Tuesday View: The Front Border 11.21.17

It’s been three weeks since my last Tuesday View with Cathy so I guess it’s about time to check in again.  Winter is getting real and to sum up the passing weeks, the days are shorter, the first freeze has hit, winter cleanup has begun (and been finished), and we even woke up to our first inch of snow yesterday.  I hate the gloominess of this time of year but miraculously the sun came out just enough to capture a highlighted Tuesday view of the border.  And then it was gone again.

front border

The Tuesday view.  Nice enough but I already miss the flowers of summer.  A keen eye will pick out the mushy, frozen lump of my precious cardoon about mid border….

It could look worse.  Right now there’s still some contrast between dead-brown, dead-black, and dead-grey and the different forms and textures could be considered ‘winter interest’ to the more optimistic.  My opinion on winter interest leans more towards the warm shores of a tropical beach so I’ll have to trust others on that.

mailbox planting

The sunflower skeletons have finally been cut down, but that’s as far as the winter cleanup will go

Maybe evergreens are the way to go.  I of course love the too-bright yellows, but I’m sure there’s something more refined for those of better taste.

winter interest

The pink muhly grass has faded so now it’s up to this juniper to carry on for the winter.  I believe the juniper is ‘Old Gold’.

Coniferous color could carry the border through the lean months but for now (and hopefully the next  few weeks) the healthy green hellebore foliage is making the inner parts of the border look healthy and full.  During the heat of summer the taller perennials and shrubs shelter the hellebore leaves.  Now that they’ve died back again the hellebores can shine.

hellebore foliage

The giant reed grass (Arundo donax) has been trimmed back for the winter and the ten foot tall canes lugged away to the compost.  Without the grassy mess the red twigged dogwood ‘Midwinter Fire’ and the green of hellebores are back on stage.

I saw that this week Cathy has devoted her post to a recap of the year’s views.  I love it.  Being able to follow the whole year in just a few minutes is a fun way to spend these waning days of 2017… even if it does mean you’ll miss the garden and maybe get a little excited already for 2018!

Have a great week 🙂

27 comments on “Tuesday View: The Front Border 11.21.17

  1. johnvic8 says:

    Well it’s transitioned into fall with continued elegance. (I’m still impressed by your lawn!!!!)

    • bittster says:

      I do like the restfulness of the end of the year, and a nice lawn to set it off sure doesn’t hurt. So much nicer that the normally threadbare carpet which is laid out at this time of year 🙂

  2. Yes, you are doing pretty good in the winter interest department, sorry it’s not the tropical paradise of your dreams. P.S. I didn’t even notice your lawn until I saw Johnvic8’s comment. I guess I’m not a lawn person.

    • bittster says:

      I do like my lawn but not enough to make any more effort than a little fertilizer and a regular cut. I’m wondering though. The creeping Charlie is really starting to take over the back and a higher and higher percentage of green is from weeds. Most weeds don’t bother me but Charlie really likes to spread right on into the flower beds which equals more weeding….

  3. Cathy says:

    The transformation from late summer to early winter happened rapidly in your border Frank! I like the grasses and Juniper as winter interest. I like Junipers in general, as they grow on the chalky hillsides all around us, but they tend to grow rather rampantly in my soil, intent on taking over! You have some nice shapes and colours to look at until the snow flattens everything. I will be taking the opportunity this week to cut down as much as possible before it turns to mush. After all, the material all stays in my garden on our enormous compost heap anyway! Thanks for joining me again, and have a lovely Thanksgiving.

    • bittster says:

      I thought it was fast too! We had such a late fall followed by such a harsh freeze, it feels like a completely different garden all of a sudden. Junipers do well here too and if I had more room I’d let them go, but as it is I trimmed mine back pretty severely this spring and it’s already grown back to the size I would like to keep… I’m sure it will quickly outgrow the spot again by the end of next year!
      Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes and I hope yours is enjoyable as well.

