Editing and Tweaking: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day July 2015

– Posted in: What's up/blooming
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This is my fourth spring in this garden. For three years I have been creating garden beds, but this year I have been editing them: rearranging the furniture, so to speak. I have been having a lot of fun. It is my art; it engages my creative juices, as I seek the most aesthetically pleasing spot for each plant. It is mentally challenging, putting together a puzzle as I consider not only what will look good in a certain spot, but what will thrive there. And of course it involves lots of wandering around the garden in a musing kind of state.

Scenes from the garden, in the order I see them on my usual tour:

Ivory Halo dogwood

When I step out the kitchen door, this is what I see on my right.

The variegated shrub is Ivory Halo dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Bailhalo’ IVORY HALO). The dark blue spikes leaning every which way are Delphinium x belladonna ‘Bellamosa’. My sister grew several from seed and gave me a seedling. They had gotten pounded by rain the day before this photo was taken, but are pretty much upright again. In the upper right corner you can see a bit of the next bed we will visit.
Bobo hydrangeas

This bed still needs tweaking.

I intended for this bed to be predominantly white, but it seems too congested and needs a contrasting color to punch it up. There was one lone foxglove trying to fulfill that function, and I just added some red astilbe, but I am thinking those ‘Bobo’ hydrangeas are too close together, and perhaps I should have thinned out the white rose campion (Lychnis coronaria ‘Alba’). I am still mulling this over.
Plants in stone raised bed

The parking pad bed is getting close to my vision of bright colors visible from the road.

I am pretty happy with the parking pad bed, but am puzzled about the colchicums growing at the base of the wall. The ones I planted in 2011 at the further end of the wall have filled in nicely. The ones I planted the following year, well, a lot of them never showed back up. I have replanted that end of the wall and we will see how they fare in the coming years. Not sure why one side has thrived and the other has not. And maybe it’s about time I removed the fake flowers, left by the previous owner, from that windowbox.
Invincibelle Spirit hydrangea

The best side of the Slope Garden.

The Slope Garden is my nemesis. The only garden created by the previous owner, it is infested with weeds and semi-weeds (sundrops, I’m looking at you), has heavy clay soil, plenty of rocks, and duh, it’s on a slope. It’s no fun to weed a slope. But I keep chipping away at it, adding more shrubs and well-behaved ground cover. This is probably the best looking corner, with a variegated grass that was already here, Invincibelle Spirit hydrangea, a dwarf Montgomery spruce, and two rhodos whose flowers match the rose campion in color–and this year at least, the two overlapped in bloom. The bedraggled coneflower leaning into the spruce was just moved there. I probably should have cut it back by half, but I never have the heart to do that, and I’ve never seen a scientific study that proves it actually helps. So there.
kitchen garden

My daughter’s potager

Potager or kitchen garden–whatever you call it, it’s a pleasing combination of food plants and ornamental plants. My daughter Talitha grew the bee balm from seed, and at this point they’re the main feature of this garden.
bee balm and holly hock

I particularly like how the bee balm echoes the hollyhock.

Skipping around the whole back of the house, which still needs a lot of tweaking, we come to this combination at the base of an established lilac:
Japanese painted fern and 'Grape Expectations' heuchera

Japanese painted fern and ‘Grape Expectations’ heuchera really hit it off.

The ‘Grape Expectations’ coral bells were sent by Walters Gardens for me to trial. They are a H. villosa hybrid which means they are more tolerant of heat and humidity. I am patting myself on the back for realizing they were the perfect companions for the Japanese painted fern. That green ferny foliage is a gazillion first-year seedlings of mountain fringe. They look pretty right now but all but one of them must go before they turn into vines next year.
black negligee bugbane, Amber Moon astilbe, ringsabell mulberry rose

Talk about high contrast!

Actaea simplex ‘Black Negligee’ is in back,and you can see a bit of vining mountain fringe clambering over it. ‘Amber Moon’ Astilbe chinensis fills out the center, and Ringsabell Mulberry Rose campanula carpets the ground. And I do mean carpets. Despite what you may have read, this bellflower is not a clumper. You need to set the boundaries for this plant, otherwise it has none.

Thanks for coming along on the tour. I try to post a daily photo of what’s blooming in my garden, which you can check out via Instagram, Facebook, or my back page.

Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In its own way, frost may be one of the most beautiful things to happen in your garden all year . . . Don’t miss it. Like all true beauty, it is fleeting. It will grace your garden for but a short while this morning. . . . For this moment, embrace frost as the beautiful gift that it is.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

Comments on this entry are closed.

