A Mowing Nightmare Becomes Eye Candy

By Kerry Ann Mendez

The July weather in Maine is usually gorgeous - sunny, dry and just what the tourists love. However, this can often mean that lawns can suffer and brown out while gardens pant for water.

As a garden designer, I like to work with plants that can endure stretches of inconsistent watering (although even drought tolerant plants need water at some point!). Two summers ago, I designed and planted a "ledge" garden for my sister Kim. This rocky outcrop is in full sun in her backyard and is a focal point looking from the window over her kitchen sink.

Included are pictures that I took before I started working on the bed (note the browned out grass from extreme heat and drought) and right after I installed the garden (three hours later).

Before

Before

Before

After

Here is a photo I took the following summer. I've added a few more plants since the original planting. My sister is careful to water the new plants for a week or two after planting, but after this "coddling" period, the garden is pretty much left on its own!

Rock Garden

Ledge Garden

Below are some of the sun worshippers in this Zone 5 garden. We carry all of these at Estabrook's (based on availability).

Coneflower 'Cheyenne Spirit' - 18-24", Zone 4-8

Dwarf Nepeta 'Cat's Pajamas' - 12-14", Zone 38

Panicum 'Cheyenne Sky' - 30-38", Zones 49

Also included:

If you're looking to overhaul one of your gardens or a troublesome spot in your yard, I'm now booking garden consultations for the summer within 25 miles of Estabrook's in Kennebunk. Click here to learn more.

Kerry Ann Mendez
KERRY ANN MENDEZ is an award-winning garden educator, author and design consultant based in southern Maine. Her latest book is The Budget-Wise Gardener. You'll now find her at Estabrook's consulting on garden design, answering your gardening questions and much more.