The Sun Garden is broken into two distinct parts. The new garden on the left, which I created by putting in a lasagna garden on top of the lawn within a month of taking possession of our home, and the bed that existed when we moved in, on the right-hand side of this photo and what I am now calling the Old Sun Garden.
Early spring I noted what was coming up, late spring I transplanted the Iris out, summer I removed the composter and added a tree and in late summer I divided the Hardy Geranium, but I did it all without an overall plan, after all I was mostly just monitoring in my first year.
It turns out that there was lots in there, but as with any garden that has not been kept up it required some maintenance. The blackberry bush needed to be kept in check to give the lilies on this side enough light -
and this substantial Phlox Paniculata which was hidden on the other side.
In September I removed both and transplanted them to my Corporate Guerrilla Garden, because they were pink.
While some people recommend a hand's off approach to learning about existing garden beds in a new home for the first year, I say "why wait?" if you identify key changes. Getting these plants in to their new bed with enough time to settle in and put down roots was the first step in figuring out what I wanted this bed to look like next season.
Obviously it had to work with the new Sun Garden to make one harmonious experience, though to be honest I had not really thought of that when I put the new bed in.
My preference is for lines of colour rather than clumps in a long and narrow bed such as this. In the photo above you can see how I dug up both the Peony and Heliopsis which were large, healthy and perfect candidates for dividing, and spread them about along the side of the house. The Peony in front of both window wells and the Heliopsis all along the wall under the windows where it will serve as a vibrant, long-blooming backdrop.
(The blackberry bush came out and went into a box in my garage where it sits to this day.)
In the newly-created, empty 'front' of the bed I planted 80 purple Liatris that I had to move from the Monet Garden, where they clearly had not been getting enough sun. Among them I added three Phlox Orange Perfection. I have been striving to find more orange plants, and purple is the contrast colour in this otherwise sunny-coloured bed; hopefully the bloom time of these two will overlap in a gorgeous purple/orange display.
Also under the windows are 50 Darwin Hybrid Tulips (a bulb I tried once without luck but not in as sunny a spot), and a dozen or so orange Hyacinths under the Cherry Tree.
There are no low growing plants at the front of this border, it is filled with big, tall plants because I want those walking along the path to feel immersed in it.