Saturday, June 2, 2012

Nearly Naked

Last year I began I very short lived series of posts called The Full Monty, British slang for 'the full amount' or as we Americans sometimes put it, 'the whole shebang'. The Full Monty also refers to the title of a British movie about a group of men who strip completely nude to raise money. Only two posts were created. By July, I realized I was too frustrated with the garden and all the areas in need of repair to show the whole thing. Instead, I focused on the spots that made me happy and seethed about the rest, renovation and redesign plans simmering all summer.

My front garden isn't part of this post. It was redesigned but still needs time to fill out. A badly pruned dwarf abelia and 200 soggy, wretched annual vinca, lovers of heat and drought, aren't feelin' the love from the 8 inches of rain we've received in the last month and the loropetalum that replaced three huge, nonflowering hydrangea look like like little purple blobs. You're welcome to come by and gawk, but be prepared to be underwhelmed. This month I'm not going the full monty, just nearly naked.


Welcome to the garden!


Clematis crispa, daylilies, lamium, and graniums


This long stretch of perennials starts at one of the entrances to the dog run and ends at the rain garden. It's packed with plants that attract hummingbirds and pollinators, as well as four roses.


The first trumpet creeper blooms opened this morning.


I love the feathery foliage of liatris against the agastache, rue, and Night Owl roses.



The coneflowers are beginning to bloom. I love the soft pink of this cultivar. I didn't expect it to be so delicate.


These are 'Rocky Top' coneflowers. Their flowers always face east.


The top of the bed looking towards the gate. My Nano-Farm is on the edge of the patio.


From that same spot, if you turn to the right, a long stretch of perennials and trees creates the spine of the garden. These shasta daisies are some of the toughest plants in the garden. They thrive in bone dry soil.


Hidden behind the daisies is the frog pond. The variegated water celery has grown so much you can't see the muck buckets any more. Hooray! A little frog lives here and loves to sun itself on the rocks.


Instead of trying to find plants that would grow in some of the gardens driest spots, I opted for a creative solution, instead. I love the shadow of this iron trellis against the ash tree. The ceramic urn is filled with variegated vinca vine.


I used a couple of big rocks set at an angle to create a small shelter, an old toad house, and a ceramic mossy green urn to create a toad abode. Diervilla grows behind the green urn and will eventually fill this space.


The monarda and joe pye weed (eupatorium) are enormous, thanks to all the rain. The monarda will be blooming soon. 


The back garden receives partial shade. Several areas have very dry soil that has been a challenge to work with. A network of soaker hoses keeps the plants watered but I've discovered numerous plants that do well in dry partial shade such as kalimeris, sedum, linaria, amsonia, porteranthus stipulatus, Solomon's Seal, and northern sea oats.




Porteranthus stipulatus is a native wildflower also known as Western Indian Physic.


Red and pink knautia pop up all over the garden. I love the contrast of the red knautia against the creamy yellow variegated sedum.



Kalimeris and 'Autumn Joy' thrive in dry partial shade. I love the juxtaposition of the delicate pale blue daisies against the big thick sedum leaves.


 This was another trouble spot so I filled it with a potted birdhouse and creeping bramble.



 This bed ends at the other entrance to the dog run.


Standing in the dog run and looking to the right, the garden becomes moister the closer you come to the crepe myrtles. Coneflowers, asters, non-herbal oregano, phlox, and heliopsis, among many others, thrive in this bed.



I don't know the name of this coneflower cultivar but I love its peachy color.


Heliopsis


Looking back towards the daisies


After a very stormy night, the sun was neon bright this morning and we enjoyed incredible weather all day.


I don't know the name of these little daylilies, but I love how vibrant they are. Spigelia grows in the corner.




Spigelia marylandica and 'Chocolate' eupatorium grow near the blackberries.


This corner is packed with 'Chester Thornless' blackberries that are always devoured by the birds.


The garden circles an elipse of grass and contains native laurel oak, ash, hornbeam, and cedar trees as well as a beautiful little viburnum lenato or nannyberry tree. We added a 'Heritage' river birch, three crepe myrtles, and a dogwood. The builder planted a 'Yoshino' cherry tree in the middle of the yard.



Last fall I added  'River Mist' sea oats to brighten up this dark little corner. I love how elegant it is and am really looking forward to seeing it grow to three feet tall.


Staychs 'Hummelo' are popular with the pollinators and are super easy to grow.


Staychs 'Hummelo', 'Summertime Blues' campanula, native mint, phlox, and black eyed susans fill this bed near the variegated sea oats.


