The winter is when I take the time to reflect on what worked or didn't work this past year in the garden, and what I want to change/improve/add next year. Normally I make mental notes about this but I thought in the spirit of sharing, I should show you where my garden is at now and where I still want to take it. I feel the need to emphasize that these are not supposed to be beautiful, perfect cropped pictures of everything that did well this year in my garden - these are reality pictures of a garden that is still young and in development! I still want to make changes to even the most established areas of my garden! This post is the first in a series that I will do over the next few weeks.
The Front Welcome Garden (year 3)
This garden area was first planted in 2007 and while it is close to "done", there are still some changes I want to make. Some plants haven't thrived as I had hoped, while others I want to add more of. But all in all, I'm pretty happy with how this looks after only 3 years.
Here's the garden in mid-June. Since I don't have any pictures taken earlier than that, the first thing this tells you is that I really need to spend some time putting in some early spring-blooming bulbs next year! But right now there are two varieties of euphorbia blooming (the yellow stuff), and allium 'Purple Sensation' towards the back. There may not be many blooms yet, but at least there's lots of texture.
End of June. Love those shasta daisies! I fear these are the invasive type so I deadhead them diligently when they are done flowering. Also blooming here are low-growing sedum kamtschaticum and iris germanica 'Bounty'. There are some diabolo 'Ninebark' shrubs behind the larger ladybug sign, but they are young and they don't really stand out yet. I hope they'll look nicer in front of the green backdrop of the spruce in a couple of years.
Mid-July. Shasta daisies still going strong! So you see why I love them... The front corner at the bottom of the photo hasn't filled in as well as I'd hoped (some hens and chicks there) so I may add some festuca glauca next year, which would contrast well with the texture of the sedums. Also veronica spicata 'Sunny Border Blue' is blooming towards the middle and yellow achillea 'Moonshine' on the right. I was about to give up on that yarrow because the hares ate the flower buds off every year, but this year I guess it reached a critical mass and there were enough flowers to keep both wildlife and gardener happy. Now I want to add more as a "repeat plant".
Late July. The Shasta daisies are finishing but the veronica and yellow achillea are still blooming. Asiatic lilies (red) are just starting and calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster' has reached his full height. Yes, I think definitely some festuca glauca to fill that hole in the front...
Early August. Here's the view from the house towards the street. It was looking quite bare at this time of year so I put in those shorter, orange asiatic lilies and while I don't normally tend towards orange, I do think they add some zing. I also have some lychnis coronaria (rose campion) that I am letting self-seed in this area. I love it both for its fuzzy silver leaves as well as its magenta flowers but it's not spreading fast enough so I'm going to buy some seeds next year and start a bunch more and plant a larger drift weaving in and around the other plants. Then this area should look quite full. There is a small yellow barberry in the front which gets eaten to the ground each winter and just doesn't seem to be appreciating it. I think I will replace it with another ornamental grass next year - perhaps deschampsia cespitosa (tufted hair grass) which I also have on the other side of the path. Also, there's a spirea shrub which was supposed to be 'Goldflame' but isn't (too green), so I'm going to replace it too, for just a little more colour.
Late August. Asiatic and LA lilies blooming behind the Karl Foerster grass, and the yellow yarrow is still blooming too. The orange daylilies in front are starting to bloom but they didn't flower much this year - probably because I divided them this spring. I expect more from them next year. Oooh, and I sure do like that new front door colour too...
Mid-September. Potentilla 'Pink Beauty' is blooming on the right, and sedum 'Autumn Joy' is just starting to turn colour in the front. Rudbecka 'Goldsturm' and liatris spicata are blooming behind it. The rudbeckia is another plant I almost gave up on because the hares have eaten it in past years, but this year they gave it a pass. Lucky me!
Early December. Brrrrr.
Other parts of the garden: