Tuesday View: The Front Border 7.4.17

Its mildly disturbing how quickly the weeks roll by, but once again it’s Tuesday and time to check in on this year’s view.  This week marks a new month, a definite turn to summer, and for those in the US it’s Independence day so bring on the picnics and barbecues and fireworks 🙂

street border

A lush, robust Tuesday view.  We have not wanted for water this year and many of the plants are bigger than I’ve ever seen.  The bugs are thrilled as well, and I don’t recall any other year which had this much  buzzing and flitting and fluttering .

I’m declaring this the year of the lily in my garden since it seems as if bulbs all over are putting out more blooms than ever.  I have special to me seedlings which have surprised me with their first flowers but I also have some of the fancier hybrids which have finally settled in.

lilium red velvet

Lilium ‘Red Velvet’.  It may not show well in the garden because of its dark, saturated color, but check out that dark, saturated color!

The Asiatic hybrids are some of the most popular of the early lilies, but I’m not all that crazy about the shorter, upright facing forms.  I like the tall downward facing ones, and if I had more room I think I could easily collect a few… hmmmm… new bed idea?

lilium red velvet

‘Red Velvet’ is in its second year here and about five feet tall.  That’s an excellent eye level flower for me, and perfect for close inspection.

Now I won’t go on about the scarlet lily beetle, since as of yet they have not reached our little valley, but for those of you afflicted by this pest I extend my sympathies.  I dread the day they reach here and that will likely be the year the lilies are given away to better homes.  I’ll just grow sunflowers if it comes to that.

street border

The mailbox is destined to be engulfed with sunflowers this summer (they’re the big leaves in the center).  No idea what kind they are other than birdfood leftovers, but I do know they’ll be awesome 🙂

The street side of the border is beginning to show some color again as the lavender colored perovskia, pink coneflowers (Echinacea), and a lonely yellow rudbeckia open up.

street border

Weedy or wildflowery?  If I ever get around to mulching I’ll try to neaten up the first foot or so of the edge so it looks like I planned all these plantings… which I didn’t 😉

A few years ago I tried adding a few named varieties of Echinacea purpurea to the border… well actually it was just two, and neither were the more exotically colored forms which you see out today… the plants seeding around now are just more of the average form, which in my opinion are still awesome, but don’t be fooled into thinking you need every seedling which comes up.  I rip out plenty each year, and if I were smarter I’d do it again now while they’re in bloom in order to select out the smaller, less exciting flower forms.

echinacea coneflower

Sometimes it amazes me that flowers this nice just grow all by themselves in some midwestern prairie.

As you probably know, these coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) are North American natives and not far removed from the wild forms which dot the prairie landscape.  For a minute I might ask myself why I bother with other more troublesome primadonnas from landscapes far removed.

echinacea coneflower

More coneflowers

Have I mentioned spring and now early summer have been perfectly watered?  They have, and the hydrangeas and pretty much everything except for a few iris and dahlias are looking all the better for it.  Plants are lush this year and on top of that it seems all the good bugs are swarming while the bad are sparse.  You know that won’t last, but for now the only thing which seems too lush are a few of the ornamental grasses and this Eryngium.


Maybe it’s just early but this normally steely blue and gray Eryngium (species unknown) is just mostly green *yawn*… we will see how it progresses…

The late planting of annuals is also a work in progress although I have high hopes for a later season of full plants and bold colors… if not entirely tasteful or well thought out colors 🙂

mixed border annuals

The newest bed expansion is still filling in.  I believe there’s already plenty here and just needs to fill in, but it makes me anxious to see open ground in July.  

I guess the only thing left work-wise for this summer is mulch.  I couldn’t garden without mulch and this year I’m treating myself to a load of shredded bark mulch rather than a temporary bandage of grass clippings or shredded leaves (which were used up elsewhere months ago).  This time of year I only cover the outer most foot or two of beds since the inner sections are already covered in plants.  It’s not that I wouldn’t mind mulch there as well, but for as much as I plant and replant, this perfect coating of shredded neatness would be dug in and over within a few months and for me that doesn’t sound like a worth-it kind of investment.

rose campion lychnis

A common upright sedum with a few small up and coming coleus and a patch of rose campion (Lychnis coronata).  To me a sunny garden without sedum is just nonsense.  

So that’s a pretty full Tuesday View.  As usual thanks go to Cathy at Words and Herbs, and I invite everyone to give her site a visit to see what her view and others around the world look like this week.  It’s always a treat and I’m sure they probably mulched weeks ago.  Happy fourth, and have a great week!

