Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It's Only Fair...

It's only fair that since I showed my disasters for this gardening season in my "It's Dead, Jim" post that I show what lived, what worked, and what worked too well in my garden this year.

In late winter/early spring, I took everything out of this bed except the two Fuchsia magellanica, Monarda 'Raspberry Wine,' and the Oriental poppies, dug in lots of compost, and then replanted it. (Read about that here.) I'm really happy with it. It has looked good all season, with a nice variety of flowering perennials and grasses, good foliage contrasts, and good color and flowers pretty much all season, including right now, with the Rudbeckia, Echinacea (although I need more of them), the Fuchsias and the Joe-Pye Weed all still going strong.

This is the bed that the hummingbirds fight over all day.

I redid a second bed in the back garden against the fence, in which I had originally planted a number of native shrubs too close to the front. It wasn't quite as successful as the first one, but it's a vast improvement over how it looked last year. I have too many bare spots and not enough plants still flowering, but that is easily remedied. I have a lot of seedlings that need to get in the ground, and that are perfect for the conditions in this bed. So at this point, to continue filling it in, I don't even need to spend any more money.

Did I mention I have lots of seedlings still to plant?


And lots...

And lots.....

And lots!

The new bed in the front under the new trees (see my post here from this time last year), has also filled in very nicely. I Pinned lots of pictures of companions last year while trying to figure out how I wanted to plant this up, and those combos are working their hearts out right now.

Rudbeckia and Aster

Rudbeckia, Aster, Echinacea and tall Phlox

Aster and Japanese Anemone

Did you notice all the Asters? I  dug up a clump that was growing in too much shade and divided it into three clumps and spread them throughout this bed. Unfortunately, one of those clumps was a little too big, and has a tendency to sprawl in the middle and flop onto its neighbors. I should fix that. Eventually.

By the way, did you notice how well my new Melianthus is doing in that bed? I bought that plant this spring on one of my many plant hunting expeditions with Peter the Outlaw Gardener. Unfortunately, it is doing so well that it is crowding a new Peony. Hopefully, next year the Peony will fight back. If the Melianthus survives the winter.

Poor Peony

In my "It's Dead, Jim" post I lamented that I tried growing a Clematis using a Hamamelis as a trellis, and the Clem isn't doing too well. This one, however, worked really well. Not only is the vine thriving and flowering right now, but the color of the flower is a great color echo against the smoke bush foliage that it's winding its way through.


What else is working? In the winter I sowed a bunch of annual seeds -- Alyssum, Nigella and California poppies -- under cloches in that front bed. The Nigella never sprouted, maybe because the seeds were too old, but the poppies and the Alyssum were smashing in that bed all summer long. The poppies are done now, but the Alyssum is still going strong. Hopefully, both will reseed and come back next year.

In the category of what worked too well, is this enormous swath of Gaura. I planted three here last fall, and boy did they take off! I tried growing Gaura more than once back when I lived in Massachusetts, and it always wimped out and died on me, leading me to erroneously think that Gaura was a weak plant. I should have known that it would love our conditions here in the PNW. Doesn't everything? I'm going to have to move two of them elsewhere, they're crowding everything around them.

Just three plants

It's been a huge cloud of white/pink flowers all season, and the bees love it!

But it's crowding its neighbors.

Oh, and by the way, the 'New Dawn' Viburnum x bodnantense that I thought was dead, that I showed pictures of in my "It's Dead, Jim" post? All it took was last week's deluge of rain. It's pumping out some new leaves.

Viburnum x bodnantense 'New Dawn'

So, that's my review of what I'm happy with in my garden this season. What successes did you have? I hope there's at least one thing that's really pleasing you.


  1. It all looks beautiful. I love your curving borders and you made some nice combinations (also love the rock and pebble edging which looks very natural. I'm going to copy that.) The shed with the graceful border is lovely.

    Gaura has been a weak plant here in Connecticut for me... interesting to see what it does out there! Yay for the recovering Dawn viburnum. MIne is doing well but looks like Dr. Seuss created it, it's very rangy and wild.

  2. Wow, you've sure got a lot that's working very beautifully! Your late summer bloomers are gorgeous! The cloud of Gaura is pretty spectacular even if it's being a bully.

  3. Do what works. Echinacea and Rudbeckia fall by the wayside here in late summer. I've seen glorious gaura down the road but never tried it.

    Isn't alyssum wonderful?

  4. Your butterfly garden is fabulous...I'd want to hang around there too! I need to wedge in a few Asters...every autumn I'm so envious of them in other people's gardens!

  5. I'm more than impressed by the plenitude of seedlings! I've had limited luck with seeds thus far but its certainly something I need to try them again in the interest of my pocketbook as well as my garden.

  6. What a lot of seedlings, I 've only got a tray of Wall flowers waiting to go in...somewhere? Your garden looks beautiful!

  7. It looks great. You have such an eye for design. Can't wait until I can retire and have time to rehab my perennial beds.

  8. I can see why you are pleased...just gorgeous especially the first bed...and all those seedlings. i should do that with those I plant to move.

  9. That first picture made me gasp out loud ... stunning! As for the seedlings, I hereby declare you The Seedling Queen!


Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.