Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Notes to self

Note to self: this area, while lovely with all of its orange flowers, needs something to cool it down.

The Melianthus major, whose cool blue foliage probably would've done the trick, is too short to be seen from the street.

Maybe replace the Drosanthemum micans with something with blue flowers?

Note to self: cutting back the Agastache 'Golden Jubilee' in late May made it look terrible for a couple of weeks but now it's recovered nicely and it's blooming like normal but with a more compact shape. Do this again next year, harder.

This might be a good choice for replacing the Drosanthemum and cooling off the orange cannas.

Or maybe Salvia 'Black and Blue'?

It looks like the Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgandy' that I got for $2 at Viscaya's end-of-the-season closeout last fall is going to bloom. Don't miss that event this year.

Note to self: all the heartache and worrying over how to get your hands on Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' was totally worth it. Those floating eyebrows are gorgeous.

I mean, come on.

Pay attention to deadheading. The lewisia has been blooming for months because you've been diligent about snapping off the spent blooms, something you can do without shears.

Plant more annuals and biennials. They inevitably become your favorite plants and it's fun to have your neighbors ask you what "the Dr. Seuss plant" is (Verbascum 'Arctic Snow').

Divide that Coreopsis 'Moonbeam' in the fall. It's beautiful yellow flowers are threatening to eat the garden.

Stake the milkweed next year. These fell over badly and you couldn't seem the blooms from the sidewalk.

The neighbors shouldn't have to bushwhack to see these awesome milkweed pods. And maybe you'd see Monarch butterflies if you made them more apparent.

Never pull out the rue you planted. It might be coincidence, but once you planted it swallowtail butterflies started appearing in the garden. It's not much to look at so far but it seems worth it.

Note to self: edit the back rain garden. It's a freaking mess. Chop the penstemon next spring to keep it tidier.

Ditto the area behind the rain garden. It's an amorphous blob of ratty green.

Thank Alison for forever burning the name "Hen and Dicks" into your brain.

More pots. They are like jewelry for the garden.

Plant more of these Echinacea purpurea 'Kim's Knee High'. They bridge orange and pink so nicely and they are compact and very upright.

Can someone remind me to read this post in the fall? Pretty please?


  1. I write notes on a blackboard in my garage , so I see them as I walk out the door , sometimes I get the deeds done.
    Your garden looks wonderful...I think a garden open ?

  2. Don't forget to read this post in the fall. (You're welcome.) I think that the blue house does a perfect job of cooling down your warm and glorious plantings but then I'm very fond of those hot summer colors! Love your Dr. Seuss Verbascum!

  3. Great list, and thanks for the shout-out! I was going to suggest Salvia patens, which also has nice big blue flowers like 'Black and Blue,' but not the dark calyx. But you can sow it from seed, which makes it cheap, and you get lots more plants. I planted Blonde Ambition last year, but no eyebrows yet. Loved the wider look at your front garden.

  4. Thank you so much! It's not ready for prime time yet (the back is so boring) but I'm hoping for next summer.

  5. Oh, I just looked that up and I LOVE it! That's such a great suggestion. The Blonde Ambition I bought from High Country Gardens haven't yet bloomed but the ones I bought from Wind Dancer are blooming like crazy. Yet another reason to mourn the closing of that nursery--her plants were so vigorous!

  6. Notes to self never ends. I have tried keeping a couple of pages in my journal with suggestions and orders to myself so these thought are all in one place.

  7. Those blue flowers don't need to cool down, they warm up your blue house there!

  8. Hen and Dicks...oh boy, now I'm not going to be able to forget that and my yard is covered in them. :)

  9. The boys will wonder why you're giggling at your plants . . . :)

  10. Does that work? Sometimes I'll think of the perfect solution for an area of the yard and don't write it down . . . and then it's gone.

  11. Great observations -- grasses that look like eyebrows and pots that are like jewelry among the plants. Love it. And that Dr. Seuss thingy you have growing . . !

    You don't need a saturated blue to cool down your hot colors as much as you need a pale cream or soft gray tone. Maybe variegated foliage. So many choices, but a couple I like that are unusual: Cayropteris divaricata has cream and green variegated leaves and it pops from a distance, gets upright bushy. And a really neat plant, zenobia pulverulenta that most have never heard of, has a dusty silver blue look to its pretty foliage. Looks like an elegant little blueberry shrub and in fall the leaves turn russet bronze.

    What about a dwarf blue globe spruce -- very cooling and a complement with your house color -- and you could use some denser blob shapes among all the leafy flowery spiky things. Whatever you do, the whole front looks gorgeous. Just remember to look at this post of what 's working in a few months.

  12. I look at that shot of the garden as a whole and think it will be hard to improve upon. I'm sure you will find a way. Will a divided coreopsis find its way to the next swap?

  13. Great list. How about Agastache foeniculum or Monarda fistulosa in that area with the hot flowers?

  14. Your garden just looks more and more amazing!

    I think you found your solution...replace the Drosanthemum with a division of your Coreopsis...I think the soft yellow will tone down all the hot colors...."stepping them down" to meld with the rest of the garden :-) It's hard to tell in pictures, but I'd say the thing that maybe ads that extra bit of intensity to the area is actually the Crocosmia...it's heat building on heat. Would you consider moving it forward in the garden...it would tone down that area a notch...and pull the eye through the garden, and you could replace it with 'Golden Jubilee'. Just a thought :-)

    BTW...so jealous of your Bouteloua...they are awesome!!!

  15. You are so good at breaking design down. Now that you've said that, I completely agree. I love the look of that caryopteris (and you said it's a bee factory, right?).

    I really like the idea of a dwarf blue spruce but my hesitation has been the mature size. I know it will take years and years to get there but it still worries me. Do they make a super-dwarf cultivar? Thank you so much for your continued garden coaching!

  16. I think it's only fair to bring it to the swap, since that's where I got the original plant!

  17. I've held off on growing Monarda because they like a moist soil and I've tried to have everything in the front yard be xeric. Of course, I'm already watering the cannas (those were planted for Greg so he got a pass on the xeric thing), so it wouldn't be hard to shoot them with some water while I'm at it. What's your favorite flavor?

  18. I completely agree that it's the crocosmia building that heat. I'm intrigued by this idea of moving it . . . I need to bribe you to come over in late summer so you can direct me where to move everything. :)

  19. I didn't realize about the xeric thing but that makes sense. Monarda fistulosa (Bergamot) does not need as much water as bee balm (Monarda didyma), but I'm not sure if you would call it xeric. They have a nice lavender-blue flower, smaller than bee balm's, which is why I mentioned it. The Agastaches, on the other hand, should do ok - and what about Salvias? Have you looked at the wild Salvia azurea? Also, what about Veronicastrum 'Inspiration', which has a blue flower spike in early summer?

  20. I agree that the blue of your house is the perfect backdrop to the orange flowers. I wonder if a blue flower in that bed would fade into the background? If not, my vote is for Black and blue salvia - they're hummingbird magnets! Love your garden.

  21. Thanks! You bring up a really good point. It's so helpful to get insight from gardeners with fresh, unbiased eyes!

  22. Caryopteris clandonensis is a bee factory & lovely, but a lot like what you already have there. Caryopteris divaricata is herbaceous (dies down each winter) and Snow Fairy is the variegated one. Foliage is wonderfully bright but the flowers are minimal.

    The globe blue spruces I have are really small -- about three feet high and wide, and they just get fatter & denser, not bigger.