Karen Chapman | , , , , , , , , , , , , || By
Anyone else feel as though this year has got away from them? In theory, my garden should be magnificent this year since I haven't been traveling. Somehow that's not my reality. Between a biblical plague of slugs that is STILL ongoing, crazy wet weather in spring (summer didn't even start until about a week ago) and prioritizing my time for our granddaughter, the garden got way from me a bit. The paths have a few weeds, I have lace-leaf zinnias, the tomatoes are struggling, the peppers have given up, and I haven't even walked through the woodland garden for two weeks. But I always promised you I'd keep this blog real, so here is an early August glimpse of a few bits and pieces. Some are prettier than others.
Big Picture ViewsThis little border is seen every day from inside the home, when walking to the vegetable garden, and while sitting on the patio. This year it has been a war zone. I have replaced the annuals TWICE that were beneath the Tiger Eyes sumac – then gave up entirely because the slugs ate them to the nubs overnight again. Moles infiltrated the bed for the first time ever and their tunnels and mounds uprooted many of my young test plants. (I have replanted one poor Russian sage at least four times so far). I grew the zinnias and also some Strawberry Fields gomphrena from seed for this beds. Of the 30 gomphrena I think 2 or 3 are still bravely holding on. The zinnias? See for yourself; Enough said. Moving on… This area got reworked last fall when we had to remove an ailing multi-trunked Himalayan white birch and replace it with this young paperbark maple. In spring it is surrounded by Euphorbia, bluebells, alliums and poppies. The summer view is a froth of white gaura sprinkled with sea holly and Rozanne geranium. Not fabulous, but not too bad. You may recall my earlier post about finding ways to do containers this year either very inexpensively or by using what I had to hand. This was a case in point – using various samples sent from Proven Winners and First Editions. It's not the best design I've done (the balance is off) but I still like the way the contemporary container anchors this entrance and repeats the shimmery shades of silver, white and blue.
Covid-ContainersWe may as well start off with this one. All the individual plants are lovely – but clearly the beautiful sageleaf willow in the middle-back is shorter than the alliums that flank it. I had hoped it would push out some growth and be just a bit taller than them – or at least the same height. That's the thing with young shrubs – it can be a bit hit and miss judging growth rate the first year or two. The three Montana Moss junipers are doing well in the front row but are perhaps a bit stiff for this application. Love the color and texture though. Plant list: Allium 'Serendipity', Denim 'n Lace Russian sage, Icebery Alley sageleaf willow, Montana Moss juniper, Euphorbia 'Diamond Mountain'. You can read more about these plants in my recent blog posts about deer-resistant annuals/perennials and deer-resistant shrubs. Diamond Mountain euphorbia is a great workhorse in containers and I love the way it has mingled with this dwarf Sundrop spirea. As you can see the spirea has held its golden foliage right through to August even in partial sun and the delicate sprays of pink flowers have been produced steadily for many weeks already. I tucked in a couple of coleus for contrast as well as the little blue glass bird for fun. Here's a close up: My two containers by the front door received the least care and attention this spring yet I'm actually quite pleased with them. The Summer Ruffle hibiscus, Carnival watermelon heuchera, Lemon Lime nandina and Purple heart were all there from last year. I tucked in a Montana Moss juniper, a Silver Falls dichondra and a spare coleus. Fun! The hibiscus should start blooming any day with semi-double lilac blooms. Admission: the slugs ate the purple heart in the other pot LOL.
Smaller VignettesYes the flowers on the coneflowers have been nibbled, but the overall cottage-garden-meets-simple-meadow aesthetic is still pretty I think. All planted many years ago and doing well; Russian Sage, Allium, Mexican feather grass, White Swan coneflower I was given this daylily as a gift from the grower and love the rich color. I spray it with deer repellent of course – as I do the ninebark next to it. Love the color echo between the stamens and foliage.
Tiny DetailsYes the speckled flowers of blackberry lily (Belamcandra chinensis) are delightful and the seedheads look wonderful in my Thanksgiving floral arrangements – but I love the twizzly corkscrews of the faded blooms even more! (Admission; the foliage is shredded by slugs….) So there you have it. My less than stellar garden. At least I can laugh about it. And share my beer with the slugs on a more regular basis.
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Gardeners that share their space with deer don't have the luxury of being plant snobs. If it thrives and is left alone by troublesome critters we NEED to learn to love that plant – and buy more in every color and size! (Rather like finding the perfect T-shirt or pair of sandals). So when Proven…Read More →
I'm always excited to see new plants come on the market that offer a new color, shape or size from existing varieties. Yet so often I am faced with the reality that I can't grow them here because of the deer. (And yes those darn rabbits too). Feel the same way? Well I've got some…Read More →
Yes I know you're thinking of summer annuals and fragrant roses. It's almost June! Yet now is the time to plan for the best ever fall display; in about three years time! Let me tell you about why Arkansas blue star (Amsonia hubrichtii) is the best perennial I've ever grown. (Hint: it's not about the…Read More →
This is the time of year when we would usually be out and about visiting gardens large and small, public and private. Yet even as travel restrictions are slowly being eased around the world, most gardening events have been canceled and the majority of public gardens are still closed. I personally had been looking forward…Read More →
Do you walk through your garden each day? What do you see? I took a leisurely stroll along our quiet country lanes a few days ago and was amazed what a difference just a few days had made. Last week there were fat, tantalizing buds filled with promise, yet the overall palette was still mostly…Read More →
When it comes to gardening, I'm nothing if not tenacious (although my husband calls it "stubborn…."), and right now that quality is coming in especially handy. Usually at this time of year I'd be anticipating leisurely visits to my favorite nurseries to carefully select an exciting array of shrubs, perennials, annuals, tropicals, and edibles to…Read More →
A box of children's board books, all carefully cleaned and placed in a pretty box. A set of dumb bells delivered to my porch by the owner of my local gym. An online link to fun activities for toddlers from a friend in Australia. The wave of a stranger as they pass (at a distance)…Read More →
The world seems a different place than it did a week ago doesn't it? My community is like a ghost town as stores, schools, churches, the library, gym, restaurants, and bars have been mandated to close with minor exceptions. I have had multiple speaking events either cancel or reschedule and perhaps most heartbreaking of all…Read More →
It's Showtime here in Seattle! The Northwest Flower and Garden Show is always a seasonal highlight for garden lovers and dreamers with so many ideas to help you make the most of your space no matter how large or small. The City Living display features ten patio gardens, each just 6' x 12', typical of…Read More →
Welcome to My Garden Adventures
I'm a serious plant-aholic. In other words I'm usually covered in a layer or two of soil, I drive everywhere with a large tarp for impromptu plant purchases and I'm truly passionate about sharing the joys of gardening.