Looking towards the river birch garden


Thalictrum, Bowman's root, euphorbia, anemones, and epimedium


Part of the river birch garden is shady while the side jutting out into the lawn receives sun and filtered shade. I added this section of the garden last fall. Most of the plants in this garden were part of the original design and had to be moved as the garden became shadier. I call it the Founding Flowers Garden.


Most of these hosta came from a friend and I have no idea what their names are. 


The phlox are all seedlings that should range in color from white to hot pink when they bloom. I'm really looking forward to seeing them bloom since their color is a surprise. 



Dwarf heliopsis, 'Peggy Martin' climbing rose, variegated sage, coneflowers, rudbeckia, and Persian cornflower are just a few of the perennials in this bed. The Persian cornflowers are a favorite of the goldfinches who devour their seeds.


Vareigated iris and nepeta


This picture was taken a few days ago when the iris was blooming. Red knautia and rue are also in bloom.


Looking back towards the rest of the garden


A row of massive Prague viburnums grow against the garage wall, just past the gate. The dogwood garden is just across the grass path from the river birch/founding flowers garden.


Pink yarrow


Tradescantia seedling


Stoke's Aster (Stokesia)



Coneflowers and more heliopsis grow near the yarrow.


Patio side of the dogwood garden



An enormous Rose of Sharon grows along the back of the house. I don't know why, but it's outrageously hard to photograph without a weird glare. You can see a bit of it in these photos. Pennisetum 'Karley Rose' grows in the urn while two small honeysuckles have been planted in the big gold pot. I'm hoping they will cascade out of the pot and along the steps. A pink rose and more clematis grow near the rose of Sharon.


This is my Nano-Farm! A tomato, sweet potatoes, a ground cherry and purple carrots grow in pots near the fennel and jade plant. The Rose of Sharon grows nearby.

Ground cherries!!!

53 comments:

  1. Wow, that is the whole shebang!! I am impressed with how full and lush all the garden spots are. I am buying and planting sooooo much, yet there is so much space between all the plants....nobody is filling in that much, YET!!
    We have talked about your dry rock creek...have plans to get something similar done while two of the kids are home this summer. They can hardly wait. hahahaha They couldn't figure out what was heavier than mulch. Finally it dawned on them, ROCKS. duh

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    1. Ya gotta love free labor! It's taken a long time for some of the plants to really fill out but I love the fullness they create. The waiting-to-get-big period drives me crazy.

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  2. Oh my goodness. With this much to digest, it would take me days to pen a complete response to this post! Off the top of my head, I would say Yowsa Mama! How DO you stay on top of all the weeding in ALL THOSE BEDS???? I'm majorly astounded. Secondly, I love the frog pond. Ahhhdorable. Thirdly, your peachy coneflower and rosy daylily just caught my eye. Love those colors. Fourth, those are some sharp looking bed edges. Impressive. Lovely. Lovely. Lovely yard!

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    1. My husband gets all the credit for the sharply edged beds. :o) I weed daily to conquer them while they're tiny.

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  3. Looks so good. Even if you don't choose to show the ugly bits I hope you do take pictures... there is nothing quite so rewarding as looking back each year and seeing how much you did get accomplished, even if its never perfect.

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    1. Thanks! I took some pix of the funky abelia and will look it the next time I get the pruning bug. It looks so pathetic! The front garden is just a bit teenage right now - very pimpley and moody. It'll come around!

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  4. You have so much going on, I am surprised you could have any unpleasent areas at all. Everything you are showing is gorgeous. I especially love your Coneflowers and your Trumpet Creeper. I was so sad when I realized I left my Trumpet vine at our old residence when we moved, so I never got to see it bloom. Do you find it to be an invasive plant at all? I am interested because I would like to find one and try again in my garden.

    Also your toad hanging out on the corner of the page (in the water pot) is so adorable! Awesome how he found just the right spot for himself lol.

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    1. I love toads and frogs. I found him in there on a hot day. Smart critter! Trumpet vine is really invasive and I fight a constant battle with mine to keep it contained. But it's flowers are such incredible hummingbird magnets and the birds love it's lush summer foliage, so I keep it.

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  5. Oh gal, I wanna slap ya silly over your complaining about your garden! LOL It is be-utifulllll. Every spring I wish we lived anywhere but but here (I gotta get over that). As summer burns on it will be a struggle to keep anything in my yard alive. I guess I'll have to live a vicarious life in your garden.

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    1. I can only survive so much heat. The southwest is not the spot for me so I admire anyone who lives there. I love the back garden but the front needs a bit of time to fill out.

