Tuesday View: The Front Border 7.18.17

A Tuesday greeting from humid and damp Pennsylvania.  I love it.  The garden has never been so lush and vibrant, and until the mold and fungus kick in I’ll enjoy every minute of it, even the downpours.  Here’s the view this Tuesday.

front border

The pink coneflowers and lavender perovskia are really kicking in now.  

In all honesty this is actually a Monday afternoon view since the lawn was freshly cut that afternoon and strong storms were on the way, but close enough, right?

front border

The view from the street.  I started out trying to keep it shorter and neater here but the perovskia and coneflowers seeded in and I’m pretty sure nothing I could think up would look better.    

This is the time of year when this border really hits its stride.  For the next few weeks it should be just full of color… maybe too much color, but if you think back to our bleak months of winter I think you’ll be able to ignore much in the way of poor design and less than perfect color combinations!

front border

A closeup of the middle.  I see plenty, but the yellow of my absolutely favorite new plant ‘Axeminster Gold’ Comfrey is all I want to talk about.

The variegated comfrey has been something I NEEDED for a few years and finally got a hold of this spring.  It’s everything I like in a plant, big, bright, and variegated, and although it will likely scorch in this normally dry, full sun spot any other year, this season it’s doing just great.  If you need any other reason to grow this plant check out Nancy Ondra’s Hayefield blog for one of her posts on this plant.  I make no secret out of the fact it was her photos which ignited my plant lust for this goodie, and honestly it’s been at least a year since I last plugged her awesome blog or books or just plain good person-ness so I think it’s about time I mention her again.

agastache golden jubilee

What?  More yellow?  You bet!  The tidy little grass is miscanthus ‘Gold Bar’.. which (after three years) is much shorter than its predicted 4-5 foot height, and some Agastache ‘Golden Jubilee’ which comes nice and true from seed, as these have. 

I’ll finish up with the far end of the border which is looking much nicer this year than normal.  Part of that has been the rain, but the other factor is I’ve been making a point out of starting at this end and working my way over to the mailbox rather than the other way around.  With my attention span it really makes a difference which end you start from 🙂

front border

I don’t think anyone will be copying this mess, the only colors missing are a true red and blue,  but it sure is “interesting”.  Please take note first of the amazingly neat mulch and second of the hydrangea peeking out from the center.  It’s a clearance ‘Vanilla Strawberry’ from last autumn, and although it starts white I’m hoping it develops a nice strawberry blush soon after.  We will see.

So that’s where we’re at for this Tuesday View.  If you’d like, give Cathy at Words and Herbs a visit to see how everyone else is doing this week, it’s a great way to keep tabs as the season changes, and even better if you join in with your own view… plus you can’t go wrong on any visit to Cathy’s!

Have a great week, and wish me luck.  I started tidying up a few shelves in the garage on Friday and the weekend turned into a full blown garage cleaning, rearranging, repairing, and repaint-a-thon.  I’m not even halfway done.  It was needed.



27 comments on “Tuesday View: The Front Border 7.18.17

  1. Nancy says:

    Beautiful. I love the fullness and the riot of color this time of year

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Nancy, it may be a little sparse in the build-up to summer, but from now on hopefully I can just sit back and enjoy a few weeks of flowery, buggy, hummingbird-filled summer color!

  2. No such thing as too much color! The comfrey is great! I noticed the neat and tidy mulch in the pictures even before you mentioned it! Also, your nice crisp looking borders! Good idea to start at the other end once in a while! How badly did the storms hit you yesterday? I was in Oneonta visiting my mother for the day, but have heard nightmare stories about Wilkes Barre yesterday afternoon. Good luck with the garage! I keep saying I’m going to work on mine . . .

    • bittster says:

      We survived the storms, luckily it was just a lot of rain and the hail was not as bad as some we’ve seen this year. Surviving the garage cleanup will be another story!
      It was great you and Lora were able to stop by the other day, I really love it when I can finally have an audience to show it to in person… so I tried not to go on too much and scare you away from ever returning!
      I also tried to resist forcing too many plants on you. This is not the kind of weather for feeling guilty about planting things… says the person with dozens of pots which still need to go in the ground!

  3. March Picker says:

    Hooray for mulch! I’m sure you’re pleased that is over and done with. Your border is packed with excitement. Love the Gold Bar, and I’m not even a grass fan. I would take my sweet time walking along your curb and be tempted to step into your lawn to view the whole enchilada. Does that happen? Is it creepy?

    • bittster says:

      Yes, I’m thrilled it’s all finished for now. It sometime seems we spend so much time getting the garden to where we want it, there’s little time left to enjoy! -haha, well that’s my experience at east, you seem to have a better handle on things 🙂
      I would be very excited to catch someone admiring the garden. We’re on a quiet back end of a small development so as far as I know next to no-one every gets by here.

  4. Cathy says:

    Colour is always good Frank, and the colour green is particularly noticeable in your view this week…. lush is the right word! I love the Perovskia and at first I thought that was a hosta next to it. What a lovely colour leaf the comfrey has. The coneflowers are wonderful too. I am lucky if I get one flower after the snails are done. In fact I think they have eaten the whole plent this year! I envy you that mulch. Maybe next year… Is that a Verbascum waving hello in the first picture?
    Have a great week Frank!

