stroll down this walk, the air is alive with the buzz of bees, butterflies, and insect pollinators. I use this walk to help determine which annuals are best for pollinators, so I can incorporate them more into landscapes.
By mixing annuals into perennial beds, you can have constant color and texture even when some of the perennials stop blooming. Any open spots in a landscape could be filled with annuals that provide a bridge of color between differing perennial blooms. Above, vinca, coleus, and salvia brighten the openings between statice, garden phlox, and perennial salvia.
Power combinations of mass color such as the above two photos can really brighten and lengthen the bloom time of empty spaces. While these beds are purposely left empty for annuals, sometimes you can find a spot in your landscape where a hole has opened up, either from the die-back of spring ephemerals, or the pest eaten plants (such as the middle of my shade garden where blister beetles have destroyed my fall anemones).
The above three photos show the waterscapes that have helped shape Grimm’s Gardens landscape division into the powerhouse it is today. When these gardens were built, they were used as examples for the many waterscapes Grimm’s has put in over the years. You can see the addition of shrubs, trees, perennials, and annuals that have softened the look and feel of the hard stones surrounding the water. As water moves, your eyes follow it to its source, looking for waterfalls and springs. With multiple textures, bloom times, and massing, you can create an eye-pleasing landscape around your water feature.
Grasses in mass, such as above, give the eye a place to rest on after the mix of textures of a well-thought landscape. Lawns do the same thing, but with different results. Lawns are often considered a “dead zone” for insects and animal life. However, mass plantings of grasses such as the above ‘Karl Foerster’ or the ‘Northwind’ Switchgrass behind it are available for insects such as skippers, or as a place for ground nesting birds to habitat. Think about adding such places into your landscape. It is okay to have some mowed lawn, especially if you have young kids or play games like bocce or lawn darts, but lawns that are just mowed, sprayed, and repeated with little or no use should be minimalized to allow for greater diversity in of pollinators, birds, and small wildlife that help maintain a healthily balanced garden.