Looking for a way to make a splash in your garden this year? Want a focal point in your yard that doesn’t break your back or the bank? Then a Solar Star may be just what you are looking for! It only takes an afternoon to plant and is virtually carefree afterwards.
Following the diagram, you pace out a circle of about six feet in diameter. In the center of this circle you plant a Sum and Substance hosta. Around it, equally spaced, plant six Francee hostas.
Sum and Substance is the largest hosta variety, measuring at about 3 feet tall in maturity. Francee hostas are much smaller, being a variety of traditional hosta and they measure about 1 foot in maturity. Sum and Substance is a deep green in color while Francee is a bit lighter green with white edging. Like all hosta, they grow fastest in partial to full shade. Combined, these hosta will form a full circle of various shades of green with a bit of white to spice it up a bit.
Hosta die back completely in winter, making cleanup a breeze. They also get larger each year without fear of over crowding. They will eventually completely fill the space and be a lush center all summer.
As you can see in the diagram, the spokes of the sun are triangular. Simply plant 6 Fireball Marigold plants into each section. I planted 3 at the widest part of the triangle, 2 in the middle and one at the tip. Do this for each of the 8 pie-shaped sections.
Fireball Marigold is my personal favorite Marigold variety. It’s bright neon orange with golden yellow, flowers continually and the blooms are long lasting.
No Marigold variety requires much work and one of the benefits to the Fireball is that there is no need for dead heading. Simply plant and enjoy. As they are annuals, they will die in winter.
After the plants have all died back, simply rake the area clean and you are done. Fall cleanup takes less than 10 minutes.
After planting, your new Solar Star garden will require very little, if any work. Watch it to make sure it has adequate water but other than that, it’s essentially carefree.
That’s the basic Solar Star. If you want a bit more drama, in an outer circle around the tip of the points, you can plant a low growing edging of Dusty Miller. If you like, you can then fill in all the available space left with garden thyme. Thyme gives off a sweet scent and repels weeds. The Dusty Miller is silver tinged and makes a perfect circle around the Solar Star.
If you choose to use Dusty Miller, know that they will return the following year and while they do not die back completely, you can cut them back to the ground for the first 2-3 years and this will produce a plant that is bushier.
Thyme is completely carefree after planting. It dies back in the winter but will not only regrow the following spring; it will reseed itself without becoming invasive.
Alternatively, you can encircle the star with rocks to show it off.
That’s it! Spend a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon in Spring and all summer and into fall you will have a beautiful focal point in your yard that requires nothing more but for you to enjoy it!