    • bittster says:

      Yes, good eye -there’s a verbascum peaking out and welcoming everyone who comes up the walk… whether they want a welcome or not!
      All the ran this year has brought out slugs here as well. Nothing close to what you see, but it’s enough to do some noticeable damage. So far I’ll take it though, it’s so much better than the usual dry and dusty!

  5. susurrus says:

    I agree with Kimberley and Cathy – colour is a good thing. And when it comes to combinations, as my sweetheart often says in his lectures, plant any colour next to any other colour.

    • bittster says:

      I like how you two think 🙂
      Color and then more color is often the best way to go, especially when summer’s here and the thermometer is up!

  6. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your garden looks fabulous. I have craved that comfrey for several years. It has never been available around here. I guess I will have to break down and mail order it. That miscanthus being so short is what I would like. I don’t need one that gets tall. It is a pretty thing. Nan is an inspiration as is your garden. I wish I had your energy. Our garage needs attention.

    • bittster says:

      I don’t know if my energy will be a match for the garage. It’s like an archeological dig when I find some of the thicker dirt and dust deposits!
      Good luck with the comfrey. I ended up having to get mine from a few states over! I think it’s pretty vigorous though and I may have extras in another year or two.

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    Delightful border, Frank. Your neighbors across the street must really love you. 😉 The edges look very neat and tidy (something that doesn’t happen in my wild mess of a garden). I esp. love the 2nd photo of the echinacea, perovskia and grass – Nice!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Eliza!
      Remember though that I live in a development and have mother in laws and brother in laws judging, as well as lawn-service loving neighbors. I’m not sure they ‘get’ my excitement over caterpillars or how many bugs there are, just like I don’t ‘get’ how someone I’ve spent holiday dinner with can cut down a dogwood because it’s “too messy”. I’m 100% happier looking at a wild mess of a garden than a neatly edged, mulch-bedded “landscape”…

  8. Looks fabulous and fabulously neat. I am in my third year with that comfrey. Love it but still learning about it, so I am going over to Nan’s blog right now. Thanks.

    • bittster says:

      I think you have your comfrey in more shade, and I may have to consider that as well. I saw a few burnt edges earlier in the year but in a more normal summer I suspect it might turn into a scorched mess where it’s at now. I love it though, so will enjoy it even more knowing that next year might be a different story.

  9. I just bought Gold Bar this year hoping for the 5 foot or more height and I might just move it somewhere else if it doesn’t deliver. In all honesty I don’t think I checked the catalog description but just assumed it would get as tall as M. ‘Morning Light’. I have Vanilla Strawberry and it does develop a nice blush. Also you can train it into a tree, which I plan on doing as soon as I get an 8ft piece of rebar.

    • bittster says:

      I’m getting a little tired of cutting back the real tall, thick miscanthus like ‘Morning Light’. I never thought it would be me saying that, but in the spring when I’m tackling the clumps next door I start to look for a neighborhood teenager who wants a couple extra bucks.
      On the other hand, if it looks this good and makes it to five feet as well I will have no complaints. Maybe if I move the others to a spot where I can just put a match to the clump in March I can love them all over again. Hmmmm 🙂
      I think I asked you about Vanilla Strawberry last year and you gave me the go-ahead to get my own. Mine is still settling in and recovering from its clearance rack days, but in another year or two… in my opinion bigger is better in the world of paniculata hydrangeas. I may have to add more.

  10. Tim Calkins says:

    Looks really good, orderly even, and wonderfully cheery. I’m envious of the moisture you’ve had this summer, very hit or miss here. Vanilla Strawberry is a good plant. Even though mine is in too dry a spot, so that it often turns from white to brown rather than pink if I don’t pay attention to watering, it still has grown to 7 feet high and 8 wide. Also glad to see the comfrey again, looking much warmer now.

    • bittster says:

      Haha, the comfrey has come a long way.
      I’m going to try and get a picture from last year into my next post. I was wondering why a few of my phlox did not return this year and then saw last year’s photos and it made more sense. This regular rain thing is definitely not the norm here for summer.
      7 to 8 feet on the hydrangea would be awesome! I think my ‘Limelight’ is at about 7 this year and I can’t wait to see what it does when the flowers open since usually it suffers a lot more in the hard, thin, soil of this garden. I wouldn’t mind a whole hedge of this and the ‘Vanilla Strawberry’ all mixed together 🙂

  11. Looks fantastic! I especially love that view from the street, the feather reed grass and coneflowers are such a perfect combination

  12. JessiesGirl says:

    Your garden is an explosion of color and vibrancy, but what I’m really interested in are some picture of the garage. I bet it’s magnificent … and clean.

    • bittster says:

      You bet it is, but this of course is a garden blog and there’s little reason to put too many clean garage pictures… regardless of how amazingly well painted and tidy it is.

  13. Dee says:

    Can you ever get too much color? I don’t think so. I think your borders are just beautiful. Here’s hoping the mold and damp stay away. I could send you some of my heat and drought. 😀 Thanks so much for stopping by my little blog and saying hi. It’s so nice to chat. ~~Dee

    • bittster says:

      Hi Dee,
      Thanks for the visit as well. I’ve been enjoying your blog for a few years but sometimes the comments have to be dragged out of me! 🙂
      Yes, it’s a whole different heat which you experience… two years in Texas taught me that!
      all the best, Frank

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