PNW Gardening forum: Planting around garden art

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ImageGwen
Apr 13, 2010 3:33 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
I have a fairly large metal peacock that I want to plant around to set him off. The area is mostly shade. Behind the peacock are evergreen huckleberry and cedar, so a big backdrop of green.

He's next to the driveway and opposite the walkway to the front door, so I'd like to really set him off. He has a fan of feathers that I could climb something up. He's probably about 4' tall.

His name is Squiggy. He's a handsome fellow, isn't he!

Thumbnail by Gwen

ImageGwen
Apr 13, 2010 3:34 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
The area around him needs to be cleaned up. He's not set in permanently yet. I'm going to set some pvc in concrete and then slide him into that to keep him upright.

Thumbnail by Gwen

ImageGwen
Apr 13, 2010 3:36 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
I wish it were sunnier and I could grow clematis up his feathers. I might be able to get vincas to grow beneath him. I don't want it to be too 'busy' tho because I want the focus to be on him.

Thumbnail by Gwen

ImageGwen
Apr 13, 2010 3:37 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
I could move him to a sunnier location but this is the place where he'd stand out the most. Some areas no one would see him. We have a lot of 'hidden garden rooms' because of the way the house and gardens are set up. I have garden art all over but really wanted him in a spot where he would be seen by everyone. This is just across from the front walkway entrance, so you either have to walk by him or drive by.

I also wonder if he's supposed to be pushed down into the ground all the way so he's sitting on the ground. That would make him considerably shorter. (And more stable.) It would really change the whole look. Until I saw these photos, it never occurred to me that he should be pushed down. I'd have to make sure I wasn't running into any utilities because that post is really long!

Thumbnail by Gwen

ImageJan
Apr 13, 2010 4:24 PM CST
Name: Jan Jackson
south Jersey
Squiggy is gorgeous. I bet he has to fight off all the peahens that gather round. He definitely needs to be the focus.
ImageGwen
Apr 13, 2010 4:40 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
So what do you think I should plant around him or do to set him off?
ImageJan
Apr 14, 2010 7:15 AM CST
Name: Jan Jackson
south Jersey
When I looked closer I saw the length of the post and do think he needs to be deeper. Then some kind of ground cover maybe and a background so his beautiful tail feathers could be seen and admired..

I recently moved a Harry Lauders Walking stick in front of the foundation wall so all the twists and turns could be seen. They were lost where it was before. Now I really look at it more.
ImageGwen
Apr 14, 2010 7:50 AM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
Would you push it all the way down or how far? What kind of background?
ImagePixydish
Apr 14, 2010 8:58 AM CST
Lakewood, WA, USA
I get him all the way into the ground so he looks like he is standing on the ground. I think that's the way he is supposed to be displayed. Since you have a background of dark green, how about doing some smaller shrubby perennials or actual small shrubs that have a brighter, chartreuse green as their color? That would give the background some depth and the color would make him stand out more. There is a butterfly bush called 'Evil ways', put out by Cistus nursery, that has chartreuse leaves and magenta flowers. That would look nice. Along with that there is a cape fuschsia that has the same colorings. I cannot remember the name of it just now. It would be a nice combination with the butterfly bush. Then you might add some dwarf golden barberry shrubs. I have some that never get more than about 18" high. I love them. No pruning and they offer beautiful color and form all year (except winter).
If you want to underplant him and stick with the same color scheme, Sedum 'Angelina' would be a good choice. No muss or fuss, stays low to the ground. It can take some partial shade but does need sun. I take it this location gets at least several hours of sun? If it's too shady these plants won't do as well, except for the barberry which seems to do fine.

Overall, I'd stick with a bright color scheme with just a couple of colors and not a lot of variegated leaves. That way the plants remain a backdrop.
ImageGwen
Apr 14, 2010 1:21 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
No, this area doesn't really get any direct sun at all. Or if it does, I doubt it's 2 hours' worth. I'll have to keep watch on it and see what it gets.
katie59
Apr 14, 2010 2:50 PM CST
Name: xxa aax
bbb, bbb
I totally agree. He should be flat on the ground. What about something like Creeping Jenny in that chartreuse color to set him off so you can see his features?

Where'd you get him? I love the re-used metal yard art.

ImageGwen
Apr 14, 2010 4:19 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
I love all that re-used stuff too. Just can't possibly have too much of it. Once my husband said to me, "Could you not buy anymore of that rusty metal stuff?" I just looked at him and said, "No." Really, what was he thinking even asking a question like that!

I got Squiggy at a nursery in Tuscon. I had a heck of a time getting him in the rental car. The woman who worked there and I spent about an hour trying to get him in and he just wouldn't fit. So I drove away very unhappy. I was a few blocks away when I had an epiphany on how I could get him in, so I did a quick u-turn and raced back. LOL I was very determined to have Squiggy!!! Even so, he barely fit and I do mean barely.

What would you think of putting a large rock in front ot him or a grouping of large rocks around him. So he could still remain up high but would look like he was sitting on a rock. I'm afraid if I push him down all the way into the ground, he'll get lost. Plus I LOVE big rocks.
katie59
Apr 14, 2010 5:32 PM CST
Name: xxa aax
bbb, bbb
Great story. Where there's a will . . .

I like rocks, too. It might work. He just needs to be anchored at foot height or he gets lost in perspective.

ImagePixydish
Apr 14, 2010 9:42 PM CST
Lakewood, WA, USA
Yes, I agree with that, too. He needs to be anchored at foot height. Otherwise he looks like he is floating in midair. I have to laugh at your husband's question and your response! Classic! Just an astounded 'No.'. HA HAHAHAH! Somehow, that just cracks me up. What was he thinking???
ImageGwen
Apr 15, 2010 7:46 AM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
He's just a laugh a minute. Once, after the arrival of yet another box of co-op plugs (the vast majority of which have died), and after I had potted them up, I guess he went outside and counted them (does a person have nothing better to do?!?) because he casually mentioned to me, "Did you know you have over 90 of those little plants?" LOL Jim would never dream of telling another person what to do, but I think this was his way of suggesting I might want to actually plant them into the ground.

He has since completely given up on me.
ImageJan
Apr 15, 2010 9:03 AM CST
Name: Jan Jackson
south Jersey
Love it. Yes, what WAS he thinking?
ImagePixydish
Apr 16, 2010 9:57 AM CST
Lakewood, WA, USA
OMG! He COUNTED them? Mike would never dream of torturing himself in that way. I think he prefers to be blissfully ignorant.

I've been wondering why so many of your coop plants die and I wonder if it's the potting soil. I find that I have to amend the potting soil right out of the bag, no matter what kind it is, with grit or some other thing that improves drainage. Otherwise, it stays too wet and I've lost a lot of things that way. Is it possible that's the problem?
ImageGwen
Apr 18, 2010 11:40 AM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
I don't think mine are too wet. Possibly too dry! But it seems to be universal - whether I put them in pots or in the ground. With the heucheras, I think I didn't keep them watered. With other things, like the astilbes, phlox, etc., I think it was the plants. Zero made it. Same with pulmonarias.

I had great luck with hostas and bulbs. Also with clematis, but I lost most recently due to leaving them in pots too long and not watering. Last summer I could not keep up with the watering. I lost a lot of stuff. Hence the irrigation being put in at the end of last summer.
ImagePixydish
Apr 21, 2010 9:38 PM CST
Lakewood, WA, USA
Well, that's really discouraging. I've lost so many things in pots, but generally I lost them over the winter, especially if water wicked into the bottom of the pot because there was no space between the pot and the surface. I can't count the number of things I've lost. Maybe I don't want to count, actually.

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