This week, I asked Will Bridges, our horticulturalist for the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses to give you an update on all of the changes and upgrades he has for the garden in 2013. Our team walked through the garden back in the fall and gave Will an unabridged laundry list of recommendations. He has been working since the snow fell to edit this list and source these plants. From here, I am going to hand it over to Will and let him tell you about his changes in his own words. – Rodney

sensory garden

Lerner Garden of the Five Senses during Summer

I am using several new annuals for 2013. Lobularia ‘Blushing Princess’ will be inter-planted with Heliotrope ‘Marine’ around the entrance arch. Salvia “Black and Blue’ is going in front of the birches on the west side of the garden. We’re adding Amaranthus tricolor to a couple of locations near the front of the garden for some colorful height in the plantings. Our coleus bed was well received last year, so this year we’re trying some different varieties: Keystone Kopper, Marooned, and Neptune’s Net. Across from the Sound Stone, a planting of Zinnia ‘Starlight Rose’ mixed with Cuphea ‘Flamenco Samba’ should be flashy. Ornamental millet ‘Red Baron’, at five feet tall, will stand out in the fern bed along the lower pond.

I am also adding some new perennials to replace some that didn’t perform as well as expected. Platycodon ‘Sentimental Blue’ and Eryngium ‘Blue Hobbit’ will go in on either side of the weir for the upper pond. A new Coreopsis, ‘Mercury Rising’, will go behind the sound stone. This is a bright red tickseed that has been trialed for three years in Zone 5 so it ought to be a solid performer. Dwarf goatsbeard, Aruncus aethusifolius, will go around the deck on the lower pond. This has really nice fine-cut foliage that will work well with the other plants in that location.

I am in the process of tracking down a really nice small tree. Carpinus japonicum, Japanese hornbeam, which has hops-like fruit, glossy green foliage and a soft yellow fall color. This will go near the first deck at the back of the garden. In the same area, Cornus alba ‘Ivory Halo’ will replace the Sambucus that just did not pass muster. Another addition will be Parthenosisus cuspidata ‘Fenway’, a chartreuse Boston ivy that will climb a couple of the spruce trees along the north side of the garden. – Will Bridges