Monday, August 22, 2011

A Summer Report Card

You know we all do this at the end of every summer, we evaluate what we have grown this year, move things around, put in some new plantings and look forward to having the perfect garden next year.

I am pleased with the Northwind Panicum along the south side in the front.  They are in a very narrow strip but so far so good.

Panicum can be left up during the winter to turn a soft tan color, not prone to flopping.  However, I do band it along the bottom to keep it from encroaching on the pathway.  It can also be ringed in the spring for a virtually invisible support,

This is what keeps a gardener going that constant reaching for the carrot knowing that it will never be attainable but it is sure fun and stimulating to try.  I hope all beginning gardeners will realize that the veterans are still trying to do better each year.

I don't know how it could get much better than Limelight Hydrangea, tons of blooms each year, virtually carefree.  I do prune it each spring in a semi-circle and fertilize with an organic fertilizer for acid loving plants by Espoma.

The blooms on Limelight will change from green to white to pink to rose and can be easily dried.  They can also be successfully spray painted for using outside in holiday arrangements.

There have been years when I wanted to get rid of the Lirope but this year it looks especially lush.  I am slowly adding additional plantings to this area like the new Autumn Ferns this year.

The front garden is beginning to take shape looking south with more perennials, dwarf shrubbery and very few annuals except in the porch containers.

More perennials and shrubbery looking north with the new Ninebarks along the perimeter.

I get dismayed with the weather each year and in the past few years the deluge of insects and diseases I had never heard of before

This is Arnie's Choice rejuvenated after being trimmed down with Plumbago filling in as a ground cover.  I put in some small cabbages because of the bulbs underneath so we will see how big they get.

Endless Summer Hydrangea bloomed once this year and sparsely at that.  I don't know why I keep thinking it will get better!

I almost pulled out Cordyalis a couple of years ago because it multiplies and spreads to areas where it was not planted.  However, it is very easy to pull out, so I decided to keep it.  It has turned out to be very desirable along the north side flowering all summer oblivious to the heat and moisture,

Unique Hydrangea is always a reliable performer, changes to pink to rose and dries beautifully.

Variegated Solomon's Seal gets high marks for withstanding all types of weather conditions even the hot air from the air conditioners that it surrounds.  That's just morning haze in the background!

Mary Rose is a David Austin Rose and survived better than many of the others with the rose midges and the Japanese beetles.

All The Rage has been my best rose this year almost impervious to the midge and the Japanese beetles.  It opens up to a much lighter peach color.  It is high on the list of desirable roses.

Carefree Beauty is blooming again but it was not protected against the midge or the Japanese beetle.

Knockout Rose Blush was affected all summer with the midge and the Japanese beetles, not a great report card for the Knockouts.

Pink Knockout was also affected by the Japanese Beetles and the Rose Midge but is coming back maybe for a fall revival.

Pink Promise is an award winning Hybrid Tea Rose but it has been most affected by the diseases for the past few years.  It has done much better this year even though it has been affected by the midge disease and the Japanese Beetles.

Pink Meidiland has been blooming continuously all summer, lightly affected by the midges and Japanese Beetles.

Brunnera Jack Frost
Looks great in the border all summer

The new introductions entice us each year as we are always eager to improve on what we have or desire to have, this also is not always an attainable goal.

Bubblegum Phlox was new this year and is highly recommended as a great rebloomer.

Laura is a very long blooming phlox (foreground) still blooming from the beginning of July, Franz Schubert has already been deadheaded and is reblooming.

In the alley garden the plantings along the fence tend to lean forward because they are being pulled by the sun (phototropism).  This is common when plants are put against walls and fences and not getting light from all directions.  So, I have solved this problem by ringing the grasses and Centhranthus with inexpensive green metal rings from Home Depot.  I did not do the Blue Fotune Agastache and regret that I didn't, leaning heavily after every storm.  You do not see the rings once the plants begin to grow.