Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Sun Lovers

Flowers are center stage right now at Chickadee Gardens. Despite the intense heat and record temperatures, most of the garden is holding up with some supplemental water. It seems all of the sun-loving flowers are all blooming at once setting off two areas I affectionately term the Labyrinth Garden and the Meadow Garden. From the beginning they were to be a bit loose with flowers and grasses that tend to reseed so as to achieve a naturalistic look. I notice plants are indeed filling in and a hint of the impact I was hoping for is beginning to come through. These gardens are farthest from the house, close to our neighboring fields, so the wilder look seems appropriate. Let's look around.


At the edge of the Labyrinth you begin to get a sense for what it might look like when it's completely filled in.


From a distance the patterns and textures begin to emerge (perspective is tricky here, it's a couple hundred feet from where I am standing to the house).



An array of hot-colored flowers mix and mingle down here.



As the paths get closer to the house, the color theme changes. In the distance you can see purples of Liatris and Echinacea purpurea and Mondarda 'Raspberry Wine', a gift from Mindy of the garden blog Rindy Mae, for example.



Found objects become art next to the Cotinus 'Pink Champagne' finally doing it's bubbly thing this year. From Xera Plants.


Oh, that color combination works for me.



Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' grass begins to spread out a little. Its airiness adds to the charm of this part of the garden which is not quite as wild as what we've seen so far. More regular plantings of Teucrium chamaedrys or germander, Artemesia 'Powis Castle' and some various evergreen shrubs make it feel more like a mixed garden bed rather than a meadow. This grass makes a nice transition plant as it's on the way to the less formal plantings.


Although some shy away from Chasmanthium latifolium or sea oats, I welcome its tendency to reseed. For now.


Here, Coreopsis 'Full Moon', a gift from garden blogger and writer Amy Campion, edges the Labyrinth. It plays well with the other brightly colored flowers. In the background, Stipa gigantea, a gift from another gardening friend adds height to the edge of the garden.



Grass seed head of Pennisetum spathiolatum. This was a gift from yet another garden blogger (blogger plant swaps are the best!) Scott of Rhone Street Gardens. It's a winner, I have two of these and would welcome many more.


General cheerfulness with the many Rudbeckia hirtas scattered about. I know a lot of gardeners shy away from these due to their, well, commonness but also their bright colors. I understand if you have limited space and wish to grow more interesting plants, but here I'm going for connection with the land and plants for pollinators. Almost everything in this part of the garden has been covered in bees all summer. No shortage here, especially of native bumble bees and many tiny bees hardly noticeable. The butterflies have been more abundant than I have ever seen them, too.




This centerpiece of the garden is no flowering perennial, rather it's Salix eleganos var. angustifolius commonly known as rosemary willow. A deciduous shrub/small tree, it has a silvery impact when blown by the breeze as the undersides of the leaves are quite light.




Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' was a throw-away at work last year. It is easily 7' tall and has so far required very little water.



Some Rudbeckia or another moved from the old garden...or maybe it was a seedling that showed up? In any event, the rich oranges fit right in.


I've shown this recently but it is worth repeating, Helenium 'Mardi Gras'. To me, even the spent flowers hold interest and I'll leave them, as I will most seed heads, for birds and for winter interest.



This sunflower is past its prime, but I like it all the same.


Zinnia 'Inca' from Select Seeds really delivered this year. Others not so much but these, wow. Big blooms, too.


This is Silphium perfoliatum or cup flower. Its presence in my garden is a bit of a mystery. I think it came from Anna of the blog Flutter and Hum by way of Alan of the blog It's Not Work, It's Gardening. In any event, it's easily 8' tall with large square stems. Poor thing was in limbo for so long I didn't know what it was. Finally this year it's happy in its new home and is blooming for me for the first time.


