Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox

Monday, July 27, 2009

Through The Porch Doors Into The Wildflower Walkway

Every sunny spot in a shadier garden is an opportunity for a planting

We don't have a gate into the front gardens, but, the stairs from the porch are the best way to enter the wildflower gardens and get to the sunny Susan's Bed...As wonderful as those Susans are (I shall write about them later) today we're just going to hang around the Wildflower Walkway for Through The Garden Gate. TTGG is brought to you by Cindy who blogs at From My Corner Of Katy.
The porch gives me a view of all the front gardens ...(It's amazing all the weeds you can see through the screening!) It's quite green at this time of year in this mostly natives shady garden. Trying to get away from what Frances refers to as the small green leaf syndrome has been the task for the last several months. We've had plenty of rain so far this summer and it would have been a good year to add hostas. With their big leaves of bluish green, gold or even ghostly white, they would have gone a long way toward adding texture and variation to the mix? But, we can't count on adequate rainfall year after year; so they didn't make it into the garden. There are still a few I planted 15 years ago whose fortunes wax and wane on the rainfall ...but they never flower anymore. Native plants make sense here and native friendly exotics are also welcome~~ If they don't have thug like qualities and can take sitting in clay soil during our wet winters.

~~Let me digress~~We could name this garden~~Invasives Are Us~~It has more then its fair share of exotic invasives like bush honeysuckle (here for story) and the notorious Vincas major and minor (here to join the special Mission Forces ). Consequently, I am darned careful about what I will plant...I say this knowing full well, that I voluntarily planted plants that have proven to be thugs~ one is a popular miscanthus that has since been removed, but continues to sprout seedlings all over the garden!~~

Dominating the skyline is a tall canopy of hardwoods including oak, shagbark hickory and hackberry. Although, they have been limbed up to let in as much light as possible, they still keep the gardens shady and dry! They effectively block any gentle rains falling and then their roots gobble up what does penetrate the tree leaves. So, on top of wet winters~~we have dry shade in the summers. You can see why we choose natives here at C&L~~they cooperate so well with the conditions we are stuck blessed with.

The Wildflower Walkway is bordered by beds that overflow with spring ephemerals (here for photos) and native plants.
To the left are oakleaf hydrangeas that have turned a becoming pink as they age. They are underplanted with Christmas ferns, evergreen Phlox divaricatas, Geranium maculatum 'Espresso', bulbs and heuchera. At the sunnier end

in bloom now are Phlox paniculata 'Laura' and P paniculata spps, one magnificent Green Dragon/ Arisaema dracontium still stands tall as it also goes to seed

and Cutleaf coneflower towering 5 or 6 feet into the air.


On the other side of the walkway is a mixture of native and non native perennials and shrubs. Several witch hazels lighten up the garden during the late fall and early winter.

This bed is still under deconstruction~much of the River Oats and Japanese Anemone have been removed and this fall 'River Mist' River Oats (here) will move in. River Mist is a variegated native grass that will help with the SLS (small leaf syndrome) mentioned earlier. I already love this River Oats and hope it comes true from seed.

Heucheras have also been a boon to the beds improved looks...both the burgundy heucheras and the green leaved Heucher villosa 'Autumn Bride' have been here all along, but more has been added this summer and it is beginning to help with the intense greenery that abounds.
...and where ever there is a bit of sun peaking in through the tree limbs we add a container of Lantana and other annuals for color.
Here Lantana graces the sunny rock wall in front of Autumn Bride and brings on the Swallowtails!
Isn't she/he fantastic!

I promise to show you follow-up photos of the bed as I deconstruct and reconstruct it!
In the meantime...Here's a view of the porch from the Susan's bed!
You have to love yellow to appreciate The Susan at C&L!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day and I'll see you at your blog!

Gail

49 comments:

  1. OMG a REAL screened-porch!!! WOW! Your cutleaf coneflower is so pretty its height must be doubly impressive in person. Great photos of the swallowtail. I swear I'm going to get some butterfly pictures this year, even if it means running blindly around the pasture in search of their vanishing trail.

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  2. Good morning Gail. What a pick me up to see the view from your welcoming porch. That stretch of walkway is the most wonderful of areas, and you seem to be making it even more spectacular. Thanks for the link love, too my friend.

    Frances
    a woman without her email

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  3. Good morning Gail, Don't we envy what we don't have? I look forward to having some shade (though not too dry I hope). Your walkway is great! Love the big flat stones. The Susans meadow looks wonderful. I imagine there is lots of butterfly activity there as well as birds looking for seeds! My Green Coneflower is all mildewy now. :-( Will wait until the seed heads are picked clean before I cut them back --- too much bird activity by the windows to do without!!

