Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday Workdays

 There's a project - always, a project somewhere.  I have a couple in mind for the fall, but the one I have started on is renovating one of the big beds in the front of the house.  Since we live more in the back of the house overlooking the "real" garden, it's easy to let the front get out of hand - which I have done.
Seeing this picture made me realize how much shade we have lost and how much I really loved that oak tree.

Let's start with history.  We bought this house under construction and got the builder to leave the yard alone except for the lawn seeding that the county required.  They did nothing about shrubs or planting.  In a hurry to do it all at once - and having no clue how big a job that was - we launched into everything all at once.  Shrubs went in along the front porch and a Thuja occidentalis at the corner.  Sadly what was sold as an 'Emerald' arborvitae (10 - 12 feet) was actually a 'Green Giant' (40+ feet) and had to come out.
By the second summer we had put in a serpentine concrete edging that included the two existing trees and created two beds with vastly different needs.  We had started planting azaleas in the sunny, drier one on the left.
Then I discovered St. John's Wort and finally a small creeping version of the same.  It seems like the perfect answer to filling in a large space with a low-growing, yellow flowering expanse that turns the most gorgeous bronze in the fall.  A few flowering perennials and space solved.
Five years later and the oak tree has died, completely changing the conditions of the site.  Happily, a volunteer dogwood has chosen to establish itself there so we will eventually have another source of shade.  Altho smaller than the oak, I think it will eventually be a good size for the house.
A big planter has given me a bit of height and a place to put a few flowers over the past couple of summers, but everything had become overgrown and crowded.  Most of all, tho, the creeping St. John's Wort had starting taking on the azaleas!  Can't have that.

And, finally, the conditions out there.  We have two drains off the house that run under the sidewalk and provide some irrigation.  It's not the best, since it tends to be feast or famine, so i augment with weekly sprinkling most of the summer and into the fall.  So, here is where we start.

The St. John's Wort is overgrown.  There is plenty of vinca minor everywhere, as well as Bermuda grass that thinks it owns this bed.  The chrysanthemums in all three pots have already bloomed once this silly summer, but are in bud again, and the small chrysanthemums I put in the ground are starting to bloom, too.   Meanwhile, the azaleas are in very good shape for such a hot summer, but would really like to get rid of the grass and creeping euonymous that has invaded them.

It's time for a little Round-up!  More next week.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Flowers in the House

One more time Jane has forced me to look at the garden with new eyes.  Initially I saw a wasteland needing deadheading, weeding, and general clean-up everywhere.  But why do we plant flowers?  Because when we need them the most, they ... bloom!
For the dining room table we have a few more tiny roses, a few zinnias, some early lady's mantle, one sprig of "black and blue" salvia, and two buddelias - the dark one is 'Black Knight', but the light one is a volunteer. (I do wonder if it is a throwback to one of the parents of 'Black Knight'.  It seems to be the same color, but a much lighter shade.  They are on opposite sides of the pond, and look great together.)

Then to cheer me when I sit and read, the last hydrangea of summer.  (That sounds like a good title for an historical novel.)
The bloom is lovely even if the leaves are not so pretty any more. 
If you haven't already been there, please stop by Jane's place (Small But Charming) and see all the really pretty flowers other folks have today. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's August After All ...

Mitchell has been wanting me to show you my wheelbarrow.

So, here it is.  

Nothing odd here.  It's August after all.  It's been way to hot out to do anything that would require its use.  It might as well rest while it can.  The end is near.