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.
I need more plants. One of the joys and frustrations of starting a new garden is watching it grow. For once I’m trying to be restrained and allow room for the trees, shrubs and perennials to expand to their natural shape and size without jostling neighbors yet that means I can see bare soil…Read More →
Flowers are the quintessential gift for Mother’s day. They are available everywhere – from cellophane wrapped bouquets at the gas station to artful arrangements at the florists. Yet do you know where these flowers come from or how they were grown? Do you care? Truthfully my answer to both of these questions used to…Read More →
I’ll often ask clients what their color preferences are for container garden plantings or as a palette for a new garden border. It can often be hard for them to articulate, however, and ends up being a series of Q & A – reds? Yes. Oranges? Not sure. Blues? Maybe. I find that I need…Read More →
One thing’s for sure – there’s no room for snobbery when it comes to gardening. Before moving to this house 2 ½ years ago I used to smile politely when clients mentioned they had a deer problem and gave my all-knowing benevolent nod while saying “Ah yes, deer will eat anything if they are hungry…Read More →
Is our garden something we really own or a piece of this earth which has been entrusted to us? Are we caretakers rather than landowners who by association have the responsibility – and honor – of nurturing all that grows in and on it? I’m no philosopher and this is not intended to be a…Read More →
I remember when we first moved to the United States sixteen years ago and suffering acute culture shock as I walked down the cereal aisle at a local store. I mean really – how many different varieties of frosted flakes do we need?! A trip to the nursery can leave you feeling equally overwhelmed due…Read More →
There’s something magical about looking up through a leafy canopy. Dappled light adds a luminous quality to foliage, with such backlighting revealing details and colors which might otherwise go unnoticed. Several trees have wonderful downward facing flowers which are partially hidden by the surrounding leaves yet when viewed from below not only are they…Read More →
There's no doubt about it – change can be messy. Getting from before to after somehow always seems to involve the mid-point of being distinctively worse; that "Oh no – what have we done?" moment. I've been there many times but it never gets easier. In my last post 'Progress' I showed you examples of our current…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.