Sunday, September 15, 2013

Picture post from early September, and some planned editing

So with the season drawing to a close, I am pleasantly surprised at how well the garden has weathered my neglect this year. Mostly I think I am reaping the benefits of previous years of planting - as a whole pile of things are getting mature enough to be pretty spectacular - and grunt work (i.e. I suspect things would look VERY DIFFERENT without the last three years' worth of mulch).

I find that things are in some places forming neatly contrasting clumps that are very pleasing to the eye, and in other places they are sort of blending into a big muddle that doesn't show anything to advantage. Next year will have to try to rein things in and prop things up so as to address this.

Really need to pull up those rocks at the front and get rid of all the weeds. Have filled in the east side of the yard with a pile of tall yellow "autumn minaret" daylilies, but they were mostly done by the time I took these pictures.

This sunflower is taller than me!

Lack of cohesion abounds. Siiiiigh. Too many airy plants, possibly? The sedum, weigela and rose campion make for nice blocks of colour, but otherwise, bleh. Should try rearranging this section next year, possibly with the addition of some more dwarf conifers (precioussss) as anchors...

Lespedeza. Eeeeeeeeexcellent. Will have to use a peony hoop or something to prop it up a bit next year.

And in the back, encouraging degrees of colour!

Dragon statue relocated to keep his namesake company. Am thinking the blank spot (with all the periwinkle in this picture) might be a good place for a tsuga canadensis (moon frost or gentsch white) - couldn't quite bring myself to fork out $80 for a big one, though. Will keep my eye out for an itty bitty one!

Not bad! Loving the phlox at the back in particular at the moment...

Tall purple phlox is AWESOME but needs support because it has flopped eeeeverywhere. Willow needs cutting back, and so do the grapevines, which are trying to climb onto it. Need to try pinching the purple sedum back next year in hope of reducing its sprawliness. New additions: yellow barberry, Pusch dwarf spruce, and stokesia (now blooming in an eye-watering purple; must remember to take pix!)

Other schemes involving this bed: way in the back corner, completely hidden from view, is my $20 japanese maple. These things are supposed to be relatively easy to transplant, so late this fall, once it drops its leaves, I am going to soldier back there, dig it up, and move it somewhere I will actually be able to see it. And if it up and dies on me as a result, well, it was $20, and has been invisible for years now, so I won't have sacrificed much.

Beat back the golden oregano and added a Hedgehog white spruce, a purple veronica, and an anemone (have not had much luck with these so far, but stunning specimens in the market suggest that they might need more sun - so we'll see what happens with this location!) Still looks kind of a mess, but we'll see if it might improve with establishment.

Bee balm, joe pye weed and chelone all sort of disappear into an undifferentiated mass of stems about halfway down the bed. Must fix; not sure how. Introduce contrast, maybe?

Since the delphiniums have vanished and the hydrangeas and bee balm threaten to take over, my evil scheme is to pull out said hydrangeas and bee balm and replace them with the previously mentioned $20 japanese maple, which will be a nice colour contrast in this bed and open up some room for understorey plants - such as the dwarf golden japanese yew I purchased today, which would be a nice bright (yet shade tolerant) contrast. Am thinking another clematis would be good on the fence too, since it is otherwise a long bland white expanse.

Detail of the sun bed, with newly purchased plants and thriving rue. Am pretty pleased with this combination.

Grass in the wall bed! Stragglier than it ought to be, really; we'll see if it fills in. Maybe not getting enough sun.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Houseiversary Post - Five Years!!

OK, am cheating a little bit, because most of these pictures are actually from the very end of June, but almost every time I've escaped into the yard with enough forethought to take pictures, it's been just dark enough that my pictures are all hopelessly blurry. I think I need a tripod.

ANYWAY. Five years!
Pretty happy with this, all told! Colour! Texture! Variety! Desperately needs filling in on the east side, though, where I have heretofore only planted sunflowers. Possibilities include grasses, Degroot's Spire arborvitae, transplanted asparagus (tired of it flopping all over everything else at the very front) and more crocosmia (because I needs it, precious!) Also need to dig up all the weeds determinedly sprouting at the edge of the swale and transplant all the little rue seedlings that decided to spring up among the rocks. Have successfully relocated a handful so far. Compare: 2011, 2010

Featuring eremurus. Holy crap. People were stopping in the street to look at these. Am SO planting more. 

How's this for magical?!

Another view of the top third of the yard, since I was frustrated with its bland lack of cohesion in previous years. It's becoming encouragingly colourful...

...although not perfect. More anchor-like evergreens, maybe? Something to balance out the rose campion explosion? Still, at least it's getting somewhere - compare: 2012 (albeit earlier in the year). Or maybe half the trick of this is photographing it at the right angle.

