My garden is in center city of Niagara Falls, New York. You would think this would be a beautiful place as we are surrounded by the natural beauty of the state park and falls, but our street is a little oasis in the city. We try to make a difference by keeping our street up, which is only one block long, and maintaining an appearance of a thriving neighborhood. I am lucky enough to live within walking distance of the falls and Canada, but unfortunately, must pass by areas of blight on route. And this is what visitors see and write about on blogs, unfortunately. The city is making strides in the right direction, but it has been a long time coming. I am a Pennsylvania native who has been looking through rose-colored glasses for 25 years.
We each try to make our gardens shine for visitors and community alike. My garden has gone through many transformations because I am a designer. I get a little bored after five years or so, and redesign my small plot. On Thursday, the front planting will take on a new look. This post is about the garden through the year, not over or through time.
I got to thinking after reading another blog about having 10 weeks of growing time left in Western New York that I always quit deadheading and trimming by August 1, and let nature grow the garden without me.
So I thought I would show the garden in different months of the year. It really changes its look, but my main goal was to have structure designed in so that at least it maintains a decent appearance all year. So many gardens are designed to peak during one time of year, and look rather worn at other times. In fact, even well designed gardens suffer from some down town. Each year, Mother Nature has a say and gets the season a little off kilter, as she did this year.
If the garden is well structured, the main form remains throughout the year. If planting is planned for sequential bloom, you have something flowering or in color most of the growing season. I rely on colorful rose hips, seed heads and berries also.
My garden can not be a standout all year, but it has consistency of show and variety of bloom. Not the big shebang in July for the Garden Walk, but a good appearance all year. I do plant annuals that reseed themselves and further supplement them with new plants. Gardens can get weedy after the perennials fade if no shrubbery is there to carry the load of garden form. Generally, this is called a mixed planting here in the States. The English do this so well with shrub hedges forming the backbone and structure of the garden and allowing the perennials to take turns blooming and turning heads. Paths and built structures accentuate and help with this cohesive plan. Aiming for balance is the key. I will post about the design with analysis later, but a least you get an idea how this design came about.
Now for the changing of the months. Let’s start with August, the image of the Pee Gee above was taken yesterday, as was the birdseye, below, from my porch off the master bedroom. Plants are getting a little out of control, but Mother Nature is doing her thing. We could use a little rain our way, though. I stop my watering now also.
Moving backwards into July, our garden walk month, the weather was a bit cruel. We had very high humidity and temperatures in the 90′s. The end of July brought this image with little umbrellas protecting the miniature roses from the scorching sun.
Mid July, time of the walk, we have another view from the porch. Lucky for me that I had some lilies blooming. This bed was full two weeks earlier.
Beside the driveway, in early July, I have Campanula and daylilies. Cleome is just out of view.
In the front, roses, various perennials and annuals fill the beds. Japanese lilac trees are behind the boxwood.
June is a wonderful month with rain and moderate temperatures. The difference from above is the Delphinium and roses. The Osteospermum are not yet blooming either.
May. What can I say. Iris and lilac late, phlox and miniature crabapple early. The ‘Royal Gem’ crabapple was new this year. It is planted in the raised bed.
The white petunias get moved to the front after Mother’s Day. I lost them in previous years to petty theft. Somebody was too cheap to buy mom a gift. I followed the fallen petals up the street then they disappeared into a car. In winter, the shepards’ hooks hold bird feeders, as shown below.
April brings us the bulbs and flowering pear.
We can almost forget March with the snow. I don’t venture out much unless the weather warms a bit.
And January, you can see the winter structure of the garden. Still looking good.
I decorate for Christmas and will keep posting through the rest of the year. To see other areas of the garden with Rudbeckia, and ornamental grasses, see my post on The Big Kahuna & My Little Urban Plot.