Well, here I am again, with a very long post filled with pictures. I know, I know, I was going to do the early/mid/late garden thing so that there weren't so many photos in one post, but it's just impossible. I am just too busy gardening to post about it! 😀 So here I am, at the end of August with a ton of photos to show you once again. But, I really don't think you will mind because I think this is the best my garden has looked in years. As many of my regular readers may already know, I kinda let the gardens go when I returned to work full time. Since I've been "retired" (I use that term loosely, because as hard as I work at home I'd hardly consider myself "retired") I've been super busy renovating the gardens and trying to bring them back to their original glory yet reconfiguring things so they are a little more low-maintenance than they have been.
Well let's begin the tour, shall we.
We will start at the front of the house. A driveway is the left of the photo and another garden bed so there are gardens on both sides of the driveway. The garden bed on the right is a mix of annuals and perennials, but I try to keep it mostly for annuals so it's always full of bright blooms for our guests. And if you're wondering what the weedy patch of gravel is where lawn should be, hubby had a load of gravel dumped this year and that is where they dumped it.
Here is a view of that same garden as if I were holding the camera above my head. Normally, I plan a garden out picking out a color scheme and specific plants, this year I just shoved the garden full of whatever caught my eye at the garden center. There are also lots of re-seeders from last year: many of the marigolds re-seeded themselves along with the cleome.
This same front garden also contains a pond which can be seen and heard from the kitchen and upstairs bathroom windows. It is surrounded by creeping sedum in the front and tall phlox and purple coneflower in the background.
The lower, south facing portion of this garden changes with the seasons. This bed is filled with tulips, iris, and peonies in the spring and lilies in the summer. Now the annual zinnias are stealing the show along with the tall phlox and purple coneflower in the background.
This is the front porch (facing west) to my house. A side porch is on the far left (facing north) and the screened porch (facing south) is on the far right. I have flowers wrapped around the house from east to west. They are mix of perennials and annuals.
Since this is the eastern part of the house I have mostly host and impatiens planted here. I also planted some coleus in this bed, and I could not believe how huge they got! They were just the regular coleus you would buy in a six pack for around $1.50, not the specialized, more expensive kind, so it was an absolute shocker that they grew so big.
This is our side, east porch where we would enter/exit every day, deliveries are made, etc. I have very inexpensive $5.99 impatient baskets hanging, plus large pots filled with more impatiens and coleus.
There is a raised bed that runs along the east side of the house. It is filled with hosta, impatiens, coleus. and a small pine shrub.
Lamin cascades over the brick edges.
Here you can see how HUGE my coleus grew this year.
The west porch is where most guests would enter, though many enter on the east porch as well. I have a cedar bench on this porch, although we never sit here, so it's basically a decoration. 😂. In front of this porch are hosts, begonias, black-eye Susans, and coleus. The sunflowers were planted by the birds. I know they don't fit but I'm one of those gardeners that ALWAYS lets a sunflower be.
Continuing around the front of the porch is more coleus, lamin, and two stone pots on either side of the steps containing geraniums and begonias.
The western garden bed is mostly annuals, although there are a few Black-eyed Susans in the the back.
I normally plant this gigantic red salvia in this bed, but this year I couldn't find it in my usual garden center, so I planted this specialized Begonia this year. The tag said "Give this begonia plenty of room to grow", and boy were they right! The white begonias planted in front are regular begonias that you would buy in a six pack, you can really tell the difference in size. I only paid $3.99 a piece for the gigantic red begonias and because they grow so big, I only needed three to fill the garden bed, so that's not too bad of a price! I just love all the contrast between the bright yellow of the Black-eyed Susans and the red and white begonias. Slugs, which are a huge problem in this area, leave these plants alone too, whereas they always attacked my Salvia's in previous years. I think, if I can find this plant again next year, I will plant it again. Or, I could also dig them up and over-winter them in the sunroom. I've done it before, and they fade back in the winter, but in the summer once outside, they spring back to life.
In the corner is a red/orange Thunbergia. I really love how this vine turned out too! I actually found it more vigorous than the original yellow Thunbergia, which surprised me. Usually variations don't perform as well as the original plant. I will look for this one again next year too! That is my secret to gardening: plant what works well, don't plant again what doesn't! 😂
Another annual vine new to me this year is Hyancinth Bean. What a pleasant surprise this vine was! I had no idea what it was when I saw it at a garden center, I just liked the purple/green foliage and I had a tiny little trellis to fill, so I decided to try it. This vine grows so fast it's crazy! It quickly took over my little trellis and is climbing up the house. I had to add some fishing wire to try and keep it under control. I will definitely plant this one again next year.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that this vine flowers! I had no idea when I bought it that it would flower. I just bought it for the foliage. But it has the sweetest little, almost sweet pea-like flower on it. There are even more flowers on it now than when this photo was taken.
