July 18, 2016

Summer Garden Scenes

The scenes in the garden keep changing as the season progresses.  This west garden is still one of the most  consistently colorful areas, but the backyard is getting better.  Rosy-orange 'Royal Sunset' longiflorum-Asiatic lilies, 'Golden Sunrise' tickseed (Coreopsis), and long-blooming 'Walker's Low' catmint (Nepeta) are blooming above.

'Miss Molly' butterfly bushes (Buddleia), Russian sage (Peroskvia), 'Victoria' sage (Salvia), and newly planted 'Double Scoop Raspberry' coneflowers (Echinacea) are blooming now in the main sunny bed.  This large area continues to befuddle me, which is frustrating since it's the main focal point of the backyard.  I've always got new ideas to try, though.  I just planted three lilac-rose 'Ava' hummingbird mints (Agastache) between the Russian sages, and I ordered 'Summer Drummer' globe allium and drumstick allium bulbs for fall planting that should bloom about this time next season.  I've requested six more 'Fama Blue' pincushion flowers (Scabiosa) from my local nursery to plant here, I recently transplanted six 'Caradonna' sage and three 'Rozanne' hardy geraniums, and I'm growing eight Euphorbia polychroma plants from seed to add.  Something's gotta work, right?

Earlier in the season I planted several annual 'Superbena Royale Plum Wine' verbenas in this area as they are exactly the same shade as the 'Miss Molly' blooms, and they help fill in gaps while I figure out the perennials.

A 'Miss Ruby' buttefly bush presides in the northwest corner bed, with 'Red Fox' speedwell (Veronica) and annual 'Supertunia Black Cherry' petunias adding color down low.  I only planted a few annuals this year, and they've all been moved once or twice as I add more perennials.  I'm really more of a perennial fan.

This is the view looking west from the bench in the northeast corner.  'Pearl Deep Blue' bellflower (Campanula) are in front with 'Thumbelina Leigh' lavender shrubs at center.

The east side of the house features towering meadow rue (Thalictrum rochebrunianum - my husband jokingly tells me to watch my mouth when I say the name) at center and a 'Comtesse de Bouchaud' clematis to the right.  A pot of 'Surfina Summer Double Pink' petunias sits bottom center.  Surfina petunias have to be deadheaded, which makes them much more work than Supertunias.
And so the summer continues with new ideas to try and plenty of deadheading to keep me busy even when I'm not digging something up to transplant.

July 12, 2016

Portraits in the Garden

My talented friend Amber has conducted several portrait sessions in my garden, and this spring she offered to take a few photos of me.  My husband wandered out to say hello as we got started, so Amber told him he could be in a few shots if he'd put on his suit and trademark bow tie.  A few minutes later he came out in his bow tie . . . and his swimming suit (you can see the mischievous smile on his face above).  After we all had a good laugh he changed into a real suit and posed for some pictures.  He definitely belongs in these photos since he's the one who digs the big holes, helps with garden cleanup in the fall, and hauls countless wheelbarrow loads of compost and bark.


These smiles required seventeen years of marriage to create, but the bouquet was quick and easy.  First I laid a stem of peony foliage on the table, then spread spikes of 'May Night' sage (Salvia), 'Venice Blue' speedwell (Veronica) and 'Walker's Low' catmint (Nepeta) on top.  Next came a few stems of 'Caesar's Brother Siberian iris.  Then I added stems with rounded flowers from 'Totally Tangerine' geum and 'Moulin Rouge' astrantia, plus some fluffy lady's mantle (Alchimella mollis).  Finally I set a couple of 'Morning Lilac' intersectional peony blooms on top and tied the stems with raffia.  It was easy to adjust the flowers as they lay on the table, and the bouquet photographed well because it was flat and one-sided.


Reality check:  while gardening I usually look awful in a sweaty t-shirt with dirt smudges on my face, a few scratches from rose thorns on my arms or legs (I'm such a clutz), grime under my fingernails even when I remember gloves, and twigs sticking in my hair while it's falling out of a ponytail.  No makeup, no hairspray, no pretty dress.  But this photo accurately captures the joy I feel in my garden, so thanks Amber for nudging me to do this project!
Generally I don't mind if you use my photos for wholesome and appropriate purposes, but please do not download or use these photos as they are copyrighted by Amber McArthur.

July 4, 2016

Daylily Season


The garden is at the peak of daylily season right now, with generous flushes of deep pink 'Hush Little Baby' blooming in the west garden each day.  Of course that means I have to deadhead quite a few blooms each morning, but it's easy work to snap the dead ones off.  Also blooming above are some apricot colored Asiatic lilies, lavender 'Walker's Low' catmint (Nepeta) and yellow 'Early Sunrise' tickseed (Coreopsis).

This part of the garden is especially cheerful in the evenings when the setting sun bounces off the side of the house and gives everything a warm glow.

Despite its shady spot in the backyard, 'Woodside Romance' is producing lots of mid-pink flowers.  I'm thinking this one deserves a place of prominence and plenty of sunshine (for up to 30-35 blooms per scape) in the front yard, so I'm adding it to my transplant list as soon as blooming is finished.


'Lavender Stardust' is also getting less than its fair share of sun in the east backyard garden, but I don't have a better place for it right now.

'Jolyene Nichole' is adorably short but the flowers are huge.


'Frances Joiner' is happier than ever this year while getting plenty of sun and plenty of water thanks to a foot-tall popup sprinkler head installed this spring.

This cluster of three plants is growing in front of my 'Eglantyne' rose, which is resting after its first flush of bloom.  Daylilies are perfect for adding color just when the roses finish.