Delosperma 'Fire Spinner', another gift from a garden blogger's swap, I had taken for dead. The main clump was, but I had placed a teeny tiny other start in a different spot. To my amazement, it survived the winter from hell and so, I moved it. It's thriving here and as I've learned, likes a little summer water as they are from a part of Africa that receives summer rain.


A Gaillardia seedling - the mother plants are long gone but I've found a few seedlings this summer.



Honey bee coming in for a landing on one of the giganto sunflowers 'Gray Mammoth Stripe' at the back of the veggie garden. These monsters top out at 10', no kidding.



In a slightly more formal area closer to the house, soft mauves, whites and pinks prevail. Here, Acanthus spinosus settled in quite nicely with a Guara linderheimeri in the background. Both were gifts from garden bloggers. Are you seeing a pattern here?



These crazy towers are fascinating to me.


My original Echinops ritro from the old garden was left in place as it was huge and very well-established. I was a little bummed about leaving it, but I shouldn't have worried. It turns out that soil from the old garden, brought in with many other plants, had plenty of seeds. I had about 10 seedlings, but kept only two. This is the larger of the two, left in place where it wants to grow.


White on white. Two Achilleas - Achillea millefolium and closer to the camera, Achillea ptarmica 'Angel's Breath'. The latter would make a lovely substitute for baby's breath in flower arrangements.


I adore this plant, Calluna vulgaris 'Velvet Fascination'. I have three and they are so happy in this garden. I wish I had many more, but I have not seen them offered anywhere. They were originally from Little Prince of Oregon, purchased at my then local Fred Meyer grocery store.



I love it so much it gets two photos this week.


Seed heads of Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue'.



Looking east through the Labyrinth garden, towards Facilities Manager and the veggie garden gate. 



From basically that same spot, looking west towards the setting sun.


Seeds of foxtail lily or Eremurus ssp.


Rose hips from Rosa glauca.


A shrub that is repeated in this part of the garden, Ozothamnus hookeri 'Sussex Silver' looks good year-round.



Here's my river of Sedum 'Matrona'. They are just beginning to bloom and will play host to many bees who can't resist.


So, a while back I posted a seedling that was a mystery to me. Many thought it was Catananche or cupid's dart, but lo and behold, it's not. I still don't know what it is, but it's kind of cool. I left it to grow in place for now as it helps cover the soil. Please chime in if you know.


Another throw away from work, Zauschneria 'Solidarity Pink' is surprisingly pretty and quite happy at the very edge of this:



The very edge of the Labyrinth/Meadow gardens. I thought it would be nice spilling over the edge. I present this photo to illustrate how things are really filling in, despite the ugly drop off. Although difficult to see, there are many prostrate rosemary plants in there, hoping that they will spill over the edge in time and help cover it up, along with perennials such as the Zauschneria mentioned above.


From the other direction.


The soft green fluffy things in the middle are the mystery plant formerly thought to be cupid's dart.


And there they are on the right. I love this photo, it captures the atmosphere of this part of the garden.




Verbena bonariensis sends up one of many flower stalks in this part of the garden.

I am humbled every time I walk though the garden, especially now when everything is in full bloom. Plants that I transplanted hastily last fall are growing and thriving. Wildflowers I sowed last year continue to add color. Things are filling in and will continue to change as the years go by.  It's a beautiful place to be in the middle of, to observe the thousands of pollinators and soak up a little summer sun. It makes me feel like I'm finally home.

That's it for this week at Chickadee Gardens. As always thank you for reading and commenting and, of course, happy gardening to one and all!


25 comments :

  1. You can be proud of the result of your hard work when you started the garden. I have been a long time off from the blog and for the first time here again, what a surprising change. Vivid colours everywhere, it looks really great.
    Have a nice weekend with happy gardening in your created paradise!

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    1. Aw, Janneke, thank you. You have been off blogging for a while, it was a treat to see your name pop up today! Have a wonderful weekend also, Janneke :)

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  2. Anonymous6:49 AM PDT

    Your gardens are lovely. I can't believe what you've achieved in such a short amount of time.
    Melanie from Ohio

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    1. Thank you Melanie! Thank you for reading and for commenting. We are determined to create the garden we've always wanted, so I suppose it's partly done with motivation and a lot of luck and Mother Nature smiling on us.

