Bring on the Flowers

I have been waiting for a few weeks to redo the front bed. Remember the image above? This is the computer rendering of what I am up to. I have been waiting for work to slow down a bit. I have been waiting for the weather to cool. Today it is 71 degrees at 2 o´clock. I know that is making some of you readers jealous, but we have been in the same boat as you almost all summer. Waiting for rain to come, waiting, waiting, waiting.

I love gardens full with perennials, but with my job, I have been refraining from having too much to do on the home front. I have had a cottage design in the rear garden before, shown in part above, with the gently curving beds full to the brim with the fussiest of flowers. I started to miss the multitude of bees and butterflies that made frequent trips to 664 with that type of garden. I miss the many varieties of clematis filling the trellises like the image below of my previous garden circa 2005. A cherry tree shaded this area nicely and blocked out the bad view to the street behind. But change is good.

I have been posting my desire to dig up the hell strip, like shown in the schematic design, but I am going to hold off until next spring. I think the plants will get better rooted before they experience the problems they will face. They would be planted in horrid conditions, in addition to this blasted heat wave, which is returning by the way.

I can bet they will be cussing me out the following spring, if they survive. After all, they will be planted only 10 to 15 feet away from my pampered roses and dapper Delphinium, whose roots can freely roam at will.

My yard is the tiniest of gardens, so hence the expansion into unowned land of the hell strip, seen above. The house is also small at only 1400 square feet. Because it is small, I can manage my little lot fairly easily. I do get help from time to time with the guys that install the landscapes of my clients. Their boss is away on vacation, so I could employ their services at will this week.

They came yesterday and of course it was hot. And of course the rototiller did not start. Poor guys. But, it actually was better for me because they double-dug the area and after I amended the bed, was better off. Perennial planting was a breeze. Bulbs are coming.

Above they are stripping the sod. They brought the sod cutter, but it was more of a hassle to get it off the truck. They needed it on a job at one of my clients after my job, so it was available, but they chose to strip it themselves. Bet they would have reconsidered if they knew the rototiller would not start.

I have been collecting plants all summer, nursing them along until they could be planted. Well, actually not so much. The Delphinium got powdery mildew and are looking a little worn. I was keeping the plants in the shade all summer to reduce watering, so the sun worshippers that I collected were pouting up a storm.  I trimmed them so they look a little better.

They seem much happier, now. I am much happier, now. My little babies are on their way. I am more likely to pamper them now that they made it to the front bed. After all, can’t have people seeing pitiful plants out front. Many more are scheduled for the front bed. I do not have the heart to cull the annuals, so I have plants on standby. They are the plants that will tuck in around the rocks, like the alyssum and lobelia.

My plant list includes all my previous favorites. Some of them were planted in spring in the formal, annual bed. Delphinium, Shasta daisy, and asters  shared space with annuals. A left field choice in Tradescantia also made an appearance.

Since I have rocks in this bed, under the alyssum and lobelia, I thought to try it out. It flowered all summer, so even though it likes pond-side siting, it preformed well. It earned a place with the super stars of sage, veronica and leucanthemum. I love these  stalwarts.

When I design, I have only been asked to have gardens perform at a specified time when we are landscaping for an outdoor wedding. But I noticed I have been timing my own garden to bloom during our garden walk, even though I never really looked at it that way. I planted loads of annuals for the walk in containers, hanging baskets and places they would have never been planted.

I never did this for any client, so I thought to myself I should not be doing it for me. My previous post noted that I do not have the most colorful show at garden walk. Yesterday I realized how many freaking baskets I planted. It was pretty colorful as look back at the images. Anyway, off the rant, with the perennial planting out front, annuals, like the grass, will bid adieu.

Speaking of grass. I mowed today and what a snap that was. No more going around the concolor. Took less than two minutes for the front. I can hear the envious cries. My landscaper makes a joke out of how little grass I had to mow in the first place. Now it is even less.

Double digging has started in the image below, and the guys are already getting pooped. All of the boxwood are installed to enclose the perennials. I do this at clients if they have a formal look in mind. That way all the perennials will look neat no matter what stage they are in of their growth cycle. No messy feet to see, kinda like framing a photo.

There will not be a riot of color. I am limiting the palette to the classic white, blue and yellow. I will throw in some pale pink with lilies, mainly because I like them, but they go nicely with the veronica which will bloom simultaneously. The boxwood will fill in over time. Here are some images from the backyard.

No little meatballs in my garden. I have box in the back that are untrimmed and they actually are pretty plants left to their own devices. You rarely see them with their natural form. I doubt I will maintain them this way because they would get too big for their location, but for now it is fine. The one image shows the bigger plants already getting too big for the space. These were trimmed at one time, but not in the last two years. The image above, with the little box, have never been trimmed. Aren’t they adorable. Soft looking, like little pillows. I also learned something from fellow blogger, Art of Gardening. I learned about stunt plants. You know those plants to stage for garden walks and photo shoots. Even though it looks a little odd, I threw in fuchsia as a stunt plant. It was actually used so it would highlight the boxwood’s form, since two are planted here.

This image of the fountain,  is a little more relaxed by my dining table with the sound of soothing, running water. The ivy on the brick also gives a more informal look to the space. I have my back garden divided up into outdoor rooms. Each gives a different feel, yet they work harmoniously with each other.

Now the front will be a little less rigid by adding the curved bed. More work, but softer look.

Here, the guys are taking a break. It was so hot, I kept them supplied with beverages. From the truck, he is loading the wheelbarrow with good sandy loam. You don’t hear that much. The soil at their farm is very well draining. I have the dreaded red clay.

Not too bad when mixed with cow manure and compost. This makes a bed you can run you fingers through.  In fact, that is how I planted the perennials. I did not even need a trowel. Experience tells me that this does not last for long. The clay has a way of reappearing, unless compost is added yearly. I have a new crop of compost decomposing. It will be ready for spring. My landscaper does not have cows, but has zebra and deer. Wonder how good that works?

Here is the partially finished design, boy was the sky blue today. How much does it look like the rendering? I only had one Delphinium of the eight blooming, and that was planted behind my newly trimmed concolor, but it looks pretty good. I could have dug up lobelia and planted it out front, but I did not want to disturb my annuals. Give the little guys a break since they have short lives here in Western New York anyway.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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4 Responses to Bring on the Flowers

  1. Teresa says:

    Very beautiful garden! I bet you are all the envy of the neighborhood

    • Thanks for checking in. I love your containers and baskets. I need to focus a little more on putting them together, myself. Your combinations are great and I like the way you group and display. Any lessons you have online?

  2. Joyce says:

    I adore your gardens. Love your house. And I love your style………I would love to be a designer but don’t have proper training 🙂 You Rock…

    • Thank you Joyce for your kind words. I appreciate you stopping in. You are surely a designer in a broad sense. We make so many decisions in our gardens that are truly wonderful, without formal training, with just the ability to ‘see’ and be inspired. I will do a post on ‘learning to see’ sometime. It is this innate ability all of us share, but just need to be nudged in the right direction. I have been trying to keep the blog in a form that all can appreciate, rather than throw around the theoretical. I looked at your blog yesterday, and was taken by what you had done. Love the island bed with the path and arbor. You created a destination and incorporated many objects into one cohesive plan. Surely a designer.

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