Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Midsummer Garden Review

I took some time out from my busy schedule to review the status of my gardens.  I find it's a good idea to do this periodically, taking notes and photographs, so that in the fall or next spring I'll have an idea of what areas need work, what needs to be moved, and what just plain isn't working.  None of these pictures are going to win awards but they all tell me something about the state of my garden.

Here's my annual corner. I'm quite pleased with how this is working.  This is the area where the snow from our driveway gets piled up.  I put annuals there because sometimes the plow damages the near by plants.  It's nice to have a spot for annuals since they look good all summer and I can change them yearly, if I want to.  I like Zinnias so I put some here, and I'm very pleased with the snapdragons.  I doubt you can tell but I've also got Gomphrea fireworks in this corner.  Don't bother with this one.  The flowers are nice when viewed close up but they are small.  Even in clumps (I think I have a dozen plants in there) they aren't that exciting. 

I refer to this area as my Liatris Patch.  I've got Liatris Kobold, Coreposis Zagreb, Hyssop, Asclepias and some Spirea.  They're all doing well, if a bit crowded.

Here's the other side of the Liatris Patch.  Kobold doesn't need to be supported.  It's a great variety (Michelle, I'll get some seeds or seedlings to you this fall, Queen Bee, you'll have to get seeds.  You can try to start them in your greenhouse).

I don't just take pictures of the good spots.  Here's an empty area.  Need something to fit in there.  

Here's another empty area (I call this the Dead Zone because I've lost so many plants right in this one area).  Right by the walk leading to the front door is difficult because we have one street tree that partially shades this area and whose roots are very aggressive.  I like the dappled shade in the living room during the summer but this tree is starting to cause problems with the sidewalk and my plumber is worried about the water and sewer lines.  It's an American Basswood or American Linden (Tilia americana) and it's just too big for the spot.  If I can get the city to remove it (it's technically their tree) I'll replace it with something more size appropriate.  I'm fantasizing about a nice Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa).

OK.  Come out of the dream and back to the reality of the garden.

I've never had great luck with Echinacea.  Not sure why.  My neighbor has a lot of them growing really well.  This is one of mine.  The one that is doing best.  I planted it last year and got some blooms (hence the seedlings).  The blooms this year lack petals (huh?).  I have a few other types of Echinacea scattered around the garden and we'll see  how they look next  year (this is the first year for them).  

This Heuchera is also failing.  I think this failure is due to the abnormally hot summer and maybe too much sun.  I might move these guys next year.

On the positive side I like this area of plantings by the corner of my property.  The height of the Buddleia, the Panicum virgatum and Aster oblongifolius October Skies help screen the view into the side yard and nicely frame the tall bloom stalks of the Gaura.  I really like this area.

I also like this Agastache Patch.  Although the Daisy will get moved next year so that the Nepenta behind it will get more light and fill in.  Most of the plants in this area have an open, airy look to them.  I like that in a plant.  

I'm a bit worried that this Garlic Chive will get crowded out by the Panicum behind it.  So I collect seeds and scatter them around.  Garlic Chives is a nice garden plant.

No.  I didn't make the fish.

No.  I didn't make the bird bath, either.  Pretty cool though, huh? 

So I now have a list of plants to move or replace, a list of areas that need plants and a list of plants that are doing well and plants that aren't doing so good.  Now I just have to keep track of that list till next Spring!

Last thought:  "If you're not killing plants you're not growing as a gardener" JC Raulston.  I guess I'm doing a lot of growing!  At least as a Gardener!

Thamnophis sirtalis in Stipa tenuissima
I'm glad the Garter Snakes weren't all scared off by the house painters
The Mexican Feather Grass is not supposed to be hardy in this zone.  These plants survived the winter in a microclimate by the garage. 


  1. Your pictures may not be the sort that are highly sanitized for publication in a magazine, but I enjoyed the tour! Taking notes for next year is a great idea; I should do that myself.

    Sorry I didn't get back you you sooner, but yes, if you would like to stop by Franklin when you are on your way past sometime, I would love to give you a garden tour and some seeds. Heck, if you think they'll survive the trip, I'll send you home with whole plants! I've got ferns that might do well in your shady, rooty location.

    Thank you for saving some seeds for me!

  2. The joy of using the blog as a garden archive, is that we don't have to scrabble around and find that scrap of paper. Oh no! we can just search for it here, much easier. (the other Diana, of EE ;-)