We neglected the front yard beds over the height of summer (June-August) and emerged over the Labor Day weekend to perform some maintenance. I spent a couple of weekends in September cleaning up the beds, trimming back some shrubs, and uprooting the casualties. Some plants obviously did not take too well the stretch of 100+ temperatures in August, most noticeably the young azaleas and our Waterfall Japanese Maple. At first we thought the drip line system to blame, but when we had a contractor come out to inspect our sprinkler system, he recommended that the drip system be run a minimum of 20 minutes–much more than the 5 minute run we had originally programmed. Safe to say that the plants are much happier going into Fall.
The cleanup obviously opened up some gaps in the garden beds to introduce new plantings as well.
Now if I can only muster up the energy to get some spring-flowering bulbs into the ground!
It was a back-breaking, sore-all-over labor to work the north-side shade bed and start the task of planting groundcovers and creepers in the stone pathway. But we accomplished a lot over the weekend, including our final tree selections @ Chambersville: a shantung maple and a Viridis japanese maple, both 30 gallon specimens. Due to the wet weather so far, Chambersville won’t be able to deliver our new trees until sometime mid-April.
We mulled over the idea of adding blue glass to the marble rock river winding down to the path from the gutter. The man also wanted to add a marble rock feature to the front bed, but I’m not as open to the idea.
Plantings in the north bed: Carex Everillo, Hosta Fire and Ice, Astilbe (x5), Lime Marmalade heuchera, Foxtail fern, Cedar Sage, White Star caladiums (x3), White Splash geranium, green oxalis (white-flowered), Hort Couture Glitterati Ice Queen, wild red columbine, Sugar Plum heuchera, Japanese painted fern, Hort Couture Plum Crazy oxalis, Contessa Burgundy geranium, black mondo grass.
Plantings in the north path: Platt’s Black brass buttons, scotch moss, irish moss, variegated oregano, roman chamomile, Grace Ward lithiodora, Archer’s gold lemon thyme.
We accomplished a great deal over this weekend despite the cooling weather. I took advantage of an early release on Friday afternoon to check out North Haven Gardens for tree and shade plant prospects. Takeaways included Picasso calla lily and White Star caladium bulbs, cat grass seed and a variegated milkweed by Hout Couture. I came very close to picking up a variegated hellebore (Snow Fever), cool literally and figuratively speaking, but refrained due to lack of experience.
Saturday included trips to several area nurseries and feed stores looking for unusual or uncommon plants. Farm-and-feed stores differ in that they rarely carry ornamentals and focus on vegetable/crop seeds and of course farm operations. I did find it fascinating to find 3 healthy Moruga Scorpion specimens at Dennis’ Farm Store in Denton that I was half-tempted to snap up (found variegated oregano and a Golden Girl salvia instead). And who could resist the adorably cute farm babies at D&L Farm and Home Store in Aubrey? I did finally add to my cat-friendly herb planter, discovering lemon balm at Texas Seasons in Celina.
After hitting up Four Seasons and Laguna Madre for variegated sedum and a pot of lemongrass, it was off to work digging up more clay to add depth to the path nearest the fence. Then, Sunday and Monday we spent the day setting the flagstone, removing the builder-installed plants, and installing our bird-and-butterfly friendly (mostly) perennial garden.
The end of March is coming fast, and we have yet to finish our yard crash. It doesn’t help that we are coming up with new ideas along the way…
After deceptively mild weather for the Thanksgiving, it was evident that we were experiencing our last patches of warm weather before the cold front hit this weekend. My holiday shopping weekend was cut short by sudden drops in temperature, and I knew I would have to bring in my plants for the last time this year.
I missed the opportunity to bring in the eggplant yesterday, so I had to rush it into the bathroom greenhouse to see if it could be rescued. I’m not sure if the fruit will make it. It’s pretty short for what I’m used to in Chinese eggplants.
Outdoors, the damage from the overnight frosts has manifested into dead/wilted potato and basil plants. The traditional large leaf basils like Red Rubin and Genovese experienced the most damage. The lime, Pesto Perpetuo and Thai basil display browning less so. One of the Thai basil specimens appears to be laughing off the cold; but sooner or later, all the basils will be done.
The succulent planter seems to be hanging on. Whereas the petunia/caladium planter bowl shows signs of receding.
I found a surprise greeting me at one of the asters in the blue bed. A few blooms hid at the base of the plant, near the mulch line. I believe this one was Aster novi-belgii Believer.
Pansies, violas, ornamental kale, petunias, miscellaneous herbs, foxtail ferns, loropetalum, are all still hanging in there. The dusty millers must be enjoying their new location and this cool weather; they have doubled in size since I moved them from the front flower bed. I guess they prefer the protection. I expected the lemon verbena to die back down since it’s considered an annual, but it seems to enduring in the mixed planter box along with the chives, golden oregano, and aster cuttings. (Those are the remaining vincas hanging over from a neighboring planter. And a Red Rubin basil hiding out as well!)
Another day, another eggplant flower. The fruit is looking pretty good, despite some skin damage.
Purple pastel salvia greggii behind a red salvia greggii cutting in bloom.
In the same bed, you can see the hack job I performed on the Oertel’s Rose yarrow, which was once three times its current size. That doesn’t stop it from budding and blooming. But the smaller footprint allowed some room for the irises; here, Mariposa Skies is putting out new foliage. A neighboring iris, Immortality, also displays new leaves.
In the lily bed, the white mums are aging gracefully into blush pink senescence. Now, if I hadn’t stuck markers where those strap leaves were emerging, I’d have forgotten the spider lily bulbs I planted in the bed sometime back in June of this year.
The tree ring out front is still non-stop a-bloomin’! Of course, it’s looking somewhat bedraggled these days–apparently, a hare or a family of them has been using it for daytime cover. So it looks well-trampled in some parts. I can’t bring myself to yank out all the marigolds and salvia. It’s always fascinating to watch how long they will keep blooming their heads off.
I also managed to catch a lone loropetalum bloom. And a nice arrangement of Hot Lips salvia triplets.
Here is something I haven’t observed; fall foliage color on the potted lantana. Is this normal?
And the rest of today’s photos: caladiums, vincas, potato vines, Thai basil, miscellaneous herbs. And let’s not forget the many rose buds on the Midnight Blue.