Gardening is cheaper than therapy!

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It’s been a strange sort of summer this year.  Periods of sizzling hot and humid weather in June and July and buckets of rain in August which  of course was a relief to the garden as the plants were in need of a desperate soaking.  For those of you who follow Safari of the Mind regularly, you will know that we downsized about 6 years ago and moved from the suburbs to a more urban area.  I always knew that I wanted an area to grow and dig and encourage our fine feathered friends and insects to visit and stay a while.  So this townhouse with planters in the front and back, were just the ticket.  Did I mention there’s not a blade of grass to mow? 🙂 I’m notorious for switching things around, uprooting and re-planting, however I’m happy to report that I’m rather pleased with this year’s outcome.  Perhaps I was not patient enough, but things have filled out a lot more now and suffice to say, I’ll leave things as they are (for a couple of years anyway) 🙂

Astilbee (above) is a spring flower, but I had to add it to my summer collage of photos this year.  The number of times I’ve moved this beauty is quite unreal, yet it does not give up.  I actually dug it up from the old house and brought it along with some other precious shrubs and flowers that were special to me.  The past couple of  years it was relegated to a pot just because I did not have enough room in the flower beds.  Would you believe it, it was the best display I’ve ever seen in the 8 years or so that I’ve owned it?  Astilbee are shade-loving plants and will tolerate sun for part of the day.  They can be recognized by their tall fluffy feather-like plumes that tower over the fern-like foliage.  I’m hoping that I have at least another year or two in the pot before this will have to be transplanted yet again.  The video was taken on a breezy day, don’t you just love the way it sways in the wind?

Upright phlox (above) is another favorite and a new addition to the garden.  I had it in the previous garden and love the cheery individual delicate flowers that form large blooms in upright clumps.  It can get invasive, but large clusters of this plant make a dramatic statement in the flower beds.  I just found out that when most of the blooms are spent in the summer, you can cut this plant back by at least a third, and it will produce another round of blooms.  Make sure you compost or fertilize when you cut back.  It is late August as I write this post, and I’m getting a whole round of new blooms to brighten up the garden.

Coleus is my new favorite shade plant.  The varieties of colors and shapes are just too many to mention.  This gorgeous chartreuse  with a burgundy center started out as a tiny plant in the spring.  It has outgrown the pot and several stems have snapped with the weight and broken off, but it is such a forgiving plant, that you don’t even notice the damage.  It throws up tall purple spikes which are always frequented by pollinators, always a happy sight.  So this is a keeper for sure! Begonias make great potted plants or even when planted in the ground, they are real easy to maintain and don’t ask for much.  Many different hostas are used as fillers in both the back and front gardens.  When the purple or white flowers are spent, I tend to snip them off just to keep everything looking tidy in the beds.

The Crape Myrtle is a favorite in the southern states of the USA.  However, it does pretty well in our mid-Atlantic region too.  We had it trimmed and shaped a few times and mostly I thought the shape was ruined.  But this year, like everything else in the garden, it put on a magical display.  Loads of blooms filled the entire tree.  Their showy flowers and attractive bark is definitely a conversation piece.

In the front porch, summer annuals display their peppy selves.  I had a friend on Instagram comment that she was envious of our porch.  I guess we just take it for granted in this part of the world?  We love it too.  There’s nothing quite like sitting out with a cool drink in hand in the summer months and watching the world go by.  We live in a 100 + year old twin townhouse that has been completely renovated inside and out.  We try to get both gardens (our neighbor’s and ours) in harmony, so it gives some continuity and flow.

This year I opened up the courtyard a bit by arranging a table and a couple of chairs with a few planters.  I decided to keep it all white; nothing lights up a corner of the yard quite like white flowers.  White begonias and impatiens brightened up the otherwise drab fence and created some interest in that corner.  My all time favorite flower has to be the hydrangea.  I have them in pink and white.  The pink is in the ground, the white in a pot which is yet to flower.  I found it by my neighbor’s curb and have given it much TLC, but it has only had one flower in the 2 years I’ve had it.  😦

My husband does an amazing job trimming all the bushes just after spring.  I hope everyone has enjoyed their summer thus far.  We will soon be transitioning into the Fall weather, I know I can’t wait.  How has your summer garden faired?