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  6. Just lovely! You've got a lot going on!!! That bee balm is going to be spectacular when it blooms! And I'm coveting your Stachys monieri hummelo -- mine croaked in our brutal summers. I gave it the ol' college try, though. Oh, the Fred Meyers lily has been a failure...so far, too. It was really crowded out by the spring wildflowers and by the time I pulled out the wildfowers, it was doing poorly. So I dug it up and moved it, and then it proceeded to -- well, it either croaked or it went dormant. I guess I will find out. I put it in one of the driest spots in my front garden. How is yours doing?

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    1. I tried to leave a reply on your post but my Internet crashed. My Fred Meyers sprouted leaves during our mild winter, developed frost burn and looked like crud, and are now going dormant, which I think is normal. I bet yours did the same and will surprise you this summer. Sorry about your Hummelo. Your summer was so brutal I would have croaked, too.

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  7. I really enjoyed my trip through your garden of inspiration! Tomorrow I'm going out first thing and moving some sedum to plant beside the knautia. (And I really like how you have edged your beds. Very well done!)

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    1. Hubby gets the credit for the edging! I love the knautia against the sedum, too. It was a happy surprise! Knautia is super tough. Don't baby it too much.

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  8. Everything looks lovely. Haven't seen that Knautia before, that is really a beautiful bloom. Can't believe I have a Coneflower blooming in May even. That is just unheard of here. Love all your blooms.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Thanks! Have you seen the variegated knautia? It's stunning! I love coneflowers, too. Wouldn't want to have a garden without them. :o)

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  9. Gardens are always a work in progress and yours is just magnificent. Congratulations!

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  10. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I like all of it, so where do I start? I love the touches of whimsy throughout your garden--especially the iron trellis, the toad house, and the bird houses. Sweet. And you have some lovely perennials in full bloom now!

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    1. Thank you so much! The iron trellis is from Lowe's! I love gardens that are a bit artistic and funky and thought that would be a great solution to my problem spots. Plus, it gave me an excuse to buy that white pot. :o)

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  11. Jeeper Creepers, you have a LOT of plants and a lot of SPACE and the WHOLE SHABANG is gorgeous. You're going to keep me busy all summer having to study all these new plants. The 'River Mist' seaoats will be my first plant to look for.
    I must say you had a catchy title for this post...Almost Naked? Whew!:0) LOL
    It reminds me of the most embarassing thing I've ever read in a gardening journal/magazine. Believe it or not,there's a group of 'clothing optional' gardeners in California. I can't even imagine such a thing.
    And NO, they don't have a BLOG with photos. LOL
    Thanks again for the full tour of your sensational garden! David/:0)

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    1. Holy Toledo! Naked gardening? Talk about sunburn in odd spots! they would have to call their blog TMI - Too Much Info! I think my cheap camera distorts the amount of space I have. My whole property, including the house, is only about 1/4 of an acre or so. I'm in love with the River Mist sea oats, too. Such a cool plant. :o) Thanks for all the kind compliments!

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  12. I finally got a few ground cherries that were ready to eat! Tiny little surprises and they're so much fun to open!

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    1. I can hardly wait til mine are ripe! I found a recipe for ground cherry pie. Looks so tasty!

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  13. Wow is all I can say! It is stunning! So nice and neat and tidy and with so many textures! I love it all!

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    1. Thanks so much! I love the contrast of different leaf textures against each other. It keeps the garden design from becoming monotonous. :o)

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  14. Whoa! You've done incredible, evocative work and art. Not nearly naked. A coneflower that faces east? I need one of those.

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    1. I noticed they were all growing east last summer and thought it was weird but that's the only direction they grow in. Very cool!

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  15. all of this is so beautiful and established that I think you'd be lacking a challenge if the front garden wasn't underwhelming. Anyway don't gardens swing from over to under whelming like a metronome although not so regularly or predictably?

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    1. A metronome is the perfect comparison!! I never know what monkey wrenches my garden is going to throw at me but I have to admit to enjoying the challenge.

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  16. If this is a duplicate question...sorry. The fist got swallowed up and I was not finished writing. I really am surprised at how big your garden is and it goes on and on. You have may lovely combinations in the beds. I am glad you mentioned the monarda. Here it is huge too, but we had no rain in May. I think it was our long growing season, which started in March. The red daylily looks like Little Business. I am not sure though, but it looks about the right height.

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    1. I love having my plants identified for me by other gardeners. :o) Last summer I made two changes in how I view my garden - 1) it's always just a rough draft and change is expected, 2) I wanted to not just plant my garden but compose it and began to rethink some of my planting combinations to make them more interesting. So far, it's working!

