Michael, a good friend, colleague and neighbour of mine, gave me a little seedling of this plant last year, except he couldn't remember what it was. It has pretty, airy little white flowers and seems to be quite happy in my front Entry Garden. I recently figured out what it was thanks to this excellent post on another blog I follow: it's Bowman's root!
This is only the second year for my Front Entry Garden and I am quite happy with how it is filling in! And I really like how the red flowers pop against all that green background. What's blooming now: red campion (maltese cross) and poppies, white mockorange, perennial geranium and shasta daisies, blue centaurea montana (perennial bachelor's button) and delphiniums. There's also a new, salmon-coloured "red valerian" I got this spring that has been blooming for MONTHS but I'm not sure yet if it's hardy here.
Note: someday there will be a patio under those chairs!!
To see the evolution of this garden and what is blooming at other times of the year, click here and scroll down.
Check out these beautiful solar garden lights from www.Suncatcher.ca! The ones shown above are the Aurora Glass string lights - they're handblown glass and come in several colours (I chose blue, of course!) I've had them for a couple of months now and and specifically hung them on my back west-facing porch because they catch the sunlight during the day when viewed from inside the house, and in the evening they glow. To be honest, I can't say how long they glow for because I haven't managed to stay up late enough yet!! But perhaps in fall when dusk comes earlier I'll be able to post an update for you.
They are solar powered so you place the solar collector in a sunny spot, and then run the cord to the lights up to 15' away. The lightbulbs are long life LEDs, and the batteries are replaceable with hardware store rechargebles so they seem to be designed to last. I also got a white table top lantern but due to having young kids, I hung it up in a safe place for now:
These are beautiful lights for the garden and I would definitely recommend them - in fact, I might get more myself (they also have beautiful blown glass garden stakes). I suppose the only drawbacks are that you can't control when they come on - they start glowing on their own when it gets dark enough outside - and that they are not super bright - I wouldn't rely on them to light up the yard or anything! But considering they are solar powered, I find that to be a good tradeoff. Also the lantern's top and bottom are plastic, although painted to look like metal.
Full disclosure - I was given these for free and asked to do a review of them on my blog. However, Teara the owner, made it clear that I was free to be candid in my review. I have been asked to endorse products on my blog before and I've always said no, either because I was not free to be candid or because the product has always been something I wouldn't use myself. But these solar lights are so pretty that I jumped at the opportunity!
Teara, I wish you the best of success for you and your beautiful lights!
Many (but not all!) of my shade-loving perennials in this garden are spring-blooming, so I paid close attention to foliage when planting here. The dark foliage of actea (bugbane) is up front in this picture, with ninebark 'Coppertina' in the bakground. Also lamiastrum 'Hermann's Pride', brunnera 'Jack Frost', epimedium rubra, hostas, and bergenia provide interesting foliage in this garden and seem to handle the dry shade.
Here's another view (re-routing the downspout over the arch is on the to-do list for this summer):
To see the development of this garden and what's blooming at other times of the year, click here and scroll down.
Each year I try to grow at least one new thing in the veggie garden, and this year it was arugla.
(Note: Last year it was kohlrabi, which I had read was a fun veggie to grow for kids since it looks like Sputnik. Well, they were underwhelmed, and so was I, frankly. A guess it would be good with dip but by itself it was nothing to write home about. I won't bother growing it again.)
Anyhoo. I have discovered that I LOVE arugula! Why have I never tried it before?!? It is delicious! I love the nutty flavour with a bit of zing. However, from what I have read, it will get bitter in the heat of summer so should be pulled and started again from seed towards the end of the summer for a fall crop. Too bad, as I will miss its pretty flowers too! Maybe I'll leave it for just a few more days or until it becomes unpalatable...
I've been meaning to move my painted daisies for a while because they used to be behind some siberian iris, which were so tall that the daisies couldn't really be seen. So, today, on the spur of the moment, I moved them in front of this golden coloured grass - a nice combination, don't you think?
Generally I don't move plants in July but the daisies hiding behind the irises were really bugging me.
What's working or not working in your garden right now?
I don't tend to plant annuals in the garden because I constantly run out of space experimenting with perennials that do well in Calgary. It took me years of gardening before I finally figured this out:
Got a spot in the garden that is seen from many viewpoints and needs to be spectacular all season long? Add a pot. Smack dab IN the garden. And experiment with fun and unusual annuals as much as you like while adding impact to the garden at the same time. Or, like me, stick with easy, cheap, tried and true for your pots so that you can have your fun with your perennials.
(Above: New Zealand flax, petunias and allysum in the pot. I know, no big whoop, right? But don't they look great against the perennial artemesia in the background?)