Well, I achieved most of what I set out to do during my Glorious Vacation. Weeding, civilizing, and mulching were mostly accomplished - it's just the wild and woolly part of the east bed (past the rhubarb) and the foundation bed out front that have yet to be conquered. Planted all the plants I meant to plant (although I now have some veronica and some hollyhocks waiting to get into the ground, and didn't get around to a pile of seeds).
To my irritation, some disgusting insect - probably sawfly larvae - is devouring the needles off the mugho pine in the front bed. Must remember to wield some soap-and-water at them, although I'm not sure that will be effective; worth a shot I suppose. The intarwebs assure me that one year's infestation doesn't generally kill the plant. And if it does, well, I will be sadly lacking a nice structural evergreen, but on the plus side I will have space to plant something new.
Something dug up the sunflower seedlings Rose brought home from daycare for mother's day. Not that Rose is old enough to really understand making or giving a gift, but still: GRRR. The Empress of Dirt has to protect her sprouting sunflowers from birds, apparently, so maybe that's what got mine. She has a picture illustrating a nice little cage that seems to be made from an old hanging basket. Maybe I will try that next year. Meanwhile, I still have the pot that she painted to put them in, so there's something anyway.
In other pest news, I am somewhat surprised to find that the alliums seem to be - knock on wood! - deterring the groundhog, since its depradations have been limited to the one bed that doesn't contain any. Hmmmm! I need to get some more of the pinks ones (allium roseum) anyway, and I like them in general, so those are totally on my fall bulb shopping list. (Also some Black Hero tulips, so pretty!)
I would also really like to plant some asparagus. Not to eat - the soil here is sandy and poor (I submit for evidence our pathetic excuse for a lawn), which conditions apparently result in tough and woody stalks - but for ornamental purposes; if you let asparagus stalks mature, they turn into gigantically tall feathery foliage. Check this out:
Wouldn't that be a cool accent! I am pretty much out of space for tall full sun plants in the back - there's some space in the middle, but I think something so tall in that spot would just end up hiding everything at the back - but it could go in a corner of the new bed out front. As a bonus, I believe I spied some at Artistic Landscape Design for the eminently affordable price of $6.99.
Fall bulb schemes so far, then:
Eremurus x 3
Black Hero tulips x 20
Scarlet majesty tulips x 8
White cloud allium x 3
Blue drumstick alliums x 24
Peach melba tulips x 15
Angelique tulips x 18
Allium roseum x 20
Now if I was smart, I would make my tulip investment in some nice single flowering varieties that would come back reliably for a few years...but I can't help myself, the double ones just cry out to me. Siiiigh. Mail order plant purveyors, you had better love me.