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  17. What a tour! You do realize gardeners see what is to going to be there, not what is. . . so your less developed areas are just as interesting as the more filled in spaces. It all looks cohesive, restful, and I like how you deal with your problem areas with hardscape, pots and creativity.

    Besides, all you have to do is show me that spigelia marilandica and I swoon each time.

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    1. Cohesive and restful - those words are balm to me because those are two feelings I want my garden to evoke. After dealing with crazy 12 yr olds all day, I can't come home to a crazy garden. :o)

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  18. I think you have done a marvelous job on the garden. It looks so very inviting. You have two plants I covet the spigelia and the porteranthus that I have planted in my garden only to be eaten by the bunnies. Both are hard to find plants around here. Really enjoyed the tour!

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    1. Our resident bunny has been dining on Asters al Fresco. I just wish it would graze the lawn a bit more so we wouldn't have to mow. :o)

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  19. Your ground cherries look amazing!! Mine have a ways to go before they get that big. And I love your toad! That is a great picture.

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    1. Toad is very cooperative with my photo sessions. :o) I'm really looking forward to trying the ground cherries. I just wonder how big they'll eventually get!

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  20. Fantastic garden. Did you take any gardening course? Wow! I have a question - can you grow sweet potato in a pot? How big the pot should be? Thanks.

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    1. This is my first year growing sweet potatoes but I've heard they're easy to grow in a pot. I left you a longer response on your blog. :o)

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  21. I love love love all the long views and wide shots. I had no idea your garden was so FULL. There's so many plants I feel like my own garden is rather sparse in comparison. Love that little frog finding a hiding spot in a pot. You've done incredibly well with your little pond. It too has filled out and looks like it's been there forever.

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    1. The frog pond is a joy! I'm sooo happy with it. The resident frog is growing bigger, too, so the entire little ecosystem I created is working. I let a lot of my plants self-seed so I always have a supply of seedlings I can use to fill an empty spot. Plus, I'm just a sucker for buying plants! I've been working on this garden for 8 years. Give yours more time and it will be full, too. :o)

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  22. I am not sure why, but I got an even better impression (understanding) of your garden than the last time that you did the "Full Monty". I think that it must be all the wide shots.
    I had to look through a few times. Your garden is so neat and tidy! Mine looks like a wild jungle in comparison. Even the grass looks good, which is saying something considering that you have multiple dogs. I definitely think we are about on par for the workload, i.e. we both have pretty big gardens. I loved seeing all the closeups in with the long shots. It really demystifies any plant to see it in a nearly naked setting.

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    1. I love macro shots but unless I'm really familiar with the plant, I need long shots to understand how it works in the garden. Last year the dogs ripped up a chunk of the lawn on a mole hunt. They did a lot more damage than the mole ever did! When I extended the garden, we patched the lawn. Plus, they do all their digging (usually) in the dog run.

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  23. Your garden is looking lovely! I really like your choice of plants ~ so much variety in colors and textures. I'm jealous of your Clematis crispa! ;) And the neat edge between lawn and garden.

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    1. Clematis crispa is a southeastern native. If it grows for me, it will surely grow for you. :o)

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  24. Hi, I'm the first time in your blog. I love this clematis crispa!
    your garden is nice!

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  25. Wow! Thanks for the (nearly) full monty view of your garden! I like how your garden borders your beautiful lawn. You have such a huge variety of plants, and everything looks so healthy! It does look like a lot of work (fun!) to maintain it all!

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    1. I really like having a lawn in the middle of the yard. It provides a restful green space as well as a spot to put the hammock. :o) Plus, it's so soft underfoot.

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  26. I love the photo captioned "Staychs 'Hummelo', 'Summertime Blues' campanula, native mint, phlox, and black eyed susans fill this bed near the variegated sea oats", is that a crepe myrtle in that bed?

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    1. Hi Mac! I have three crepe myrtles with lavender flowers and one of them is in the bed you mentioned. One of the best features of a crepe myrtle is that they offer filtered shade, instead of dark, heavy shade. If their branching becomes too dense, I just branch prune from the interior to open them up. This allows more light to come through

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  27. So much to see. What a gorgeous garden you have! I love the lighting on that very first coneflower blossom. Your Spigelia is amazing. I've never seen one quite that floriferous. The trunks on your Crape Myrtles are outstanding. Your 'River Mist' is doing incredible in that spot! I love your pots stationed around the garden. Everything looks great. Thanks for the tour.

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