Tuesday View: The Front Border 8.1.17

It’s been a busy week so far with a return from traveling and now a busy afternoon prepping for something new… an open garden!  I’ve been toiling away all afternoon and just had to join up with Cathy at Words and Herbs for her Tuesday view even though the garden itself hasn’t changed much.  The neatness is what I had to show off, it doesn’t happen much that the garden is surrounded with such a green, trim lawn with crisp, freshly cut edges.

front border

Plants are deadheaded, the lawn is mown, edges are clean, and walks are swept!

As far as open gardens go I think I’m making it sound like much more than it really is.  It’s a mid-week visit by the local garden group, the Back Mountain Bloomers, and I don’t expect much more than a dozen or so people.  Numbers like that probably make other open day veterans chuckle but for me it’s some serious pressure.  It’s rare that my garden is visited by anyone with more than just a passing interest in plants, so hopefully they don’t judge my “in progress” areas with too critical an eye 🙂

front border

Holy neatness… and the ‘Limelight’ hydrangea isn’t looking too bad either.

There’s a good chance I brought this on myself.  After a less than subtle post titled “Come Visit”, and several other comments such as “stop by if you’re in the area” and “so when are you coming?”, I think people felt obligated.  I’m fine with that and hopefully can corner at least one or two people to talk way too long to about plants with.  Now I just have to hatch a plan to trick someone from Philly or upstate NY to drop by, since I’m sure I can bore them for hours since they won’t have as easy an escape as the locals do!

front border

Along the street I’m a little surprised by how all the fennel seedlings have exploded into bloom.  It’s one big airy thicket of licorice scented bee feeders and I should probably trim it back a bit before the mailwoman starts clutching an Epipen each time she needs to deliver a letter.

In the meantime let me introduce you to a few of the newest arrivals on the scene.  The first is an uber cool Rudbeckia triloba ‘Prairie Glow’ which is blooming from seeds started last year.  I love it.  Thank you to Chanticleer Gardens since it’s entirely possible a seed head from one of their plants found its way into a pocket on my last visit.

rudbeckia triloba prairie glow

Unlike the more common yellow/black centered Rudbeckia triloba, ‘Prairie Glow’ has varying degrees of a rusty orange with just the faintest hints of yellow at the tips of the petals.  These are a little over five feet tall so it’s more than capable of holding it’s own in the depths of the border.

The second is ‘Strawberry Vanilla’ hydrangea.  White panicles of bloom and a pink tint which will hopefully deepen as the flowers age are what make this one special.  I have it on good advice that this will only get more impressive over the years, so it’s another plant I’m pleased with this week.

midsummer border

Everything was glowing in the evening light.  The ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas in the background have faded green, ‘Strawberry Vanilla’ is still a bright white with a touch of pink, and canna ‘Cannova rose’ and Verbena bonariensis really add a lot of color.

I think in the front yard there will be a few things worth seeing this week, so hopefully it’s enough to keep a gaggle of gardeners interested for at least a little while.  The tropical garden is looking decent as well but beyond that things get a little iffy.  Wish me luck that by the time people are walking past the pot ghetto they’ll be focused more on lunch plans than the unplanted chrysanthemum cuttings.

25 comments on “Tuesday View: The Front Border 8.1.17

  1. Christina says:

    Don’t be so modest Frank, your garden is definitely looking worthy of having many visitors. Enjoy the praise I’m sure you’ll receive. Those hydrangeas are spectacular.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Christina. Everyone was very appreciative and positive and very polite in ignoring the many less than polished sections of the garden. The hydrangeas have surprised me this year, I’m taking cuttings this weekend since I definitely need more!

  2. susurrus says:

    I agree with Christina, except my attention was captured by ‘Prairie Glow’ – it looks lovely in the early evening(?) light.

    • bittster says:

      Isn’t ‘Prairie Glow’ something!? I’ll be spreading that one around for sure since besides looking amazing it also puts up with a lot of less than perfect growing “challenges” 🙂

  3. Pauline says:

    Your border is stunning and your visitors will be full of envy! Having visitors makes us all want our gardens to look perfect and yours certainly does, enjoy your time with fellow gardeners.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Pauline. I did enjoy the visitors and talking plants, but I just wish there were a few less bugs and maybe a cool breeze? Everyone seemed to take it all in stride though.

  4. johnvic8 says:

    Holy Neatness! Amen and Amen!

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Those edges are to be envied as are the plants contained within. Everyone will love your garden. They will not only overlook the ‘in progress’ area they will look forward to coming back to see what you do with it. A friend and I have Strawberry Vanilla Hydrangea. She has hers in full sun mine just gets some morning sun. Hers gets a whole lot more strawberry than mine. Mine is also spread way out more than hers as you can imagine. It will be interesting to see how yours takes to its location. Try to relax and enjoy your open garden. Everyone else will.

    • bittster says:

      You were right, everyone was very nice about the garden and plants and only a few visitors were (rightly) nervous about my strange love for thistles and other similar weeds.
      Good info on the hydrangea. I’m planning on taking cuttings this weekend, so maybe I can do my own investigations on where it ‘strawberries up’ the most. Even if it doesn’t though, I’m still quite pleased with the plant.

