Tuesday View: The Front Border 6.20.17

The summer solstice is just a few hours away and this week’s Tuesday view should fit right in.  The abundance of summer is starting to show, and it shouldn’t be long before the next flush of color begins.

street border

Things aren’t that different this week but I did get the chance to do some major weeding and cleaning out, and (to me at least) it shows.  

Besides thinning the iris and removing their spent flower stalks -a brutal process of ripping nearly half the plants out- I’m also well into filling the empty spots.  Each summer I make room for plenty of annuals and tropicals (or they make room for themselves) and this year I have an additional two or three foot wide expansion strip which needs filling.

sunflower seedlings

A few healthy sunflower seedlings have popped up near the mailbox and I’m going to call that perfect.  It’s one less space which needs manual filling.  

Filling the new bed is much less trouble than I thought it would be.  There are always a few spare canna roots which get planted, plenty of reseeding annuals which come up on their own, and this year I’m adding bunches of coleus cuttings which I started off of the four new-to-me mother plants which I picked up here and there.

verbena transpants

Verbena bonariensis transpants look terrible for the first day or two after transplanting but bounce back quickly.  I didn’t even bother watering these and I’m sure most will turn out fine.

So this year’s main annual color will be coleus, cannas, dwarf zinnias and plenty of other odds and ends which tend to follow me home, and as far as following me home this spring may have been an all time record as far as high numbers of purchased plants and low numbers of self grown seedlings.  I still think I stay well on the cheap side of frugal though since the majority were either six packs or clearance purchases, but I do snap every now and then and end up with something exciting or new.  To ease my conscience I try and take cuttings or overwinter a few bits, so I guess it’s the horticultural version of reuse/recycle.

arundo donax variegata

A few hot days and the Arundo donax variegata has burst on up out of the ground. It does makes a statement I think.

As I continue to add and add and add I hope the bed takes on that super full, overflowing with color and texture look.  For that to happen I’ll need a few more things, and there are still no signs of anyone starting zinnia or gomphrena seeds (my reliable standards), but I’m sure something will work out. In my opinion annual plantings should be a little more spontaneous and different each year otherwise what’s the point?

As usual thanks to Cathy at Words and Herbs for hosting this weekly update, and if you have a chance to give her blog a visit please do, it’s always a pleasure and I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading about other Tuesday views from around the world… or even better yet consider joining in!


26 comments on “Tuesday View: The Front Border 6.20.17

  1. Cathy says:

    Your garden looks so spick and span and so incredibly (enviably) green! I admire your confidence in those verbena transplants. None of mine turned up again this year so I will have to look for a plant somewhere. Too hot to even think about planting now though.

    • bittster says:

      So far the season has been calm and remarkably well-watered. Even the delphiniums have yet to complain, and they’re always the first to either collapse or yellow.
      I have thousands of verbena seedlings, and have already mulched over another several thousand. They need bare soil in order to germinate so if I want more all I need to do is till the soil… if I want less I (should have) mulched 🙂

  2. Pauline says:

    Love your Arundo donax, it certainly does make a statement. I admire all your work, adding exotics and annuals, its too hot to go into the garden at the moment, we are just not used to temperatures over 30C!

    • bittster says:

      I hope you find some more respectable weather soon, used to it or not, 30+ C is not the kind of temperatures for garden work!
      I’ve noticed there have been fewer and fewer annuals here each year. Either the shrubs and perennials are becoming more interesting than the annuals or the gardener more lazy!

  3. Want some zinnia seedlings? I have extras, AND I’m driving right by this afternoon! I have some coleus cuttings too! No gomphrena, though–I’ve had horrible luck with that!

    • bittster says:

      I love the zinnias and the coleus cuttings are exactly the ones I couldn’t find this spring! Usually more seedlings mean more work, but these are perfect. Thanks!

  4. Christina says:

    Coming on very nicely indeed, I love watching your tropical border slowly come to life.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Christina. It’s fun seeing what far distant gardeners are doing with their plots. Think of how much water it would take to do the same by you, but then consider how I always admire your citrus and rosemary. You probably barely think twice of growing them!

  5. I’m with Pauline; that Arundo donax is quite the show stopper. I have a few empty spots but rarely buy annuals. This year I was ill on the weekend of my favorite plant sales so I wan’t even tempted. I have a couple of holes from dividing and giving away a few things last weekend, but not sure what I am going to fill them with — though it will likely be more perennials. That’s why I like reading about what you are doing as it is so different than the way I garden.

    • bittster says:

      I’m sure there will come a time when I can’t be bothered by annuals. They’re so much more work and attention and when you consider the color and reliability of some perennials it becomes a no-brainer.
      A bunch of my dahlias rotted in all the rain and I’m not missing them at all. Maybe a few sun-tolerant hostas or an epimedium would do well in the spot 😉

  6. Chloris says:

    Your Arundo donax always makes me want to pull mine out it is gorgeous.

    • bittster says:

      You should see the thickets which grow down south. What a sight! I think they really enjoy the heat and full sun and I love that mine does as well as it does… until it suddenly dies one day 😉

  7. johnvic8 says:

    Nice and tidy. Have you had trouble with lychnis coronaria (I think that is in your first photo) seeding about. I grew it for awhile but found far too many seedlings coming up all over the place.

    • bittster says:

      The lychnis has been all right for me, I think the crowded border conditions cause many of the seedlings to rot out, and also when I mulch with shredded leaves in the spring it does the same. Any bare spot of full sun soil will sprout a forest of seedlings, so I could see it becoming too much of a good thing.

  8. Thinning the iris? Did you save any for me? You were showing some lovely ones not too many weeks ago.

  9. I definitely second your decision to keep those volunteer sunflowers. Definitely agree it’s also worth experimenting with different annuals.

  10. Eliza Waters says:

    With my own garden, plus two others I care for, it has been a busy spring. Better late than never, it is always a pleasure to see what is up in your garden. The exuberance is always exciting, esp. the Arundo donax. Looking forward to your tropicals!

    • bittster says:

      I don’t know how you manage to keep up with three gardens! I sometimes think I’m struggling with one 🙂
      Isn’t it great to see the changes through the season? Yours is another one that really goes through a transformation.

  11. pbmgarden says:

    Looking rich and exciting. I agree the fun of annuals is enjoying flexibility and spontaneity each year.

    • bittster says:

      Yes, you’re right. Us gardeners can use annuals to go through our ‘red phases’ and ‘blue phases’ and indulge in a pansy or snapdragon phase without being stuck with anything the next spring.

  12. Annette says:

    Your garden looks fresh and green allright, Frank, I can see you’ve had plenty of rain so far. Love your exotic border and look forward to seeing it fill out. I’ve also transplanted plenty of Verbena b. which had sown themselves about in the greenhouse and they’re no problem. Arundo donax is a favourite of mine and grows beside the pond. In spite of its tropical, lush appearance it never gets watered and always looks fab. My own exotic border has changed a bit this year but that’s gardening, never standing still. I’m so glad we finally got rain and hope things will turn green quickly before my former garden design tutor comes on Monday…the pressure is on 😉

    • bittster says:

      I hope this week’s rain works its magic, but I’m sure you’re much more critical of your own garden than you need to be. It’s an awesome space even if deep down inside you think the roses just aren’t carrying their weight one week or the verbena are slacking 😉
      I hope you’re at least getting plenty of use of the pool now that the skies are being stingy with the rain!

      • Annette says:

        Yes, I think you’re right, I’m my worst critic. Things are a lot greener and in the end I don’t really care if others like my garden, main thing is I do 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.