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 🙂