Monday, August 15, 2011

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day - August 2011

 I am happy with the gains I have made this year in our summer season at Gilmore Gardens.
(A look back at August 2010.) Not satisfied yet, but happy with the progress.  I have had little time to write about it (I have started five posts on the subject!), but I am in the middle of figuring out what tricks I need to add to my bag to make the gardens be show-stopping at this time of year.

I am forming a working philosophy of restraint and looseness that applies to my garden maintenance. A lot of my thoughts about maintenance this season started percolating after reading two sources: Christopher Lloyd's Succession Planting for Year-Round Pleasure and The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting and Pruning Techniques

Come take a walk around our small corner lot this warm August...
Gardens from L to R: Hill Garden, the front steps with annuals, the Front Walk, Cherry Corner at the corner, and the Shade Path around the side of the house.
I love the way our gardens have different perspectives based on whether you walk around them in the interior lawn and look down, or outside them on the sidewalk while looking up. Many of the photos in this post are from the sidewalk.

The Hill Garden:
Canna 'Red King Humbert' features prominently in late summer with the purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Little Spire'). This plant combination would be number five for this specific garden. (Read more about it in the links of Hill Garden in July.) I am really pleased with the successions of the Hill this year.

The classic Sedum 'Autumn Joy' is adding its green heads this month before they burst into pink in early fall

The lamb's ears (Stachys byzantine) have recovered well from their cut-back at the end of July. The strappy green foliage on the right is garlic chives (Allium tuberosum), which will bloom in September with S. 'Autumn Joy'.

Stepping up the front steps, I like how the annual planting has worked out this year.
I decided to take the risk and go with red (not my natural favorite) in order to coordinate with the cannas and dahlias that I added this year. The elephant ears (Colocasia) were still in bulb form when I planted them under the annual impatients, begonias and coleus, but they shot up after a month to add another layer to this basic planting.

Looking down the boarder towards the Front Walk:
This garden is beginning to come into fullness this year. (Read about the prior five phases of its succession in the Allium christophii post.) Canna 'Red King Humbert' makes a strong contrast in this boarder with medium-sized foliage of pink Japanese anemone and Dahlia 'Heat Wave'.

Japanese anemones blooming to attract the pollinators.
Japanese anemones blooming to attract the pollinators.

At one time the pink and red together would have bothered me, but I am growing more flexible in my color theories these days. Perhaps rather persuaded by Mr. Lloyd after all this time. You can catch a glimpse at the bottom left of the pink cosmos I added to fill out this section; their divided foliage is a great addition to the mix.

I love the combination of Spirea 'Goldflame' with the striped red and green canna leaves. This bush is great in every season (see May). The spirea had a good shearing after its flowers turned brown, bringing on its new red tip growth and returning its circular shape.

Meandering over to Cherry Corner:
The daylilies (Hemerocallis hyb.) are finished for the year (see July GBBD). But the succession goes on with the annuals picking up the slack, and the Rudbeckia filling out the design. This is succession number three... four if you count the yellow loosestrife (see May, June and July).

I used the same annuals that are by the front steps to help give the front of the house some continuity. I think of this as our hot garden, since it is the one most full of warm colors throughout the entire year.

A peek toward the Shade Path, which includes a view of the Circle Lawn.
 On of the newest additions to the garden is around the Circle Lawn, between the trellises.
I have added two new blue(ish) butterfly bushes (Buddleia hyb) between the trellises to form a semi-circle with the small one that I planted last year. I am pretty excited about this idea, because they will grow tall and bloom between the trellises after the clematis are finished blooming for the year. This is what succession is all about! Thrilling, huh?

Great combination of the butterfly bush and the clematis foliage.
Another great addition to the right of the trellises is this northern sea oat ornamental grass (Chasmanthium latifolium). This was a generous gift from another keen gardener in the area (thanks, Mary Beth!).  I had been pondering about where to add more grass to my semi-formal design, and this gave me the needed impetuous to make a decision! I love it on this corner with the still-tiny Buddleia and the large begonia.
Looking forward to seeing this pair in maturity.
The Shade Path:
Filling in the gaps this summer with annuals: dark pink impatients, short-dark-leaved begonias, and a couple of large single-bloomed begonias (similar to Begonia 'Big Red'). Succession number five for the Shade Path (see the rest of the list here).