  4. Christina says:

    Well, to be honest, I’m surprised it still looks this good! After snow and frosts I could easily enjoy this without needing the tropical beach. But that might be the sunshine influencing me. Yesterday felt bleak here I too manages to catch just a couple of minutes of sunshine – the difference in the images really shows how much we need some sunshine even if it’s cold.

    • bittster says:

      Yes, I agree. I miss the garden but I really miss being out in the sun and enjoying the weather… assuming it’s not too hot of course! Hopefully you’ll have plenty of winter sunshine and wonderful afternoons to enjoy out under the pergola as the year winds down.

  5. Chloris says:

    Well winter has really arrived in your neck of the woods. Evergreens are useful at this time of the year. I can’t get excited about the seedheads rimed in frost thing. Mad on the muhly grass though.
    Courage! You’ll soon be gloating over your snowdrops.

    • bittster says:

      Chloris you know of course I’m already gloating over my snowdrops. I’m spending way too much time looking at photos from last year, I’ve potted up a few for indoor forcing, and I have just a few fall bloomer nearly in flower. It should be exciting this spring, just have to make it through our ten month winter… or so it seems right now.

  6. rusty duck says:

    You know I’d be occupying the neighbouring beach towel given half a chance but I really do like the way the border is looking. The seedheads against the grasses is wonderful. Something I’m still aiming for and have yet to achieve!

    • bittster says:

      How nice of you to say, but you have so many equally nice views in your garden …and not all of them involve a 45 degree incline!
      I’ve heard Australia is very nice this time of year 😉

  7. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your border looks full even in it’s winter decline. I think that is quite an achievement. We do need that lovely sunshine don’t we. It will shine eventually.

    • bittster says:

      Today is nice and sunny here, and worth a walk around the garden even if it is on the cold side. I wish there were a nice park to stroll through, but this is the kind of area where you need an orange vest and shotgun in order to not raise suspicions along the trails.

  8. Cleanup is finished? Overachiever! I still have lawns covered with leaves and slowly collapsing brown cannas in the flowerbeds.

    • bittster says:

      Don’t be too impressed. I did dig the cannas but my cleanup at this time of year relies more on strong winds and an occasional lawn mowing, rather than any serious effort at trimming and cutting. I’ll pay for it in April I’m sure.

  9. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Still looking good! You’ve skillfully planted for year-round interest. No tropical beach necessary with this beauty to enjoy!

    • bittster says:

      Haha, I’ll graciously accept your ‘skillfully planted’ comment, and I owe most of the year-round interest to a year-round garden center visiting habit. You know how it works, you go there in June and add delphiniums, you go there in August and add late daylilies, you go in October and add evergreens. Fortunately they’re not open all winter, I’d probably add too many houseplants… and need to add a greenhouse… and start collecting succulents… and *gulp* bromeliads!

  10. Despite your weather I have to agree with the other readers that everything really looks good. Most perennial foliage has to be gone before one can begin to get a sense of what’s left for winter interest and what needs to be added. I am leaving about 10,000 locust seedpods on the ground for winter interest here. Maybe the turkeys will eat them.

    • bittster says:

      I’m hoping the winter will freeze-dry whatever is left, it’s so much easier to clean up then.
      I wish I had something more optimistic to say about the honeylocust pods, but short of a goat or cattle I can’t think of anything else which might get rid of them for you. Adding livestock might be more disruptive than turkeys, so take that with a grain of salt.

  11. Eliza Waters says:

    It is a well-planned garden that looks good even in dormancy. Love that burnished look!

  12. I think it looks good for a November garden. It has a quiet look, like it’s taking a nap.

  13. Ian Lumsden says:

    Winter sucks the colour from the garden, or at least it does mine at this time of year as the leaves fall. I quite like the tidiness of it all. Today I pruned the roses and took the last of the tender plants indoors as we’re due a cold spell here in the UK.

    • bittster says:

      The grass is still green here so the garden is not entirely bleak yet, but once we begin to get our harsh freezes that will change. I also like the change over to organized tidiness. It’s so much simpler and there are many issues which can be covered up with a blanket of mulch.

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