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

Friday, August 1, 2014

End of the Month View -- Bottle Tree Bed, July 2014

It's time for the End of the Month View of my Bottle Tree Bed, and once again, I'm late, but only a day late. It's August already. I find myself hoping August contains a bit of a cool-down. Our weather lately has been dry and hot (hot for PNWers, which is any time the temp reaches the high 80s and stays there, at least during the day.) Lots happened in July, which started off with my trip to visit my son in the Boston, MA area. I left the sprinkler in this area on a timer, so that it would come on once a day in the early morning for 30 minutes. You may remember that I moved almost everything around in this bed in the early spring, and I was worried that it would need watering to get everything re-established over our dry summer.

After my return I started moving the sprinkler around the garden to get other areas watered as well. That week that we were away was the hottest weather we've had all summer, with temps in the 90s, and as a result, many other plants around the garden suffered. My Darmera peltata, for example, in a different bed on the other side of the garden, which likes being wet, dried up almost completely. I just recently cut it back, and it's starting to produce some green foliage.

Anyway -- the Bottle Tree Bed. It's looking pretty good, although there are plants there that are completely flowered out that need to be cut back, such as the Verbascums. And it seems to me that some plants could use a bit of re-shaping. They're all growing into each other, which is a look I like, but it's just a little bit untidy, for my taste. Too many amorphous blobs, and not enough distinction between plants.

You can read my June post about the Bottle Tree Bed here.

The Bottle Tree Bed in July -- looking past its prime

Most of the Agastache 'Golden Jubilee' is at the end of its flowering, as well as the Hydrangea 'Invincibelle Spirit'

Veronica 'Lilac Fantasy,' which I moved from another bed into this one, started flowering in June. It's near the front of the bed, and is taller than I remember.

Astrantia and Erysimum 'Apricot Twist,' a very sweet-smelling wallflower, which has been flowering since I bought it in May

The pink hardy Geranium in the bed (I knew its name once) has been flowering for a couple of months now too.

I divided and moved three clumps of this grass earlier this year, which involved cutting it back and splitting it into six clumps. It languished for a bit, but it's flowering again.

There are only a couple of sprigs of Astrantia that are still in full flower and not gone to seed.

Lonicera involucrata, a native shrubby honeysuckle, is in full berry now. The hummingbirds that pollinated it earlier in the year, now sit on it to rest when they're tired from feasting on and fighting over the large stand of Monarada "Raspberry Wine' (directly behind me in a different bed as I take this picture).

A closeup of the honeysuckle's purple/black berries

So, that's the Bottle Tree Bed for July. There are only a few hours each morning when it's comfortable for me to be out there gardening, but soon I really do need to get out there and work on this bed. I am a wimp when it comes to heat -- well, any extreme weather, to be honest.

Helen at The Patient Gardener's Weblog hosts the End of the Month View. You can read her current post here, and check out the comments, where others post links to their own EoMV posts.


  1. I love that blue bottle tree, but also that piece of garden. It is very similar to my garden, everywhere flowers growing into each other. And I am always worried about the untidinous, especially with those high growing Veronicas. But it's a way of gardening, I think I even cannot do better.
    Wish you a bit lower temperature so that gardening will be a pleasure again.

  2. I'm a sloppy waterer, so I get good and drenched in the early morning and it keeps me cool a good part of the day. I'm with you, saying no to the heat.

  3. From the photos it looks like your bottle bed is balanced and filled in nicely but I suppose only you would know how much more work still needs doing. Hope cooler and more comfy temps will come your way soon!

  4. I love the E. 'Apricot Twist,' Alison, and will make a point of looking for it as I plan my fall planting. I, too, am spending less time in the garden than I'd like as it's hot and muggy here. I wish I could give my garden more supplemental but the severity of the drought here prevents that - I feel guilty depriving the plants what they clearly need (and sick to my stomach every time I lose yet another plant) but it can't be avoided. I hope the forecasters are wrong and that we get a wet El Nino this winter!

  5. The garden is looking good and everything seems to have weathered your absence well.

    As for heat, I consider it a minor inconvenience compared to winter elsewhere.

  6. Like you I try to get plants growing into each other but still retaining their identity. It's a difficult balance to get. I think you have achieved it in the bottle tree bed, it looks lovely. I like the astrantia with the Apricot Twist.

  7. It still looks great in July--just more subdued. Everything looks healthy.

    I'm a heat-wimp, too, looking outside, wishing I was out there, but it's too hot!

  8. Your bottletree bed has developed really well, though I know what you mean about getting a good balance between lush planting rather than bare soil, but not losing all structure. Contrasting foliage shapes help, but I'd still rather see dense planting than bare earth!


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