Begonia tumbling into the hosta.

 These two large baskets were a wonderful end-of-season find at the nursery! I hope to over winter them this year.

Looking back from the gate to the Circle Lawn. Seeds of Clematis 'Lil' Nell' on the fence.
In the Backyard:
I chose to keep the color scheme white this year again, because it is restful after the color games in front of the house. Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' is just peeking out from the fence. In front is a  planting of white impatients under the dogwood tree in the corner.

 White flowers calling to the white-edged hosta on the other side of the gate.

 One place where I make an exception to the "white rule" (made to be broken after all), is for the violet of the meadow rue, Thalictrum 'Splendide'. It is my most-asked-about-plant at this time of year. It makes a tall froth by the gate. And its foliage is oh so delicate.

Thalictrum 'Splendide' with fairy blossoms
 Thanks for joining me for a garden walk!
Hope you are able to enjoy this last month of summer in your own garden!

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting GBBD!


  1. I personally think your reds are very attractive! I also really enjoy the full shots of the garden... something I do occasionally from my own gardens, including this latest post. It's great to see how all the lovely plants you have fit together! Larry

  2. I liked everything I saw. I loved the red Impatiens and Begonias. Your summer garden is looking great. Loved all the garden view shots. I wish I could do the same.

  3. Your corner of the world is just beautiful. I bet you keep the littlest gardeners quite busy keeping it that way!

  4. Your garden looks show-stoppingly beautiful to me! Absolutely love your lush wonderland of blooms. Really wish my garden looked half as good as yours. Happy GBBD :)

  5. A nearly comprehensive, yet very coherent article. I really like the laid-back, garden-stroll presentation, with views and close-ups combined.

    Thanks for capturing it (oh, and planting it!) so well.

  6. You have all the "usual suspects" in your garden but they are unusually beautiful. Lovely garden, thanks for inviting me in.

  7. Being able to view your garden from more then one angle gives more interesting perspectives and keeps you on your toes in a planting sense! I do like you planting combinations. The canna adds an interesting note. very Mr Lloyd. I an really taken with the arching sea oat ornamental grass. It's going on my wish list which is getting longer and longer...

  8. Julie your neighbours are simply spoilt rotten! What a glorious display! Your sedums are looking in great shape. Have yet to read Christo’s successional planting book, will put it on the list.


  9. Everywhere you look there are blooms in your garden...lovely! The meadow rue is stunning. Happy GBBD!

  10. Your garden is amazing Julie. I especially love the rue and sea oats. They are blooming in my garden. The shade garden is still my fav. I love the looseness of the garden ..yours and mine!!

  11. Your garden looks fantastic! Cute bee shot.

  12. You make me feel very lazy in not growing annuals but I don't think I have the time or energy but seeing how well your garden looks with the annual additions it could make me think again. I love the way you've chosen strong colours and then repeated them. I lovedmy virtual walk around your garden, thank you. Christina

  13. I am envious, absolutely gorgeous, it is so hot down here in central fl it is burning up everything.

  14. Your garden is so amazing, Julie!! I love how you coordinate things to start blooming after something else has stopped... There is always something bursting into color at your house:) Love the rue, and the sea oats are so pretty!

  15. I actually really like your splashes of red in the garden...and the way they are repeated throughout. Red and green are great contrasting colors. I love cannas too because they look so tropical.

  16. Wow Julie, what a great eye you have for plant combos in colour, contrast and texture... very nice indeed! I have loved my garden tour... thank-you :-D

    Favs... I have a few... now which ones to mention? Love the sedum with cone flowers and canna... but then again... I love the shady path... Mm... and...

  17. Beautiful post...I love all the colors and textures! I love the combo of the Spirea and the Canna...they just sing together!

  18. Looks like you are having fun creating beauty! Hello from FL, where the blooms are very tropical and fragrant right now!



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