Cynthia’s Garden

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When we moved to Hamilton, Ohio, in 1998, we purchased the adjacent lot to our north, so we call it the North Lot Garden.

The slope above the retaining wall was covered with winter creeper (Euonymus fortunei, Zones 5–9) and scrub trees that overhung the house. We cut down the trees, and with a lot of effort we removed the winter creeper.

It is a steep slope, so planting was a challenge. I relied on oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia, Zones 5–9) and crape myrtle to anchor the area, gradually filling in with perennials. It is a sunny, south-facing slope that welcomed coneflowers (Echinacea species and hybrids, Zone 4–9), reed grass (Calamagrostis × acutiflora, Zones 5–11), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida, Zones 3–10), Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum, Zones 4–9), and other sun-loving perennials.

I took the Master Gardener class from the Ohio State Extension after retiring in 2011. I enjoy working on public gardens with new friends and learning more about unusual and/or hardy plants that I can add to my garden.

wild ginger next to a fern‘Brilliance’ autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’, Zones 5–8) and wild ginger (Asarum canadense, Zones 4–6) border the path in the shade of the house.

garden bed full of coneflowersConeflowers and Joe Pye weed dominate the slope between the oakleaf hydrangea, accented with Stokes’ aster (Stokesia laevis, Zones 5–9) in the foreground and a few Verbena bonariensis (Zones 7–11 or as an annual) interspersed.

pink bee balmReed grass anchors the slope among the bee balm (Monarda spp., Zones 4–8) and Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum × superbum, Zones 5–9) that always bloom on my birthday. Hummingbirds are frequent visitors to the bee balm.

slope garden full of perennialsPhlox (Phlox paniculata, Zones 4–8) bloom just above the retaining wall, with crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia, Zones 6–11) in the background.

pink oakleaf hydrangea bloomsWhile this oakleaf hydrangea is turning pink for summer, blue mist (Caryopteris × clandonensis, Zones 5–9), in the background, is not yet blooming.

Joe Pye weed in front of tall treesJoe Pye weed is standing out against the backdrop of shade trees.

Stokes asterStokes’ aster shines out in purple splendor.

phlox in front of hydrangeaThe phlox almost looks fluorescent against the hydrangea blossoms.

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