Thursday, August 27, 2015

Purple Garden, White Garden

After coming down off of last week's post about Botanist Peter Goldblatt's garden, this all seems rather unexciting. Still, I press on, documenting my own garden throughout the year. I've already covered several of my color-themed borders here at Chickadee Gardens such as the yellow, blue, orange, and chocolate gardens. This week let's take a look at the cool and shady white border and also the hot, dry purple and silver border.

The white garden is on the north side of a fence in the backyard and features a fairly large gala apple tree, a Viburnum opulus var. americanum, two hydrangeas and a pieris. Pictured here is native Oxalis oregana, a Japanese painted fern, native maidenhair fern, a hosta that has not taken off as expected and, on the far left, a native Spiraea betulifolia. This photo was taken late spring and I include it now to show off the white blossoms of the spiraea. Polypodium pleianthum at the top.


Hydrangea quercifolia or oakleaf hydrangea in the foreground, Hydrangea macrophylla 'Mariessii Variegata' with the blue flowers. When it comes to staying power in these dry times on the West Coast, the oakleaf has all other hydrangeas beat by a long shot. This photo is from June.


Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' - black mondo grass, Oxalis oregana on the right, Sedum spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco', Carex conica 'Snowline' on the left. I have three of these and love them for their evergreen nature and ability to brighten up the shade. The black mondo grass is wonderful, and I'm beginning to believe it's worth its high price as it spreads in clumps so wonderfully and is evergreen, too.


Hydrangea and astilbe love.


Astilbe, maybe 'Deutschland'. A great plant but it did fry in this heat. This photo is from June.


A wider shot of the grouping.


Carex conica 'Snowline' again in the foreground. Tiarella trifoliata on the left is a sweet native woodland plant that is also evergreen and a winner for me.


Closeup of Spiraea betulifolia blossoms from earlier this summer.


Closeup of Physocarpus capitatus, our native ninebark. This is also from earlier this summer.


Purple and Silver:
On to the purple or perhaps silver border. This is situated in the back garden and is in hot, full sun. The end of the "peninsula," if you will, is all this border consists of. It gets sun pretty much all day.


While not everything is technically purple, the colors do harmonize. Pictured here is Armeria maritima, or sea thrift, with sedums and sempervivums.


Verbena bonariensis lends a tall, whispy quality to the back of the border.


Flower and foliage of a sweet potato vine. The darker foliage contrasts very well with the silver leaved plants such as the one pictured below.



Convolvulus cneorum or silver bush. I love this plant for its evergreen-ness. It is totally fine with little to no water. Just give it great drainage in the winter.


A broader look at my "cram-it style" of gardening. Hebe 'Quicksliver mingles with Armeria maritima, Aqueligia 'Black Barlow', sedums, fescue and others (wow, that's a lot of plants in a small area...what's wrong with me?)


Echinops ritro at an easy 6 feet high. THE favorite of bees all around, bumble and honey bees.


Penstemon serrulatus or Cascade penstemon, a native that can handle the wetter climate of the Pacific Northwest much better than the super-heat-loving ones. This has been a fairly trouble-free plant for me and one the bumble bees especially adore.


Pelargonium sidoides or South African geranium. It has been hardy for me with good drainage. These blooms just appeared, oh so late in the season.


A mix of a few plants - with a cast of the smoke-filled light due to all of the wildfires we've had in the West.


My first bloom of Salvia discolor. I really like this plant and did not know what to expect this summer. It's been very drought-tolerant as well as looking great. The blooms are a bonus.


Pictured here is its foliage with Festuca glauca 'Beyond Blue' poking its head up from the bottom of the photo. This fescue is the best I have come across, period.


Lovely sweet potato vine with Echinacea 'White Swan'.




The golden-colored foliage in back is Penstemon 'Husker Red' which starts out a deep purple foliage. In the middle is Hebe 'Quicksilver' and in the foreground bottom is Carex 'Frosty Curls'.

Both borders have suffered from our record-breaking heat and dry summer, but the silver/purple garden less-so as they are mostly drought-tolerant plants. The cooler white border, however, has required much more water, especially the lacecap hydrangea. I will not plant these again, but the oakleaf hydrangea or Hydrangea quercifolia has been a champ with little to no extra water. I've said it before: It's one of my top 10 favorite plants of all time. This summer was an experiment to see what did well and what won't make the cut for the next garden in my life. I have at the very least learned a lot - especially my tolerance for watering.


A bonus bee just for fun. I was in the garden this past weekend and spotted a flying insect I had never seen before (to my knowledge). I was lucky and got a couple of photos and identified it as a wool carder bee. Pictured here, he's, um, ahem, with a female. She's so much smaller than he is and I was surprised at how aggressively he found and landed on her. It turns out this is typical behavior for this species. He fends off all other flying insects when he finds a good flower source but will allow the female to hang out.


Here he is, rather large and intimidating, actually. Glad I got a photo.

