The Pear Tree Border


The deck-flanking side of the new Pear Tree Border.
The deck-flanking side of the new Pear Tree Border.

Greenleaf Garden is starting to take shape. We've cultivated a healthy lawn and started our raised veggie + cutting garden. The next item on my list had been to plant an ornamental garden, but plans change. My husband had his heart set on a fruiting pear tree, so I pivoted and made the Orient pear tree he got for his birthday in mid-April the centerpiece of a mixed bed. We settled on a spacious, sunny spot on the east side of our deck for what we have officially named The Pear Tree Border.

Our Orient Pear tree is still very young and spindly, but still serves as a great anchor plant for the border.
Our Orient Pear tree is still very young and spindly, but still serves as a great anchor plant for the border.

I had always intended to plant a lush border along this side of the deck. The Orient pear gave me my anchor plant and guided my choices for mixing a selection of plants that will grow together harmoniously in terms of size, shape, and color.

I love the volume and vibrance of the "Karl Rosenfield" peony.
I love the volume and vibrance of the "Karl Rosenfield" peony.

My plant wishlist for The Pear Tree Border was full of blousy, flowery, full-sun-loving varieties. Inspired by the arrangements in Christin Geall's Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style, I crafted a planting schedule dominated by purples and yellows, accented with a few whites and pinks. In addition to an array of color, I wanted to have fragrant flowers closest to the deck. I also wanted a good mix of heights to balance out the existing camellia shrub, the new pear tree, and the heights of both the house and the deck. I concentrated my selections on successional blooms, pollinator magnets, flowers for cutting, and evergreen presence. Peonies, dahlias, hydrangea, and jasmine were musts. Here's the planting list I landed on:

  • Achillea "Moonshine"

  • Buxus microphylla

  • Coreopsis "Moonbeam"

  • Dahlia "Nadine

  • Dahlia "Ahoy Matey"

  • Dahlia "My Forever"

  • Geranium "Rozanne"

  • Hydrangea paniculata "Phantom"

  • Hydrangea quercifolia

  • Ilex glabra

  • Iris siberica "Caesar's Brother"

  • Lily canadense"Leichtlinii"

  • Monarda "Blue Moon" (a dwarf variety)

  • Nepeta "Walker's Low"

  • Phlox paniculata "Purple Flame" (a dwarf variety)

  • Paeonia "Karl Rosenfield"

  • Paeonia "Flame"

  • Paeonia "Sarah Bernhardt"

  • Trachelospermum jasminoides

*Dahlias were all sourced from Swan Island Dahlias.*

I always stage my plantings while they're still in their nursery pots to make sure the layout feels right.
I always stage my plantings while they're still in their nursery pots to make sure the layout feels right.

The plants were installed over the course of two weekends and are settling in well despite the recent heat wave and lack of rain. Early morning waterings and a hefty dressing of mulch are helping them flourish. And while the peonies are nearly finished blooming, the nepeta is going strong and keeping the pollinators happy. The monarda is just beginning to bloom and the achillea and phlox aren't too far behind.

Colton helped us give all the new plantings a good soak.
Colton helped us give all the new plantings a good soak.

It's too early to see any signs of the dahlias or lilies since they were planted as tubers and bulbs. I can't wait until their first bits of green peep through the mulch in a few weeks time. It's wild to think that they'll end up being some of the tallest plants in the border by the end of the summer. When the heat waves passes, we'll add lattice to the base of the deck and metal edging to clean up the borders and give the bed a tidy look where it meets the lawn.

The dwarf monarda "Blue Moon" is just hitting it's stride.
The dwarf monarda "Blue Moon" is just hitting it's stride and has a lovely, minty aroma.