Front border update

Looking back on the weather, I believe I picked the hottest days of the year to do my digging, transplanting and bed expanding.  It’s cooled a bit recently but the strong sun and spotty rain combined with my thin skin of topsoil have left things a little tired looking.  Crispy tan grass dominates the yard, but here and there is some fresh color to keep me motivated.

Here’s how the new transplants are doing.  The ‘Tropicanna’ cannas love the heat and don’t look bad next to the airy fennel that’s trying to take over the mailbox.  It’s been cut back a bunch due to the huge numbers of pollinating wasps drawn in to the flowers… no one needs a mailbox that buzzes.flower border along street

The street side of the border isn’t nearly as well kempt as the freshly weeded, freshly planted house side, but it looks interesting with a lively mix of Russian sage (perovskia), sedum, and lamb’s ears (stachys ‘Helen von Stein’) with all kinds of self-sown volunteers such as phlox.drought tolerant street planting

I’ve been busy re-taming this border after returning from our recent Florida vacation.  Ten days of living the suburban dream of Disney and a tropical beach in late July, it doesn’t get any more relaxing than that.  Pulling crabgrass in the blazing August sun (without a million other people) was a refreshing return.

The annual coleus and zinnia seedlings liked the heat and it also brought out blooms on the butterfly bushes and ‘Limelight’ hydrangea.

annuals mixed in perennial border

I love the hydrangea, it’s getting to be on the big side but I’m all for big plants in the garden.  ‘Limelight’ is a type of hydrangea paniculata, a group that blooms in late summer (usually white or pinkish), tolerates dryer soils, welcomes full sun and flowers reliably each year.  It blooms on new growth, so you could take a chainsaw to the thing in spring and still get a mass of blooms later in the year.  ‘Limelight’ has a nice greenish tint to the new blooms and has stems strong enough to keep the heavy flower heads from flopping.021Another all-summer bloomer is rose of Sharon (althea syriacus), they laugh at heat and drought and are nearly impossible to kill.  They have some well known faults, and two of the biggest are it’s late leafing out and it’s enthusiastic reseeding habits, but I grow it anyway.  ‘althea blue birdDiana’ is a sterile white cultivar and an awesome plant, but with all the white vinyl around here I can only fit in so many bright white flowers, so the one I grow is ‘Blue Bird’. ‘Blue Bird’ earned its spot because of the trouble free blue color of its blooms.  I don’t think it’s as showy as some of the others but the color is worth a little seeding around.  Every now and then I think it has a little look of weediness to it, and even though in my garden this isn’t a noticeable fault, in some more refined plantings this might stick out.  I guess  that’s a cross better gardeners are meant to bear.

Drought tolerance is something that everything in this street border has to deal with.  Perovskia, self-sown gloriosa daisies (rudbeckia), and ornamental grasses all take it in stride.  It’s a little messy, but right now I think the color holds up well to the bright sun and higher temperatures…. no room for pastels here…. The purple ‘Laura’ phlox gets extra water now and then, it handles a little dry weather and heat, but complains the whole time.rudbeckia and russian sage

‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass doesn’t complain about anything.  A haircut in the spring is all the maintenance it needs and if you like the grassy look this is what it gives you all summer, fall, and winter.  Doesn’t reseed, doesn’t need fertilizer, looks good all year…….I’m a fan.karl foerster feather eed grass

‘Karley Rose’ fountain grass is another good one.  It can get floppy after a rain, and doesn’t hold the good looks through the winter like Karl does, but makes a nice accent. karley rose fountain grass

Hopefully the annuals planted last month will fill in and make an accent before frost.  The newest plantings look more like a late May picture than an intro to August, but such is procrastination.  At least I’ll have a few empty spots to shoehorn spring bulbs into once that planting season starts. 🙂cannas in a mixed border

Best wishes for your August garden!

14 comments on “Front border update

  1. pbmgarden says:

    The new border is coming along great. Love the ‘Limelight’ too.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Susie. It was about time I put some work into it, the bed was totally neglected last year. There’s still something missing though, maybe a few bigger patches would help neaten the look up.

  2. I love looking at the photos you post! The messy colorful look is so awesome, I saved that photo for my desktop background. Also love the hydrangeas. Do they attract bees?

    • bittster says:

      Wow thanks! I guess I’m surprised since I look at the garden so much all I see are weeds and a to-do list. The hydrangea doesn’t seem to attract bees much, sometimes I see a few flies sipping nectar but that’s it.

  3. I think your garden is looking great, especially since a chunk of it is new. The Rose of Sharon is beautiful. I don’t grow it, but I get to appreciate the one the neighbors have close to our garden. You are right that the pluses far outweigh the minuses. I also love that fountain grass. The fennel looks like it is expecting some mail!

    • bittster says:

      Ha, yes! I was starting to worry about the safety of the mailman so I cut it back…. Plus this year my garden is wasp-land and they’re all over the flowers.

  4. The garden is really looking good for this time of year. The heat passed, I hope will bring more bloom. You have some nice combinations too.

  5. ZielonaMila says:

    Great pictures, great plants, interesting post 🙂 Regards

  6. Kalyan says:

    simply beautifully captured shots…lovely!

  7. linda feezor says:

    just came across your beautiful garden photos. 1 question, your Karl Forrester grass looks like a grouping, how many are there? I just got one this year and was wondering how much space it will take up, so I hope your photo is of more than 1 plant, lol

    • bittster says:

      You’re safe, it is three plants and they’ve been there 8 years so are definitely settled in lol.
      Btw I never fertilize them, I think it keeps them from getting floppy.

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