Sea holly of gorgeousness.
Overall. This view really makes the bare strip at the east edge jump out. Compare: 2011, 2010

Hmm, repetition really does help to make things come together. Rose campion FTW. Compare: 2011, 2010.

Have I mentioned how much I am coming to love that Caramel heuchera?

I thought this thing was a goner, based on its late appearance and spindliness, but lo and behold...!

Going around the beds: west shade bed. In need of some tidying up and some relocation of crazy daisies, which have determinedly reseeded themselves all over the front of the bed, where they are too tall. Must remember to take a picture of the spot behind the peonies, invisible from this angle but encouraging in its loveliness. Have really been enjoying the mulleins in this bed, but note to self for next year: they need staking. Compare: 2011, 2010.

Sun bed, with a big hole in the front left by the gypsophila, which mysteriously up and died this winter. Compare: 2011, 2010.

Wall bed. Argh. Grass is slowly getting itself established; we'll see if it succeeds in adding some height and variety back there. Need something for the rose to ramble on; need to tame the golden oregano; need to replace the cotoneaster with something more inspiring. Also need to get the damn fence fixed. Compare: 2011, 2010.

Rather happier with the corner bed, although a variety of things need to be beaten back and separated. Attempting to cage the Joe Pye weed this year, but there's so much of it I'm not sure it will work. Compare: 2011, 2010.

East bed looking deceptively civilized, thanks to the splashy hosta and caramel heuchera. Hydrangeas and bee balm both need taming; that should clear things up a bit. Delphiniums seem to have petered out, tragically. Maybe I'll see if I can get the purple clematis to climb over this way as a replacement. Compare: 2011, 2010.

Combo view of the west side of the garden. Grape vines are getting decimated this fall to put a stop to their mad takeover bid.

Aaaaaand a couple weeks later in the front.  Half the rue has mysteriously died, although it's reseeded itself copiously, to my delight.

Otherwise noteworthy is the red bee balm, which has finally gotten a chance to bloom in the absence of whatever insect plague was destroying it before. Need to spread some of this around the garden, I think. Would be a nice spot of colour on the east side, for example. At the bottom is the knautia I planted from seed, gloriously long-blooming.

Evidence that the front yard needs more crocosmia: encouraging colourfulness becoming ever more glorious.

And bee balm in the back, too. Lime-green hosta makes me happy, as do the heucheras by the shed. Compare: early 2012, 2011.

Vines filling in beautifully (and helpfully disguising the orange power cord for the fountain) along with assorted companions to the maple. Spikenard managed to return, against all expectations, although it's only a few leaves bigger than it was last year.
Longer view - ignoring the small heap of rubble that needs to be removed, I am pretty damn thrilled with the colourfulness of this, esp given dry shade conditions. Compare: early 2012, earlier 2012 (pre-bricks). VICTORY.

And backyard overall, with a smidge more colour thanks to bee balm and daylilies.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mid-June, ZOMG

I may faint dead away with delight.

Peonies! Kaboooom!!

And Eremurus, beginning to be truly heart-stopping - must take more pictures in the next couple days!

Must take more pictures of these in the next couple of days.
Icing on the cake:

Gas plant (aka dittany) blooming! Squeeee finally!! Thought I had pink as well as white, but this does not dampen my glee.

Rose Glow barberry, exploding most colourfully, proving yet again that maxim about how first year they sleep, second year creep, and third year leap.

Red feathers, evidently quite happy in this spot, and gloriously long-lasting, too.  

Tomorrow I muster out to do battle with heinous shit-bugs, since they are on their pre-July march again. While I'm at it hopefully I will remember to take pictures of the backyard.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Picture post the second: May

So here's the tulips starting to get going in the front...

Missed out on a picture of the early ones this year. Pattern seems to remain early reds and pinks and purples moving to later white and black-purple.

 View going into the backyard.  Some minor tidying to do, but: SQUEE.

Overall in the backyard, featuring swank copper fountain and awesome tulips!

Shade bed (need to move/disguise the extension cord currently powering the fountain):

 Tulips!  Gypsophila appears to be another random winter casualty.  Will have to find something else to replace it.

Wall bed. This is not the spot I had in mind for the fountain, but it really works well there, as it turns out. Just need to bend over it to spy for lily beetles.

 My god, this thing is gorgeous. Seriously worth every penny. We've been running it constantly; with the windows open, you can still hear it.

Those heucheras are solid gold in the east bed. Really rounds out the colour palette.

 Dwarf korean fir.  Could not resist this texture. Have put it in the shade bed next to the maidenhair fern.

Aaaaaaaaand another week later. Amazing how much things fill in given a cool, rainy week.

 Again with the heucheras.  Damn.  Might need to look for a few more of these.

Rampaging bittersweet vine and increasingly dilapidated shed. I kind of enjoy the wild-and-woolly look of the vine, actually, and the birds love it, but it desperately needs a haircut.