Tuesday, July 22, 2014

We are officially no-mow in the front yard

In the list of Things I've Spent the Majority of My Life Doing, removal of sod is quickly catching up to sleeping, reading, and perusing the Annie's Annuals website. For the record, those latter three things are way more fun than sod removal.

Despite the fact that everyone I know loves smothering, I have not had good results with it. The neighborhood cats dig up my newspaper, things never properly decompose, and the sod always seems to come back to life. I've read reports online from people who claim that, within six weeks of applying the smothering layer of choice, they had lush, crumbly topsoil. I call bullshit.

Anyway. I had very little sod left in the front garden but it needed to be removed very carefully with a pickax, so I wouldn't disturb the roots of the 75 year old dogwood tree. I had this stupid strip along the new pathway just to make mowing awful for Greg. You're welcome, buddy.

I used the same rock I've used throughout the garden and did a terrible job preparing the ground. I want people to know that I DIYed this.

And along the property line . . .

The hope is to give my neighbor a level surface to run his lawnmower along. And I'll have a clear demarcation of where wood chips or mulch should begin.

Now I just need to fill in this area in with dry shade plants. I have three Amsonia hubrichtii planted around the dogwood, along with Geranium macrorrhizzum, which will hopefully disguise the abrupt transition from fine hemlock mulch to cedar chips.

I planted a tiny variegated flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum 'Variegata') in this area (just to the left of the pouty Sesleria autumnalis), since that native can take an awful lot of abuse. I've also got a smattering of random hellebores and volunteers like Persicaria 'Lance Corporal,' Phlomis russeliana, and Parahebe perfoliata. Anybody have a favored 3-4 foot dry shade subshrub or evergreen plant? I need some variation in height.

I also need a bench or comfy chair so I can sit under the dogwood with a glass of wine in the evening. And groundcovers. I need something to knit this mess together.


Who needs lawn? The whole front garden was designed to be watered twice a month or less. It's crazy but it's fun and we have zillions of pollinators.

June of this year

We don't miss mowing at all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Garden bloggers' bloom day July 2014

My god, where has the year gone? Did you know it's July? Despite the fact that I celebrated the 4th of said month with fireworks and all that, and the Fling came and went, I was sort of floored to realize that it's not June anymore. And July is that wonderful time of year when I stand in the garden, swearing at myself for not better documenting the 900 kinds of lilies I planted in the spring. And why did I plant one that will get eight feet tall smack dab in the front of the bed?

Everything is blooming right on schedule except for my Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgandy,' which is shy this year. We're all lilies and grasses right now, which is just fine by me.

Silk Road is wonderfully scented. One stem decided to fall over so I just had to cut it and bring it inside. You can smell it all the way in the back bedrooms from the dining room. It's worth the allergy flair-up.

Silk Road
'Alchemy'  has a much less perfumey scent and is citrusy. It's wonderful.

'Conca d'Or' is enormous!
'Miss Libby' looking a little past her prime.
Good old 'Stargazer'

Some other newer additions for the garden this year:

Clematis Jackmanii
Plume poppy (Macleaya cordata) has a dusty pink bloom I normally wouldn't like.

Helenium 'Mardi Gras'

Eryngium giganteum 'Miss Willmott's Ghost'

Eucomis reichenbachii

Liatris spicata 'Kobold'

Coreopsis 'Limerock Ruby' improbably survived the winter.

Tithonia rotundifolia
Chionochloa rubra is blooming for the first time!

A very happy (late) bloomday to you! Thank you, as always, for hosting Carol!

Friday, June 27, 2014

The winner of the ANLD tour tickets!

Random.org was used to pull a winner for the ANLD tickets and congrats go to Matthew of The Lents Farmer (who entered on my Facebook page)! I'll contact you about picking them up.

Thank you to those of you who entered--I've never done a giveaway because I was worried that no one would enter. You've saved me some anxiety and I appreciate it!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Want to attend the 2014 ANLD Tour?

I had the good fortune to attend a sneak peek of this year's Association of Northwest Landscaper Designers' (ANLD) Tour, which will take place next Saturday, June 28th. Six gardens were showcased, with designers flexing their muscles to combat challenges like tiny urban plots, bad drainage, and the need for a beautiful garden that could accommodate a tractor driving through it (!).

The Best garden

The Malone garden

The Malone garden
There was plenty of great hardscaping to ogle and a hefty dose of plant porn, especially in the Ernst and Williams gardens.

The Ernst garden, which will be featured in this year's Garden Bloggers' Fling

Podophyllum 'Red Panda'? in the Ernst garden

Aloe suprafoliata in the Moore garden

I came away with a lot of ideas I'd like to steal and a profound respect for the association. The passion and support those members in the ANLD show for each others' work in incredible. All proceeds from the tour benefit the ANLD scholarship fund. Tickets for the tour are available at Portland Nursery, Cornell Farms, Dennis' Seven Dees, Garden Fever!, and Xera Plants. If that's not tempting enough, I'm giving away two tickets for the tour. Just head over to Facebook and like ANLD, then leave a comment here saying, "Count me in" or something to that effect. I'll announce the winner on Thursday morning!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Garden bloggers' bloom day June 2014

I was reading some snarky garden article the other day about the overuse of salvia by landscape designers and I looked out into my yard in horror . . . you guys, I have SO much salvia. In my defense, I was sent 21 of them by High Country Gardens in the weirdest order mix-up ever, but I've still got a lot that are my doing.

Salvia sylvestris 'Blue Hill'

I love them and the bees love them. And they smell so good and sweaty. 'Caradonna' and 'May Night' are still going and will go on all summer.

Salvia 'Indigo Spires' is just getting going

But the most exciting thing right now is that my Yucca recurvifolia bloomed! Hot damn.

Lilium martagon 'Arabian Night'

Helenium 'Mardi Gras'
Eremurus 'Lemon Meringue' are just finishing up

Verbascum epixanthium

Fuschia magellanica 'Hawkshead'

Scabiosa caucasica 'Fama Blue'

Asclepias speciosa

Penstemon x 'Enor'

Agastache aurantica 'Navajo Sunset'

Callicarpa bodinieri 'Profusion'

Papaver 'Drama Queen'

Papaver hybridium 'Lauren's Grape'

Verbena boariensis

Clarkia amoena 'Aurora'

Agrostemma githago

This summer has really snuck up on me . . . I feel like I'll be putting the garden to bed for winter if I don't stop and enjoy things. Happy bloom day and thank you to our host Carol!