Yes, I have one full garden come summer. Now for 100 photos of my front June garden. Just kidding, but there are quite a few and I did not even come close to featuring all of it, tiny as it is.
Most of these photos were taken June 11th and 12th before I decided to get in there and weed, cut back perennials for later bloom and pull spent foliage from bulbs. Some images are from today. I am very lax on caring for my garden for how it looks, but will try to do better this year. Keeping on top of aggressive plants is important in a heavily planted garden.
There literally were a hundreds and hundreds of bees of every size buzzing during the sunny days, so I waited until rains were on the way to do the chores. Next week when the daylilies and Asiatic lilies are blooming you will get a more cleaned up garden to view.
It was a pollinators dream because it has been raining for days, mostly at night. The plants are fully hydrated and growing like weeds. In fact keeping up with weeds is a chore with all the Norway Maple trees growing. Two inches tall, at least they are easy to pull. You might notice I let the grass a bit long when the clover is growing. The pollinators love my “lawn”. It is all nectar giving weeds!
Take a tour around the front garden and see all that is tightly packed into this 30 foot space. I like to show the wide views as well as planting combinations. Click the galleries to see different views and combinations.
The pansies are still going strong which is a surprise, but many other plants, like salvias and daylilies will be pushing them out in a few weeks. The butterfly weed is just coming into bloom too. See what you can find in my garden.
I will show you the back garden next post. Wow is a lot happening back there!!! Above the side yard almost in the back yard.
For as tight as they are, all remain healthy without the use of fungicides and pesticides. I have so much insect activity, the garden takes care of itself in that regards. It is why I have so many weeds too, they just love moving in. Funny they can find a space to grow though. I have to push back perennial foliage to find those Norway Maple seedlings hiding.
What Keeps it Growing and Healthy?
Keeping plants healthy in a heavily planted garden means you depend a lot on a few basics that is the same for any garden, but far more important in one heavily planted. My top 10 suggestions.
- 1. Build the soil. It pumps up the yield. A deep, organically rich soil encourages the growth of healthy plants. It is a farming practice I follow. Plants build extensive roots to find nutrients and water more easily. The less work a plant does, the more time it spends giving us what we want. You get lush, productive bloom above ground.
- 2. Stagger the plants. I place self-seeding annuals between perennials. Annuals have a smaller root system which works well with the deeper rooted perennials. Different layers of nutrition and water. Plant in triangles. By staggering plants, you can fit 10 percent more plants in each bed.
- 3. Let the good insects do their job. Overly tight spacing can stress plants, making them more susceptible to disease and insects. Good eats bad! Planting plants tightly also benefits insects by creating a cooler, moister habitat for them. This is very important.
- 4. Round and mound. Yes, a rounded or mounded bed shape allows more surface and air circulation. Plus you fit more if beds are built up and mounded a bit. Again, this works with having or adding good soil.
- 5. Mix plantings and make wise companion plantings. I love those onions for keeping away pests.
- 6. Plant for plants to succeed those blooming earlier. Create ground cover color and texture.
- 7. Push the season. Have plants that bloom early and those that make their way until the snow covers them. Bulbs are useful early and late season. Plus they take up little room, yet do demand good nutrition. Good soil!!!!
- 8. Keep the garden hydrated. Soil organisms need the moisture as much as the plants they help to grow.
- 9. Keep on top of aggressive plants. Otherwise you might have an entire garden of goldenrod, Oenothera fruticosa , Oenothera speciosa, or Rudbeckia. These and plants like them will push their way around the garden at the expense of other plants you might prefer.
- 10. Mulch early because later the garden will be covered in foliage. I just top dress rather than mulch. The plants themselves shade the soil nicely.
Now for Design…
Like I mentioned on the collector’s garden, my garden has a more subdued color scheme of blues and pinks, yet a few hot colors pop up throughout the season. Too much color, especially hot colors, is a lot more jarring than festive. I like hot colors as a garden accent.
Reds, yellows and oranges are in the main bed and command attention, but generally as a few specimens. I design designated beds where they have a greater presence, like the side garden above. Masses of red, yellow or orange blooms are guaranteed to attract attention – they add excitement, but so do a few accents. I love color, but the garden is very different through the growing season.
Spring is pastel and fall is predominantly blue and purple. A designer trick is to vary the color scheme by seasons. Hot color says summer! I use a lot of white to temper the color too. Color is tricky because if you use too much, color can cancel out the neighboring batch. We are wired to easily notice confusion and things having too much contrast.
I use blue all season long. Blue tones can help widen or lengthen the look of a garden because blue falls back visually, and in a small space blue makes it feel larger. Because blue fades as night comes, I add lots of white to brighten the garden. In the garden now are pansies, Salvia, amsonia, spiderwort, lavender, and Campanula. Shortly the Delphinium, asters, Russian Sage, balloon flower, and Caryopteris take the stage.
The side gardens are all hot colors. Rudbeckia, coneflowers, Sundrops, roses and yarrow.
Check out the garden in a week or two. It will look quite different as a whole new host of characters perform. That is one of the best reasons for a tight planting, there is always a “new” garden to see as the season progresses.