As you continue to walk down this path, you then come to my screened porch where Jackson is usually waiting to greet you.
This year we installed two rain barrels and they worked out so well we are going to add even more next year. I find dipping a watering can into a rain barrel a lot less labor extensive than dragging around and winding up a hose. Hubby just attached PVC pipe to the house gutters. When it rains, water pours into the gutters, through the pipes, and into the barrels. The barrels can fill up within minutes if there is a decent rain. Screens are put over the barrel to keep debris out of the water.
A peek inside my vegetable garden from outside.
Back up at the front of the house is another garden on the opposite side of the driveway. Here a lavender Bee Balm is in full bloom. It was so gorgeous this year until a severe rainstorm knocked it over. It looked more like a round, lavender bush than a perennial plant.
A close up of some of its' blooms.
The septic mound garden (called that because it literally is my septic mound) was renovated last year and boy did it show this year! It blew my mind how gorgeous it was. However, it also helped that my neighbors very large tree got taken out in a storm, providing the septic mound garden with a lot of sun it hasn't seen in years.
Last year I removed all the Golden Rod from this garden and a lot of the phlox. I did leave a lot of the phlox in, but divided it up. The phlox really seemed to appreciate that, as it showed! It was gorgeous.
There are lots of variations of coneflowers in garden centers now. Here is a white version. I also purchased a red version which I showed in last month's post but you can also see it in the second picture of this post. It is doing very well, and almost doubled in size in the first season.
Here you can see one of the tanks in the septic mound garden. I tried planted tall grass around it, but I kept getting quack grass mixed in and it was so hard to tell the difference between the quack grass and the ornamental grass, so I dug it all up and tossed it. Next year, I think I will plant Bee Balm around the tank. It grows very tall.
I had some extra squash plants that wouldn't fit in my veggie garden so I just threw them in here. They are growing very well, but I wish I wouldn't have done that as they are taking over my beautiful garden. 😐
I still have some late blooming day lilies. Most day lilies bloom mid summer, but they do sell late blooming ones too that will help extend the blooming season. This one is called "September Gold".
A lot of you may have this flower in your garden; it's a great plant to have if you have kids. It's called "Magic Lily" because in the spring it shoots out this pretty green leaf, then the leaves die back and disappear, and in the fall these magical, pink lilies appear. This is a great plant to have because they bloom when not much else is in bloom, not to mention, they are kinda fun!
Now lets take a tour of some of the lower gardens. Here I am standing in front of our garden shed looking back up at the house. The caged in area in front of the house is the vegetable garden.
The gardens in front of the shed are mostly black eyed Susans, which provide a great contrast to the red shed. There is also purple and white tall phlox.
There are a lot of beautiful, bright red day lilies in this garden, along with a blue spruce tree and purple cone flowers.
Purple Liatris with Black-Eyed Susans, red day lilies, and Hosta blooms in the background.
I have many different hydrangeas in my yard; too many to count. They grow well in my partial shade/full shade yard. This is the fall blooming variety.
My favorite thing about purple coneflowers and black eyed Susans is that they will grow in full sun or full shade. Not a lot of flowers do that. They are also heavy self seeders, and many gardeners don't like that. If that's you, then my advice would be to just cut them off the second they are done blooming so that they will not go to seed. I let mine go to seed because the birds LOVE them. Finches fill my yard in the fall, eating this seed. All the coneflowers and black eyed Susans you see in the picture below are growing in a full shade garden and are all self seeders. I love it! It's like nature did the gardening for me planting these beauties!
A beautiful ruffled petal peachy/pink day lily.
Every now and then I can just be walking through my garden and something just takes my breath away. The afternoon I was walking my garden, it was the way the sun light hit the Hollyhock plants. I just thought it was so beautiful.
Black eyed Susans and tall phlox in front of the garden shed. If you can have only one perennial in your garden, I would plant Black Eyed Susans. They bloom longer than any other perennial and are virtually indestructible. They start blooming around the end of July for me and continue blooming through September. BEST PLANT EVER!
And finally, a flower bed right in front of my vegetable garden. Potato vines on the far left, followed by red bee balm and black eyed Susans in front. Vibernum bush is in the background.
Well, I hope you enjoyed walking through my late summer garden with me. If I think the garden looks decent enough in September, I will be back with one last garden post.
Have a Great Day! Amy
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