Thursday, September 1, 2011

Late-Summer Improvements for the Driveway Garden

The Driveway Garden works hard through spring and early summer. (See March, April, May, June 2011.) But by July it starts to look weedy and uninspired.

I had been thinking that a "big statement" would be satisfying at this time of year. After one trip to the local nursery, I had found my statement.

In the center section of the Driveway Garden, I placed a plant I have long admired but never dared to bring home: a large-flowered hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos 'Pink Elephant'). Its pop pink blooms are 10-12 inches across. Rather like something Alice might have found in Wonderland. 

Flower buds.

A. 'Golden Jubilee' attracting a Red-Spotted Purple butterfly.
I gave this hyssop, Agastache foeniculum 'Golden Jubilee', a second look because I remembered how beautifully it performs at Rhone Street Gardens for Scott.  I have admired its brilliant blue spikes and shining chartreuse foliage. Nice balance to all the pink.

Tying this area together has been one of my challenges for the last couple of years. I like to have an almost formal sense of rhythm running through my plantings, with the odd focal point thrown in to keep things a little off kilter. I have struggled with how to have something blooming in every part of the growing season in this small area (only 2 1/2 feet deep in some spots).
Some white foliage to brighten the combo.
I first chose this dwarf miscanthus grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Dixieland') to add some white to lighten the foliage combinations. After bringing it home, I started wondering if it was the answer, at least partly, to my need for some continuity. A clump at the far left, one beside the walkway... still formulating that answer. But I am liking what I am seeing so far.

First hibiscus blooms in front of the purple butterfly bush (Buddleia hyb). 
I would still love to add some more electric colors here - red or even orange. I am liking more color punch these days.  I have already made a note on my bulb order to include some orange Lily tigrinum splendens which I hope to plant with the purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) already planted here, ala Great Dixter (Thanks for the current photos Bertie!).

We shall see how it turns out!


  1. I love all those plants (of course!). I really like the idea of the orange Tiger Lilies too...and that would be a great color echo of the colors already found in the pink/orange combo in the Echinacea itself...very clever!

  2. Oh, yes, I agree - this plant makes a fabulous statement! Trying to have something blooming throughout the season can be trying - but so satisfying when achieved. Love the pink in front of the blue butterfly bush.

  3. I'm with you on liking more color punch! That's my goal for 2012. Your Hibiscus is gorgeous!

  4. It can be almost impossible to have something making a statement in every part of the garden at once. In the past no-one even tried to do that having separate areas that peaked in different seasons. With some tulips in every border we can have some spectacular spring high points but after that its more difficult. I like your Hibiscus, I have just been given one as a gift but I think it's going to need more water than I'm prepared to supply. Happy September in the garden, Christina

  5. Julie your plant choices are fantastic! Very keen on the Agastache and that Hibiscus is beautiful. Thanks for the links, I’m extremely glad to of provided some inspiration!


  6. Great post. I really like reading this kind of story and also my friends in enterprise lévisienne amazing!


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