Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Favorite Garden Combinations of 2010 (Part 5)


   While looking through our photos of July I noticed that though there were some beautiful flowers, I tended to focus less on them.  It would, after all, be hard to keep up the spectacle of June. Instead, there were lots more of  
cool green spaces...
          little girls enjoying the sprinkler... 
                 and helping mommy 
                     with a watering can...

And though I love a spectacle (in the garden that is),
isn't that really the story that should be told
of a young family's garden in July?  

     Mid-summer is finally our chance here in zone 5 to enjoy long evenings outside... 
           breakfast on the patio... 
and if we wait patiently enough- even a few days warm enough to enjoy a dip in the park pool. 

     Here in the very back of our backyard, we have planted a Woodland Garden with lots of green, a little burgundy and some white accents.  Viewed from our patio (constructed from old sidewalk pieces), it is a calming spot that helps to set the tone for our backyard in the lazy month of July.   Nothing gaudy or demanding.  Just plants that can paint a tranquil picture and not be too great a loss if the ball runs into them too many times.  Above you see a birdbath with a Christmas fern at its feet, and a dogwood bush (Cornus alba 'Elegantissima') being complimented by white impatients.  Heuchera 'Palace Purple' blooms in the background.

     I opted last summer to add white impatients throughout the backyard to dapple the darker shade with white, which is a technique of Monet's I admire.  The pecan-picket fence on the street-side of our yard (right) is filling in nicely with flowering forsythias, hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight'), Lenten rose (Hellebores orientalis hyb.), Geranium 'Bevan's Variety' and Pachysandra.  Looking down the fence, you can just glimpse the lawn circle in the back right corner and the Woodland garden to the left.

    Here is a view of the other side of the backyard, looking toward the driveway.  Our back door leads right out to our new patio table, where we enjoyed all three meals on its first day!  The Upper Driveway garden makes a great division from the driveway to keep our kids contained, and as the lilac bushes (Syringa spp.) grow, they will make a visual barrier too.  The ornamental pear tree already blocks much of the view from down the driveway.

     Three little cuties having lunch al fresco on the patio.  The fountain is in the background under the honeysuckle bush.

      The fourth corner of the backyard is the gate to the Shade Path.  A small dogwood tree (Cornus florida) is growing in the corner of the fence with impatients underneath, and someday it will gracefully frame the entrance to the garden proper. 

     Here at the gate begins a color transition from the cool green and white of the back yard to the warm colors of the Cherry Corner Garden.

     The Cherry Corner Garden sits at the end of the Shade Path, calling everyone to walk toward a new destination.  While walking down the path, the colors shift from white to purples (dozens of hosta blooms) to pinks and darker purples and finally to the yellows, oranges and reds of Cherry Corner. This is a loose version of Gertrude Jekyll's (a great planting-colorist of the late 19th century) color theory.  She felt that color should take the viewer on a journey from cool to hot and back again.  Having studied as a painter, she used her plants like pigment in her own garden, Munstead Wood in Surrey England, and in the hundreds of others she designed in her lifetime.

     A little cousin getting bit by the gardening bug during her stay here at Gilmore Gardens.

  Cherry Corner (left) contains many mid-spring bulbs that are quickly covered by day-lily foliage (Hemerocallis spp.), burgundy-leaved Heuchera 'Palace Purple', silvery-grey Artemisia and yellow flowering variegated loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander').

   The day-lilies here are planted in various patterns of yellows, oranges and reds, and some early black-eyed-susans (Rudbeckia) thread through them.

   Also filling in the bottom is the chartreuse duo of Sedum 'Acre' and lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis).

     The other great combinations of July are found in the Driveway Garden.  Lavender 'Munstead' (so named because it originated in Jekyll's home mentioned above) and purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) fill the gap now left by Asiatic lilies and geraniums.

     Coneflower have been one of the easiest flowers for me to grow from seed, even as a beginning gardener.  Just wait until seeds are dark and dry and scatter them over some lightly loosened soil in the fall.  The babies can be moved around next spring to fill out a section more evenly.

    This past season I also experimented with cutting back the height of the plant to keep them from flopping over months later.  It was a great success.  Simply cut them back by one-third in June when you see them growing buds. They will regrow in just a few weeks, but with more nicely branched stems.  This method can also be used to delay bloom if you are trying to fill a certain gap later in the season.

     A little sand art drying by the garden.

     The Lower Driveway garden is covered in lavender-colored blooms, with rose of sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), Geranium 'Rozanne' (one of our favorite for long color!) and lavender.  Having some silver artemisia mixed in enlivens the other colors. 

     Here purple coneflower combines with a dark blue version of the butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii 'Ellen's Blue') in front of our half-painted house (now completed - thank goodness!).

   Other pretties from Mid-Summer: (from top) Echinacea purpurea; Geranium 'Rozanne' with annual California poppies (Eschscholzia californica); the beautiful floating flowers of shade-loving Meadow rue (Thalictrum hyb. 'Splendide').


  1. I love your pictures!!
    I so look forward to seeing your gardens in full bloom again this year!

  2. I just spent the most enjoyable hour looking at your web site. I'm always looking for good plant combinations and you gave me so many good ideas that I hadn't though of.
    Hope you will look at my garden on my web site.


  3. I really enjoyed these photos and they've given me some inspiration for a newly formed woodland garden that I'm adding to this year. I would love to know where you found that great patio set - it's exactly what I'm looking for!


    1. Thanks Lisa! Much more on those gardens if you look at the links from the "about the gardens page".
      The patio table and chairs is from Lowes and has worked really well for us! I needed something in expensive, but still well built. They have worked great the past three years and I look forward to getting them out of the garage rafters for this year!


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