Tuesday View: The Front Border 8.28.17

Monday was the first day back to school for the kids and that officially means late summer.  A few haters will point out that it actually means autumn, but no.  Summer won’t give up so easily and I won’t give up on summer… even if there was a slight nip in the air this morning 😦

The front border doesn’t look autumnal at all, and this week as we join the vacationing Cathy at Words and Herbs for the Tuesday view it’s all about sunflowers!

front border

The front border this Tuesday.

The sunflowers seem to know there’s still plenty of time to flower and set seed before the axe falls.  They’re really nice right now and between the bright flowers they already hold enough partly-ripe seedheads to bring in a steady stream of goldfinches.


This is my current computer screen background.  Sunflowers and ‘Australia’ canna, all looking even better with the beige stalks of ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass as a screen.

As usual I’m not looking forward to fall.  I’ll stay in denial for weeks and then sometime in early October bite the bullet and make the transition from late summer to fall.  Even my blog categories show this bias and I had to laugh a few weeks ago when I noticed all the other seasons are broken down into ‘early spring’, ‘spring’, and ‘late spring’, but fall is just ‘fall’.  I guess that helps get through it just a little bit faster.

Molina skyracer

Halfway down the border, Molina ‘skyracer’ is one sign of late summer.  It’s a great plant for the edge of the border where its height doesn’t block anything yet breaks up the monotony of shorter plantings.  A ‘see through’ is what people call it.

Besides grasses going to seed there are some other sure signs that summer is ripening.  The neat little lumpy sedums are blooming.

sedum brilliant

I think this is sedum ‘brilliant’, given to me by a friend years ago and carelessly unlabeled because I was sure I’d remember the variety.  From the minute the buds swell in the spring to the minute I cut down the dried stalks so the swelling buds can grow it’s an attractive thing.

But the annuals won’t give up for at least another month.  Even the zinnias which have been going since May are still looking good.

painted lady butterfly

A painted lady butterfly getting her fill off the ground cover zinnias.  This might be ‘Zahara something’ but as usual…

I’ll leave you with yet another photo of the end of the border.  These ‘Cannova Rose’ cannas with the purple Verbena bonariensis have me convinced I’m the most amazing garden designer who ever planted a canna or paired a color.  Be prepared to see this photo one more time when the yellowing kochia plant does its burning bush routine.

cannova rose canna

Coleus, ‘Cannova Rose’ canna, Verbena, kochia, and a few orange ‘Zahara’ zinnias.  Not bad for a bunch of leftover cuttings, tubers, and self sown seedlings… and a six-pack of zinnias 😉

Do give Cathy a visit to see how other views are developing this Tuesday, and it’s not too late to join with your own!  You probably have a good four weeks before autumn really insists on arriving, and only until that happens will it officially be too late.  Obviously when autumn does get here no-one is going to want to see pictures of fall foliage and asters, so what’s the point of starting then, might as well wait until you can post snowy photos 🙂

Have a great late summer week!

25 comments on “Tuesday View: The Front Border 8.28.17

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Hold on here, I like fall. I like that fall foliage, the turning of the leaves, even the dropping of the leaves. The evergreen sentinels of the garden and the tall tanned grasses. Yes, I think there is beauty in ever season. Your sunflowers are such happy faces of the end of summer.

    • bittster says:

      Oh yes, of course you’re right and there’s beauty in every season, but giant crocodiles can be a thing of beauty as well and I don’t want them into the garden either. Of course I’m kidding… sort of… and fall is not some fat, bloated, wildebeest-gorged, reptile that plops down on my petunias, but sometimes I might feel that way!
      Actually last year I remember thinking for a moment that the leaves, mums and asters, evergreens and grasses were all kind of nice, and for a minute or so I thought I could almost like fall but then a freeze came and everything was left dead. Sorry, but I do tend towards gloominess this time of year!

  2. Clearly you are a superior designer – and a cost effective one, too. 🙂 Come to Florida – here we have lots of spring and summer, about a week of fall, a few days of winter, and then poof – back into spring! Of course, summer can be a wee bit warm. Beautiful photos, btw.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks floral, that’s nice of you to say. I sometimes think it would be amazing to live where the buds break in February and there is something year-round, but then think of termites, fire-ants, and about a thousand other insects that all want to take a sip of your blood or cause a mysterious rash and suddenly I’m ok with a long winter. Of course collecting amaryllis would be much easier in Florida!

  3. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Your design skills are stellar! I’m with you, summer doesn’t really end until October. I do love autumn but could do without that season that follows. After Christmas, we should just skip to April. Your garden is looking amazing!