17 comments on “Tuesday View: The Front Border 7.4.17

  1. Tim Calkins says:

    Looking good! I agree, this has been a good year for lilies, both lilium and hemerocallis — but our weather in northern Virginia has been much drier for the past month. May was moist enough, it seemed, but our June has been among the driest. Perhaps the month prior to bloom is a key time for developing buds in quantity, as there have been a lot. In any case, wide cracks have now opened in the clay here, and hydrangeas are wilting right and left if not visited with the hose every couple of days, but that’s almost OK, it’s too hot to do much else. Your Red Velvet looks great, by the way.

    • bittster says:

      I hope you get a few rain showers to ease things up a bit, I’m not one to enjoy a hot dry spell this early in the season just when everything is starting.
      I think you’re right about the weather in May having a big effect on blooms in July, especially for hemerocallis. It sure can’t hurt to have them growing vigorously early on in the season. Lilies I’m not as convinced. I’ve always been told everything is set the year before, but on the other hand a fall planted vs spring planted bulb always seems to show a difference, usually with the fall planted one doing much better… I guess I really don’t know!
      This summer I have a ‘Silk Road’ OT lily which looks like it will finally have a borderline awesome flower stalk. I can’t wait. I think I saw you showing off something similar (but a much bigger bunch) and I’m hoping one day mine gets like that 🙂

  2. Most annuals around here are fall bloomers. They hit their stride in September, so I’m not surprised that your border doesn’t look filled in yet. But yes, overall, lookin’ good. It’s been great weather so far. Long may it continue!

    • bittster says:

      I do have an unhappy banana plant. For as much as we are enjoying the weather I think this one really wants a few hot and humid days to move it along. They’ll all come along eventually though, I’m not at all worried…. as if that would help anyway!

  3. March Picker says:

    Very beautiful lilies! Your photos of echinacea make me miss them in our long-ago Virginia garden where they flourished. Here in the PNW, not so much.That Eryngium is another plant I hope to grow. I started seeds this year, eager for that silvery contrast, and one measly seedling remains. Nice Tuesday view, Frank!

    • bittster says:

      Haha, at one time these were all measly eryngium seedlings, now I’m considering ‘thinning the herd’ a bit since they’re much more perennial, and much more of a spreader than I though they’d be.
      That’s the problem with moving around. You always pick up that ‘plants I can’t grow anymore’ baggage! I think you’re in a good spot though, I can’t tell you how many plants I see on the Far Reaches Farm website which make me wish I lived elsewhere. Everything I want always ends up being not hardy enough… plus the postage to send it cross-country is a real dream killer 😉

  4. Cathy says:

    It certainly is noticeable that you have had a lot of rain Frank – lush is definitely the right word! It has been the opposite here, and bare earth is everywhere, which I hate. No point in putting in gap fillers as I would not be able to keep up with watering them. Your cone flowers are beauitful, and the advantage of the native ones is that they help native pollinators – good to hear there are plenty of buzzing and fluttering creatures around in your garden! Thanks for sharing and have a good week!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Cathy!
      I had a year like that last year, when the rains always went East or West of us but never right on. I gave up on several parts of the garden and hoped irrigation could save the rest. It did, and even the abandoned parts mostly recovered once the rain came back.
      It’s always a feast or famine, isn’t it?
      hmmmm… it just occurred to me it’s strawberry season and I really need to dig out your lemon-strawberry cake recipe 🙂

  5. Lisa Rest says:

    Your sunflowers look like mine, only yours are more organized. Mine are all over the yard wherever they sprouted and I leave them or remove them at will. Some are so tall they’re providing shade. The goldfinches will be feasting on them soon enough. Love your echinacea, mine too comes back every year with unbelievable conviction.

    • bittster says:

      Sunflowers are so entertaining aren’t they. I had been leaving all of them up until a few years ago when I tried to put a foot down. They get so big in a good spot and really kind of take over… but I have to say part of me loves that, and the finches and chickadees love it too!

  6. Pauline says:

    Love the combination of Echinacea and Perovskia, they go so well together.

  7. Nothing like enough rain to make the garden and the gardener happy. We are having an unexpected thunderstorm this very moment, which is nice as I moved three shrubs over the weekend. Red Velvet is gorgeous, not least because the petals do look velvety. I’ve added a few upward facing lilies this year as I think it may be easier to shoehorn them into full beds.

    • bittster says:

      I may have to eat my words on the upward facing lilies. I saw a few the other day and for the life of me couldn’t remember why I turned my nose up at them!
      I’m also trying to sneak in a few more transplants. To late for some, but still worth it for a couple others, and I really want to keep moving along rather than shutting down for the summer.

  8. We haven’t seen Lilly Beetles either, knock on wood. ‘Red Velvet’ is lovely, and I really like street side view – I vote for wildflowery, not weedy. I also like the combo of Purple Coneflower and Russian Sage.

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