So from my garden to yours, keep calm and garden on 🙂

24 Replies to “Gardening is cheaper than therapy!”

  1. Hi Loretta, thank you for sharing your beautiful flowers and yard! I have astilbe here but it doesn’t bloom until July! I think where I planted it may be too shady as I’ve had it for three years and it hasn’t spread much. We used to have purple upright phlox and unfortunately I left it when we moved. Your yard and porch are heavenly…what an escape for you to love everyday!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. Wow, your astilbee doesn’t bloom till July? That’s late by our standards. Ours usually pops up around early May or late April. I used to have the purple upright phlox in our old yard too, it always attracted so many pollinators, so this year I added it to the bed and I’m pretty pleased that I did. Everything is starting to seem stressed with all this heat and humidity that we’ve been experiencing lately. I can’t wait for the cooler weather. Happy Gardening 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful. We had two late freezes followed by a terrible hail storm. Some bushes are just now recovering. Roses have never recovered, but there’s next year. My tomatoes look beautiful but they’re still green! Lots of rain, which is typically rare in the summer, so all of the black spot, mold, and bugs that come with the humidity… Sometimes I’m envious of people with patio homes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we’re pretty chuffed with our move into a patio home. We used to have an acre before, I don’t miss mowing the lawn, but what I do miss is a compost pile as we had so many areas in the garden that we could hide it. I used all the leaves I picked up on my tractor, plus a lot of kitchen scraps, eggshells, coffee grinds etc and surrounded it with chicken wire. It was fab after 8 months. I hope your tomatoes do ripen in time for you to enjoy them before the cold weather sets in.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Loretta,
    Thank you so much for this informative post. I am bookmarking it for my garden next year. You have truly created a getaway in your own yard! I love sitting and dining on the patio in my yard and want to add some more flowers next year.
    The back yard has shade so will have to look for perennials that will do well there.This summer has been super busy. So hoping to relax in the fall.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you found it informative Sandhya. If you’re looking for shade perennials with some sun, I’d suggest hydrangeas, they like morning sun the best. Also azaleas can take some sun but like the shade too. Astilbee love the shade. Hostas and ferns always do well in the shade. I’ll pass suggestions onto you as I think of them. In the meantime, happy gardening 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judi. Yes, when I ran out of space to showcase my summer flowers, I resorted to pots as I just love a splash of color all summer long. The bunnies were a menace this year, but I had recently read about Irish spring soap and how to deter them. It has worked. I grated some Irish spring soap around the plants that they love and oddly enough, I don’t see many visit my garden now 🙂 They’re cute if they just sit around 🙂


    1. Thanks so much Tracey. What a lovely surprise to see you here on my blog’s site. Love your garden and back space too. What an idyllic setting you have! 🙂 Happy Labor Day weekend.


    1. Thanks Karen…. well that was taken a few weeks ago when the weather wasn’t so hot and humid. We’re going through some awful weather right now and everything is not looking as good. This heat and humidity has to quit soon, it is September 🙂 I hope you’ve had a good Labor Day weekend.


  4. It’s fun to see your gardens! Love the tip about phox – I have alot ot it in a little back area where it just seeds and produces different colored flowers. It’s always fun to see what comes up every year! It might be too late to cut it but I’ll remember that for next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mollie. Yes, phlox can get pretty invasive as it scatters seeds all over, but I rather like the disheveled look at times 🙂 it creates more of an English cottage garden look which is what I strive for. Love having a travel and garden section on the blog, it seems I can just go on and on. Love all your tips and tricks on your cooking site. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Gardening is most certainly cheaper (and better) than therapy. Such a wonderful garden you have. Your Astilbe are beautiful and that color. I’ve only seen white and red Astilbe here. It’s all containers for our patio garden. But having had a large perennial flower garden and veggie garden prior to moving from the US, I can certainly see the love and work that’s gone into your garden. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks again Ron. Where did you move from? You’re absolutely right, patio gardening is the way to go these days. We downsized from an acre lot and I find this a lot more manageable, especially the older I get. Would love a peek into your garden too. 🙂


    1. So happy you stopped by to take a walk in the flower garden Balvinder. it really gives me tons of joy. How I wish I had extra space and sunlight to plant veggies though. I do have a few herbs in containers, but that’s about it.


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