The Evolution of the Birdbath Garden

Today I put the final touches on the birdbath garden for the 2008 gardening season. It’s come a long way since it’s inception last fall. In the beginning it was merely a birdbath with a couple plants next to it. A few irises, two coneflowers (‘Sunset’), and a butterfly bush made up the whole garden.

Later I added some discount salvias and expanded the area. Here is what it looked like at the beginning of June. The coreopsis was grown from seed in the fall and I added a couple ornamental grasses (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’) were planted on the left side for their foliage.

In July I added the stone border and a few other small plants like Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ and a phlox. You really can’t see them too well from the photos. The purple leaf plum was doing well despite the deer nibbles.

Recently I added this dogwood to replace the birch that kept getting eaten by the deer. My wife was wanting a dogwood and this one was a very good choice. It’s an ‘Appalachian Spring’ dogwood which is a variety that was developed at the University of Tennessee and is currently it is the only anthracnose resistant dogwood variety. Unfortunately it became a target for a rutting deer. The leaves were never touched, just the bark on its trunk. I’m hopeful that it will survive.

This week I added a couple new plants to the garden. The first was a native coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus) that was on the edge of our property. We are bordered on one side by a woods where many coralberries are growing. While it can spread through runners it should be containable in the birdbath garden area. The other addition was a ‘Birkwood’ Viburnum (Viburnum X burkwoodii). What is really cool about this viburnum is that it has evergreen foliage, something that I know is lacking in our garden. I definitely need to add more evergreens. It will also produce brilliant white fragrant flowers in the spring and provide the birds with food in the form of reddish berries that darken into the autumn. I’ve been adding viburnums to the garden every chance I get. This one was another discount plant find at 50% off!

Here’s how the garden looks now. Unfortunately darkness was approaching when I took the picture but maybe you can get an idea of how far the little garden has come. The coreopsis finished blooming over a month ago as did the salvias but the butterfly bush hasn’t quit. I moved a volunteer coneflower to the new deck garden and I’m planning on moving the Zebra grass to another location in the spring.

It’s fun to look back and see how far things have come. I wonder how it will look next year? Gardens are always evolving!

13 Replies to “The Evolution of the Birdbath Garden”

  1. Dave it looks great. Next yr. it will fill out even more. You will have a beautiful garden.

  2. anonymous aka Lola Sorry hit wrong button.

  3. It looks great Dave and I’m sure your birds loves it/ Have a great weekend Tyra

  4. Dave – that little garden has come a long way and looks great. I love the edging around it. My husband and I have been talking about what to do around our birdbath and we have something similar in mind.

  5. Good morning Dave, wow, it looks wonderful! I love to see progressive shots like this that show the development and growth of young gardens. I hope your dogwood makes it. The foliage is great!

  6. It looks really full & lush for a new addition this year Dave. Next year it will be even more spectacular since the perennials will get bigger. How nice to see how your birdbath garden has progressed over the past 4 mos. I added a new bed this year in May & I am excited about how it will look next summer too. 🙂

  7. What a big change and I notice a consistent thread here-start small and slowly going bigger. I commonly do this too. Hard habit to break. I did not know the Burkwood viburnum is evergreen. I am excited because I just added on this year too. The dogwood has pretty color. I bet Jenny loves it.

  8. Dave, all the work you’ve done looks spectacular. And I’m sure the birds love it. 🙂

  9. Lola,

    I hope so!


    Thanks! I think the enjoy it, although they haven’t really told me. 😉


    I can’t get enough of stone. It’s the perfect border since it is so low maintenance and looks great!


    It kills me every time I think of losing that dogwood. I’m really hoping it survives!


    Sometimes when you look back like this you realize that you couldn’t remember what it started out like. Next year it probably will look quite different again!


    I think that is how most gardens evovle. Unless you have all the money in the world and can do what you want right off the bat. In the beginning you have a thread of an idea and as your tastes change you add things and change them around. The viburnum said on the tag that it was evergreen. My suspicious nature of big box stores made me do some more research and I found that it is a hybrid of a Koreanspice viburnum and a Service Viburnum. Unfortunately they are both natives to the orient and not here but they sure are neat! I may attempt to hybridize it with a native in the spring, I wonder if that will work?

    Thanks Nancy!

  10. Yup, try it out Dave.

  11. First time visitor and enjoying very much. Some great ideas for me to put in effect next spring!

  12. I think some of the best gardens evolve as yours has…little by little tweaking.

    If you want evergreen foliage, try the cascading rosemary (if hardy in your zone). Mine has had tiny blue blooms for months now. Fragrant, deer proof, and you can cook with it.

    If you’ve got room for a big shrub, osmanthus fragrans is my fave (I’ve written about it in my blog).


  13. I think you’ll be glad you moved the miscanthus, and that budlea might be troublesome in the future; some get huge. As things fill out, you’ll see what needs done. It’s lookin good so far.

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