JessicaHard July 29, 2015, 8:45 am

Very inspiring article will try some of them soon 🙂

Kiera Hawkins July 28, 2015, 9:38 am

I love how you organize the plant’s colour! Good job!

Donna@Gardens Eye View July 26, 2015, 10:29 am

Fabulous Kathy…I love tweaking and as I weed I am eyeing the changes I want to make….the last 2 pictures of combos are fabulous!

Les July 25, 2015, 6:30 pm

Great job on that fern an heuchera combination. Maybe on the bed that you are mulling over, play off of the chartreuse color in the Bobo Hydrangeas before they are fully opened. Your gardens are looking great.

Barbarapc July 24, 2015, 11:41 am

Kathy, Your seeds will be harvested very soon – thought I might send along a very pretty vining biennial…..wish you could have heard me hoot when I saw you are using the very same as a beautiful foil/groundcover! I shall save the seed for someone else – I’m thinking if you yank some of the lychnis to give everything else more room/shape, you’re going to feel differently about that white garden – have you ever tried Symphyandra hoffmanii? Good in sun/shade from the Campanula family and white….another biennial – will grab some for you later in the season if you like the look, would be a nice addition to your white garden. B.

Kathy Purdy July 24, 2015, 1:23 pm

Barbara, the Symphyandra looks very pretty; I’d be delighted to try some seed. You are probably right about yanking some lychnis, but I also think the two ‘Bobo’ hydrangeas are too close together (even thought I tried to space them per the dimensions given on the tag). I think I will move the leftmost shrub further to the left and do some rearranging of the supporting players, some of which are out of view even further to the left.

David The Good July 22, 2015, 9:48 pm

Wonderful work! That bee balm does look incredible – congratulations to your daughter. We also enjoy mixing up the perennials and annuals on our homestead – check out this bed we planted this spring: http://www.floridasurvivalgardening.com/2015/04/a-magnificent-result-check-out-my.html

There’s no reason why we can’t have food and beauty. I’m sure Eden wasn’t rows of corn. 😉

Vance July 20, 2015, 2:17 pm

My favorite one is the bee balm. Amazing contrast look with the green below. Wonderful job!

Bulent July 20, 2015, 6:26 am

Nice post again, I liked like the previous one.
Good luck

Bulent July 20, 2015, 6:20 am

This garden looks awesome, congratulations from istanbul..

Mrs.LC@loosechangeliving July 18, 2015, 12:38 pm

Love the kitchen garden. I like to incorporate vegetables with flowers as they are beautiful plants, too. Chives are an especially pretty plant.

Ray July 17, 2015, 9:28 pm

In your arranging puzzle tasks, you forgot to mention another factor — time. (My Achilles heel when it comes to layout of my gardens.)
Ray

Kathy Purdy July 18, 2015, 1:32 pm

I agree–getting plants arranged so they look good at the same time is part of the puzzle.

Michaele Anderson July 17, 2015, 11:54 am

Great looking combos, Kathy. I’m such a fan of Japanese Painted ferns and I love how that particular heuchara is the perfect companion. Yep, you deserve many pats on the back for putting them together. I’m totally unfamiliar with the self seeder surrounding them. Think I’ll go do some reading about mountain fringe.

Kathy Purdy July 17, 2015, 9:19 pm

I think this was the perfect spring for mountain fringe. I have never, ever had so many seedlings! In other years I have saved seeds and sown them and gotten nothing. Typically I find a plant here and a plant there and move them where I want them. I am not sure how it would do for you as it likes it cool and moist.

Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern July 17, 2015, 9:43 am

Clap, clap, clap applause! Such a wonderful tour. I laughed that you didn’t cut back the cone flower – I do the same thing – just don’t have the heart and now that I know it isn’t scientifically proven I feel validated, thank you! I like the slope garden – I love natural gardens and to me, it seems to flow and look wild all at the same time.

Kathy Purdy July 17, 2015, 9:17 pm

To be clear: I did NOT say it hadn’t been scientifically proven. I said I had never SEEN research that proved cutting back helped. Maybe it helps, maybe it doesn’t.

Heather July 17, 2015, 9:37 am

I really love the fern/heuchera combo…but I’m a sucker for all things heuchera.

Donalyn@The Creekside Cook July 17, 2015, 7:59 am

Beautiful, Kathy – I love the Amber Moon astilbe – I always go for the hottest color I guess 🙂