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  3. You seem to have an instinct for the plants that want to grow in your new home. It all looks so relaxed and....inevitable already. No idea on the mystery plant, but I share your enthusiasm for that calluna!

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    1. Thank you Denise. I'm glad it reads as relaxed, that's what we are going for. And oh...that Calluna...I wish you could see it in person. If you ever find one, buy it! Maybe I can propagate these! Hmmm....

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  4. Hi T ~ I love that we are growing several similar plants..for the same reason..Pollinators! Things are progressing so nicely. I'm imagining the meadow-y feel of how it must look in person. Bravo to all of your hard work & efforts.

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    1. Yay pollinators! Isn't it amazing - the sheer number of wings you see every day? Amazing. Thanks for your sweet words, I hope you can come out some time and see it in person again.

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  5. Great pictures! It's amazing how your gardens have filled out in such a short period of time. I love the picture of all the yellow and orange flowers with your orange umbrellas in the background. Happy Gardening!

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    1. Hi Joanna, thank you so much for reading and for commenting! I'm thrilled you like the picture you mention, and happy gardening to you too!

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  6. I know I've made the comment before but it's utterly remarkable what progress you've made in developing this garden in such a short time. It's a truly wonderful space!

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    1. I love hearing it, it's motivation, Kris. Thank you thank you! It's getting there...! Step by step...

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  7. What a lovely garden!A beautiful place to live...Amazing!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Louca. We love it here, for sure!

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  8. I'm just stunned every time you show your new garden. It is filling in nicely. I really am curious how often you water it all, and how. With sprinklers? On a timer?

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    1. Aw, thanks Alison. Well, watering - as I keep adding plants (silly me), I water those in well - and often in this heat (every 3 days or so). If it weren't for those, I'd say I water most areas thoroughly once a week in summer. Some less (Ceanothus, Arctostaphylos, hardly any water after they are established). Facilities Manager uses a fixed or stationary sprinkler, I of course take the path of difficulty, hand watering.

      We have hydrangeas (most were inherited), those are big babies and need water often. It's a double-edged sword - as it's either a deluge or drought, so we have some of each kind of plant here, it seems.

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  9. So many blooms! It looks wonderful! I like Chasmanthium, too. Mine is blooming a little sparsely this year. Things in that bed seem to be settling in more slowly than anticipated. That heather is great. I'd grow it in my garden if I found it. Give them a few years and they'll layer themselves and you can separate those layered branches for as many plants as you want! The prostrate rosemary will look great spilling over that bank!

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    1. Thank you Evan! And thank you for the Calluna advice - good to know. I'd love a BUNCH of this, it looks completely unfazed by whatever weather throws at them. I am excited to see what the rosemary does, I hope it lasts through the winter. Last year I lost about 8 of them, but they were in a really *really* wet area. My mistake.

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  10. So many beautiful blooms! I love that for many of these photos I felt like the perspective was down in the garden, with it, rather than looking down upon it. Best of all was one of your closing sentences: "It makes me feel like I'm finally home"

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    1. I see that now as I revisit the photos. I suppose that's just a natural reflex based on the feeling you get when you're out there.

      I hope you can come out one of these days, I'd love to get your read on it in person. Plus take some vegetables. Please.

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  11. I see someone else picked up on the color echoes with the umbrellas on your deck. Your artistic eye is at work in every scene. As Glinda said, "there's no place like home".

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    1. Aaah, you know - that umbrella color echo was not intentional. Just how it all works out, sometimes. You are too kind my friend!

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  12. Your garden is so cheerful looking with all of those bright yellows! Really beautiful!

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  13. Love, love, love. Everything is coming into its own. The rusty sphere is my favorite of all.

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