    • bittster says:

      I decided that the only good thing about fall is that it means spring is coming… and Christmas of course! If pushed I may admit I do love pumpkins and Indian corn and all the fall harvest that fills the farm stands… but I’m so busy cleaning up dead things and saving plant cuttings it’s hard to enjoy it. Thank goodness I don’t have a billion pots in the yard which all need to be crammed into a greenhouse! 😉

  4. Christina says:

    As I said last week, I think your garden is looking sensational this year. I’m longing for autumn, well I suppose I really just want some rain, then we might even have a little second spring – now wouldn’t that be nice?!

    • bittster says:

      I love seeing your garden wake up again for the cooler temperatures. Even the evergreens look happier and with the fresh shoots on the grass and seedlings it really is a second spring. Do you still allow as many California poppy seedlings as you used to? That was always a lot of work, but beautiful when the blooms came.

      • Christina says:

        There were less poppies this year but not because I did anything to stop them. I think they needed some spring rain to push them into growth and flowering.

  5. We always knew you were a brilliant designer but that Canna combo is really something.

    • bittster says:

      I didn’t realize I was so blatantly fishing for design compliments. It’s nice to hear them but you seriously have to see the garden from an unedited and uncroped point of view! Thanks though, it’s still nice to hear 🙂

  6. I second Linda. Every photo in this blog post is stellar, but that last photo tops them all. Make that your computer screen background next.

    • bittster says:

      I just did!
      My fingers are crossed that the weather will be nice for your open garden, I’m looking forward to finally meeting you in person and seeing all those colchicums. I might have to fill a box s well, we’ll have to look into that 😉

  7. Tim Calkins says:

    a lot of nice things to look at here. I particularly like the curve behind ‘Molina’, being partial to half-seen things and unexpected reveals. I used to share your fall feelings, with a sense of gloom settling in as soon as August, but that is changing as I have increased focus on fall and winter flowers and berries. You may need to acquire some more G. r.o.

    • bittster says:

      I also love the curves and unexpected reveal. I need more paths and beds but right now the grass is required for kickball games and tag.
      Don’t tell anyone but last year I noticed the fall and winter interest was beginning to fill in, and I almost felt good about the season… still it sure ain’t spring!
      r.o is on my wish list but I killed one and worry too much about it and other fall bloomers out in the open garden. I need to get a cold frame built, but have been saying that for a few years now…

  8. Wow! That front border is incredible. What is the tall brown plume with leaves sticking out of it down at the far end?

    • bittster says:

      Thanks! The tall brown plume is amaranthus ‘Hot biscuits’. It’s essentially a weed and self seeded into that spot but I think they’re cool and so easy from seed. I had many more last year and a ton of seeds fell all over at the end of the season, but this is the only one to come back.

  9. Wow, you are inundated with sunflowers! They look great! I’m right there with you on the denial of fall! This week I stayed at a friend’s house, and her husband had turned on the heat!!! Nooooo!!!!! So NOT ready for that! It’s nice to see what Cannova Rose is supposed to look like. No signs of buds on any of my cannas yet–all the more reason for summer to continue!!! In my mind you are a design GENIUS!!!

    • bittster says:

      We were freezing at a baseball game Tuesday. I had long pants and a sweatshirt on and still I needed a hot chocolate. For goodness sake it’s August! I’m afraid there might be an early frost this year. That will be tragic… not as in hurricane e tragic, but still…

  10. Lisa says:

    Even at this time of the year, near the end of summer, your garden looks great! My garden does´t look so good at the moment as it has been unusually dry in my climate this year. It is amazing how many plants are in flower in your garden. Everything is so colorful!
    Best wishes,

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Lisa, most perennials are calling it a year but all the annuals and tender plants are doing their best to get plenty of flowering in before the nights get too cold. I guess all that work planting in May is finally paying off!
      I feel for you and your dry garden. I’m not much of a waterer and watching things slowly limp along through the growing season… assuming they don’t die… is no way to enjoy a summer.

  11. GREAT POST and AWESOME PHOTOS! Fall is always the worse time of the year for gardeners. Right now everything is blooming and going nuts! Only a few of the plants are beginning to be affected by decreasing day length and cooler evening temperatures. Thanks for sharing all the beautiful photos!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks! I do love how the garden peaks about now but it sure makes me dread winter even more. We had a horribly cool week and are just warming up again but I was not thrilled at all and I think many of the tropicals will start to look sadder if the cool nights continue. I think it’s way too early.

  12. Your border with sunflowers is so cheerful it makes me happy just looking at it. I like how they combine with that clump of purple coneflowers.

    • bittster says:

      The sunflowers are nice but it’s even more fun watching the goldfinches come and go. Of course moving things such as birds are way beyond my photo capture skills!

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