Saturday, 26 July 2014

The Garden in Late July

When we moved into this house 18 years ago, there was grass to the fence and a small, untended veggie garden in the corner of the back yard. Skip worked very hard the first few years to create planting beds along most of the fence in the back yard. We then filled the beds with as much perennial plant material as possible.

I took a stroll around the yard today to get some pics of the garden at this time of year.
This is a little urn I put between the two garage doors - purple salvia, geraniums and some type of cascading flower.
At the front of the house, we have hostas between the evergreens. Behind the hostas, there are low, spreading cedars which really can't be seen at this time of year.
Skip built this little fence about 15 years ago and planted more hostas and an interesting grass plant we call porcupine grass.
The white bits are actually horizontal.
In the back yard, we have a variety of plants and herbs along our new (this year) fence.
These geraniums are brought inside every fall and grow under a light stand all winter. Then they are re-planted outside in the spring. Can you tell Skip's favourite colour is red?
This odd one was a freebie a couple of years ago on Mother's Day from a local nursery.
A friend gave us a bunch of seedlings of this sea holly when we first created this garden. It grows quite tall and when in flower (the blue round groupings) the bees love it. To us humans, the flowers smell like dog pooh. To the right is bee balm (monarda or bergamot).
The garden has changed quite a bit over the years, depending on what trees and other foliage our neighbours cram against their fences, blocking the sunlight. For quite a while, we had a couple of clematis plants against our east fence. Last year, Skip planted this signature jackmanii clematis plant against the back fence where it is growing robustly.

This bed is located in the centre of the back fence so we can see the flowers from the breakfast nook window. (The bird feeder on the right has a twirling mechanism on the perch that flings squirrels off that try to empty the feeder. It is quite entertaining to watch)

The rust-coloured day lilies were from divided plants from the garden of one of my former principals. The large-leafed hostas were originally from Skip's mother's garden. In the centre is a 5' metal obelisk. The black-eyed Susan vine (thunbergia) grows to a perfect height for the wire structure. In the spring, the bleeding hearts are among our earliest flowers. The foliage (to the right of the obelisk against the fence) looks very nice until the beginning of August when it starts to turn brown. At that point, Skip cuts them down. In front is a potentilla plant that has been located here from a couple of other spots in the garden. The bugle weed flowers have come and gone. It is very invasive so I rip out about half of it after the blooming or it would choke out a lot of the other growth. Behind the horse you can see a few nasturtium blooms. They would probably be better more in front. Campanula are to the right of the horse.
Most of our plants lean towards the east as our neighbour to the west has two enormous maple trees that block all the light from about noon on.
Against the house we have a couple of narrow beds that are perfect for growing peppers because of the radiant heat from the brickwork. These yellow peppers are ready to eat. Chicken wire has been put around many of the plants to protect them from marauding rabbits.
Milkweed is at the end of its blooming stage. They are beautifully fragrant. Unfortunately, not many eggs were laid beneath the leaves of this plant. Yesterday I discovered several empty egg casings under the leaves of a much smaller plant that didn't have any blooms. There was no sign of caterpillars so I am assuming other bugs or birds got them. We still have three that are doing very well in their 'nursery' indoors.
This echinacea plant grew to over 4 feet in height the first couple of years we had it. In subsequent years as the lilacs to the east of it got bigger, there was more shade and the plants never grew that high again. Skip severely trimmed the lilacs this year in preparation for our deck rebuild so these plants are thriving again.

The bird bath is very popular with most of the birds in the area. I try to keep it clean and full of fresh water daily. The domed device in the centre is a solar-powered 'water wiggler' which creates ripples that attract the birds and also discourages the water from stagnating and attracting mosquitoes and their eggs/larvae.
Skip does 99% of the yard and garden work. In addition to the flowers and peppers, we grow rosemary, chives, basil, oregano and cilantro. Vegetable-wise we have the peppers, kale, lettuce, green onion, some beans and a couple of kinds of tomatoes. Mmm - we are looking forward to the tomatoes being ready to harvest.

For a suburban lot, it is quite wide at 65 feet. In newer subdivisions in our town, it is not unheard of for 3 and 4 bedroom houses to be on 30' and 35' lots. Most of our neighbours have swimming pools. We have never wanted one and prefer instead to enjoy a lush carpet of grass and beautiful flowers.

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