There they all are, the color borders. The only one left to highlight is the pink border which is in the hell strip to the north of the blue border I featured earlier this summer. That is a post I shall save for springtime.

That's it for this week at Chickadee Gardens. As always, thank you for reading and commenting, and until next time, happy gardening!

22 comments :

  1. It was a mistake putting the Polypodium image first -- I didn't want to scroll down! ;)

    I love that you can't decide if the "Purple" border might be "Silver" :D

    That bee photo is wonderful -- nice job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hee hee...you're funny, Alan! I know, that darned plant is quite mesmerizing. I will say that right now it looks AWFUL, it's fried on many leaves and all opened up - I think the hot weather has taken its toll.

      Delete
  2. I love purple and white flowers...very cool feeling especially in the heat of summer! Your garden is looking lovely!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Purple and white...so lovely together! Thanks for the sweet comments, I feel like the garden is toasty fried and now wind-battered from yesterday's wind storm...but we press on showing only the "nice" photos...at least that's my m.o. !!

      Delete
  3. My oakleaf Hydrangea has also been a real champ this summer. I should consider planting another one. My garden has really suffered this year, and I'm going to completely redo one of my beds with more drought-tolerant plants.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! I'm glad to hear that. They are the best, and yes, I will always have at least one :) Sorry to hear and read about your suffering garden too...I think all of us could take a cue from Xera Plants, namely Greg Shepherd's garden and Loree, too.

      Delete
  4. Some lovely combos there! And if so want to run my fingers through the soft plumes of those Astilbe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you guys! The Astilbes are sooo soft and sweet when they're in bloom and it's not 103 degrees out there! Yikes! Kind of fried now but I won't show you those photos :)

      Delete
  5. Your plant combinations are wonderful. I've had good experiences with Festuca and Salvia discolor as well. As our drought and heat intensifies, I continue to experiment with new plant choices, as well as working the soil (berms are my new passion) and exploring new methods for getting plants established to handle drought conditions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kris! I really appreciate that coming from an amazing gardener as you are. Festuca and Salvia discolor...aren't they just great plants overall? I bet the salvia is hardy for you, too. I don't think it is here but I'll get it every year from now on if I have to. I love the idea of berms, that sounds like something I would like to try down the line. Let us know how the establishing of plants in drought times goes - and I hope you got some rain this weekend!

      Delete
  6. I always learn something and get inspiration reading your blog T! I am too shocked by how much that mondo grass is, but they do clump nicely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer, you are so kind. Thank you very much! The mondo grass - it's a conspiracy, I swear. But it is lovely....almost worth it !!

      Delete
  7. I'd been wondering how drought tolerant oakleaf hydrangea was in the PNW. Good to hear your positive experience. Pretty sure I need a few of those. :) My first Convulvulus cneorum died last winter when a gutter overflowed and flooded the area it was planted in. Clearly that was not "well-drained." My mondo grass is dying out this summer in a very dry bed. I need to move what's left to a shadier, moister location this fall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heya Evan! Happy belated birthday! Yes, the oakleaf is a champ. You DO need a few! They get great fall color when in more sun than what I have mine in. I have also lost a couple Convoluvus, but that's because I gave them poor drainage. I learned my lesson and these are doing great. Sorry about your mondo grass, I guess it does like some h2o after all.

      Delete
  8. Boring? Hardly! A tour of your garden is always a delight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) You're too kind, Miss Rickii - thank you :)

      Delete
  9. Wonderful, I saw so many unusual plants for me. Never saw a potatoe vine before, love the flower and the dark colour of the foliage. The combi of the Hydrangea and the Astilbe is almost too beautiful, have to try this combination too. I´m also fond of the Physocarpus flower close-up, a beauty. Alltogether I love this garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The potato vines are very popular here for hanging baskets and container plants. I hope you can find one, they are so lovely. They are usually in chartreuse colors but also in garnets, browns and purples. The hydrangea and astible are very happy together, by the way and would look wonderful in your beautiful garden I believe :)

      Delete
  10. Your 'Quicksilver' looks great. I can grow this in a container much better than in the garden -- just doesn't like my soil. That phrase "the next garden in my life" sounds like you're contemplating a move...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Denise. It's a champ, I love it a lot. Yes, you are quite perceptive....the husband (a.k.a. the Facilities Manager) and I are looking at properties...will keep everyone posted, to be sure :)

      Delete
  11. Your purple and white gardens are gorgeous and full of great texture contrasts and fab foliage! How exciting to be looking at properties & contemplating a new garden even though leaving an existing garden that you've loved is difficult, a new gardening adventure can be quite invigorating.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love that Japanese painted fern and the purple sweet potato vine. Great combinations all-round! As for the bee, well...at least he 'allows' her to share a meal with him afterwards? Kinda gentlemanly..maybe?

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comments! I love hearing them, I will approve comments as soon as I can. Yay!