  6. Looks fabulous and that Rudbeckia is a stunner. Have to see if I can find it without visiting Chanticleer. A dozen people is a more than respectable size group. That is a pretty common number for the garden clubs that visit my garden. And gardeners are the best visitors because they want to look at and talk plants. And they know where to walk or not walk!

    • bittster says:

      haha, you couldn’t even tell that anyone had been in the garden. They were very well behaved 🙂
      I think the highlight of the day was when someone referred to me as “someone so young” interested in gardening. I just let that one soak in.
      Let me know if you want me to save you a few seedheads of the rudbeckia, based on how many plants I got from my blackmarket seeds I suspect this fall I’ll have more than any reasonable person would ever need.

  7. Holy Neatness, Batman, indeed! You need to trek northward a bit and bring your edger with you, LOL! Good luck with the tour–I’m sure it will impress! I wouldn’t be surprised if some of your seed heads make their way into the pockets of your visitors, or perhaps they’ll relieve you of some of the little pots in your “ghetto”! That Rudbeckia is great; I’ll bet the woodchucks would be delighted if I planted some here!

    • bittster says:

      Yes the woodchucks would thank you for the little rudbeckia deserts you put out for them!
      I had an adoption table set up with daffodil bulbs and several leftover ghetto inmates. I was disappointed by how many bulbs were left over but at least I was able to get rid of nearly all the plants. Some took a little more work than others but it was worth it when I saw them going off to a better home.
      You let me know when you need a professional edger. I’ve got my spade sharpened 😉

  8. Sharon Hinchey says:

    I wish I could come..any chance you could have some seeds pop into my pocket so I could try my luck with the Prairie Glow!

    • bittster says:

      Well they are very close to the street, so it’s really not out of the question for seeds to fall into the pocket of just about any random pedestrian! I suspect in a few years they’ll be turning up in all kinds of unexpected places, and I’m fine with that!

  9. Cathy says:

    I love that Rudbeckia! It is going on my list for next year! The growth is more rampant than any Rudbeckias I’ve seen here and any tips will be welcome – if I can get hold of it! I wish I were among that group of visitors Frank – they will love it and lunch will be far from their thoughts with all those glorious flowers to distract them! Your fennel has reminded me how much I miss mine. (The winter must have finished them off). A new one or two will be planted next spring. Very impressed with those neat lawn edges too. You put me to shame! Have fun with your visitors, and do report back how it went!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Cathy, it went really well. I think the majority of visitors enjoyed it, and the rest were very polite about the annoying bugs and relentless heat.
      The rudbeckia seems to thrive on neglect and I believe it’s a biennial so I’ll need to make sure there will be seedlings started this fall. I’m actually surprised they’ve done as well as this, they dried out so many times last summer and were barely alive going into the winter, but here they are! My fingers are crossed that their vigor will not come back to haunt me some day 😉
      This has been an excellent year for fennel, the mild winter left me with a few overwintered plants instead of having to wait for seedlings to show up. Usually the cold wipes them all out so this was a surprise.

      • Cathy says:

        I love any plant that thrives on neglect. 😉 I never got seedlings from my fennel – I am not an overly enthusiastic weeder, so they simply must struggle to germinate on the poor ground on the dry rockery.

  10. Eliza Waters says:

    I think you’re going to wow them Frank. The garden is looking fabulous!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Eliza. It was great to hear the compliments and interesting comments and stories. I was actually wishing a few people could have stuck around a little longer!
      I think you’ll appreciate that I had my little monarch babies out for the company to see. This is the first year in a while that I’ve been able to find a few eggs to raise, and they were very well behaved and entertaining.

  11. Annette says:

    You’ve nothing to fear, dear Frank, your garden has never looked so good! It’s so lush, exotic and colourful – just love it 🙂 I’d love to get my hand on Rudbeckia Prairie Glow. I love the ordinary one which is not ordinary at all and in the process of conquering my garden but the orange variety is awesome too. How I’d love to visit your garden….beam my up or rather over, Scottie, you think it might work? 😀

    • bittster says:

      You’re always welcome here Annette and you never know 🙂
      Sadly enough I’m unsure if the garden will ever look this nice again. I’d much rather spend the rest of the summer swimming and traveling and who knows when we will have such generous rains again. But you never know, I can only sit and look at the garden for so long before starting to tinker around with things… and of course weed and weed!

      • Annette says:

        Just as well we don’t know, Frank, and don’t forget that gardens are constantly changing and that’s what makes them so fascinating. I have to freshen up several spots this autumn as things just don’t please me anymore. As for traveling – I don’t fancy going anywhere in summer as our garden is really the perfect place and we can swim too. So glad we went for the pool in spite of all the hard work. I’ve learned to relax over the years and a weed won’t get me excited anymore unless it’s ground elder which I’ve brought in from my last garden and it keeps popping up but in a harmless way.

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