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  4. Lovely photos, Gail.
    We are going to have a pretty good bit of shade in the garden in a few years. But hopefully the trees won’t take all the water. With the exception of the Curly Willow all the other trees are considered understory.--Randy

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  5. Gail,

    Good morning! What a wonderful tour through the Wildflower Walkway (love the descriptive name).

    I enjoyed the stroll and introductions to your plant companions. We're always deconstructing and reconstructing aren't we? Look forward to seeing your next garden project documentary!

    Cheers,
    Cameron

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  6. Morning Gail, your garden is perfect. I hope to create something like that in a few years when I retire and have more time to plant and care for an extensive garden. It is odd but hydrangea don't do well here because of our frequent droughts. On the other hand, hosta do very well. Maybe it's because my hosta don't have as many tree roots to contend with. They were only watered once or twice during out record breaking drought of 2005.
    Marnie

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  7. Gail, I think you've done such a wonderful job planting for the conditions you were stuck--er, blessed--with. I love the sea of Susans, and when the natives are all in bloom, it must be heavenly! Beautiful photo of the swallowtail; I'm sure the butterflies appreciate all the natives you have.

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  8. What a great tour. The view from your porch is fantastic. I bet you spend a lot of time there. I was nodding in agreement when you talked about plants you should have added since we've had good rain this year. I always do that too but I guess we can never predict when we will have a dry year vs. wet year and it is usually dry so I guess we've become familiar with that. Oh lord, the vinca! It was on our property when we moved in and I think we are still battling it.

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  9. Gail, it was great to see your front garden and your screened porch. I love your house...I miss you!

    xxoo Lynn

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  10. Simply luscious Gail. I love the term Small Leaf Syndrome. Will have to tell Francis.~~Dee

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  11. Everything looks great, Gail! You do a fantastic job of taking the natural conditions of your property and encouraging them to flourish with wise plant choices.

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  12. What a nice walk, thanks! I love the oakleaf hydrangea; something I've been meaning to add for some time. Actinidia is next, though...

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  13. Through the porch door is marvelous. You are getting quite a collection of leaves other than green and it is beginning to show. I too have to deal with that. I have some hostas with white edges or limey green edges. I don't think we get as dry and hot for as long as your area does. I also supplement with some watering when needed. I haven't had to do much watering this year. Hasn't it been nice??!! Cheers.

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  14. What a lovely tour of your garden, Gail! You have such a good eye for putting things together, and it's a treat to see how it all works. Once again you're ahead of me, bloom wise, with so many things, but it's fun to see them and to anticipate what is to come here.

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  15. I just love your porch Gail. The Susans are a bonus. Yellow rocks!

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  16. Your Susan's look great! Ours are suffering from powdery mildew because of all this moisture. It's been great to have the rain but I'm beginning to wonder if I can mow the grass before the children get lost forever! Love the Oak leaf hydrangea and the heucheras!

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  17. What a lovely view from your porch. An interesting post and lovely garden.

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  18. It does have that natural feel to it. I love it. Your call them plant thugs...(the invasive ones)...I call them garden bully's..

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  19. Dear friends, I am so glad you stopped by...just wanted to let you know my hand is still out of commission! Boy is it a pain;) trying t type one handed...I will know more about what's going on at the end of the week! gail

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  20. It's a fine line between a vigorous, low-care garden plant that spreads enough to save the wallet thanks to dividing, and an invasive one. I guess we all figure out a few of them by trial and error in our own gardens.

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  21. Gail, my goodness, what loveliness you have surrounding you! I could go on and on about each and every photo, but let me say that I enjoyed this tour through your garden gate very much!

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  22. Hey there little girl, you have a LOT more shade than I thought you did. So... no wonder we have a lot in common! ;-) Your Tennessee Coneflowers are just now beginning to "take off." I'll take a photo soon. (They're not tall, yet... but they look like coneflowers!) Yea and thanks.

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  23. I DO love yellow, and I adore your Susans, Gail. I really enjoyed your garden walk today and feel like I got a good overall picture of your gardens.

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  24. All of those Susans looks spectacular! Your Cut-Leaf Rudbeckia has rounder petals and richer coloring than the one that grows wild on our farm. It's beautiful. Great capture of the Swallowtail too.

    Thank you for the lovely tour!

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  25. I join with everyone else in loving the tour Gail. You're so thoughtful about your garden plantings. I admire that. The view from your screened porch is so lovely. I bet you sit out there a lot??? I think I would start every day there with my coffee (especially this year so I could also escape our voracious mosquitos!) The natives make your garden unique but it's just as spectacular in every way.

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  26. Thanks for the tour, Gail! Ah, tell me about the thugs. I've been battling a Persicaria all year. Whatever got into me to plant it? Well, the Web site said it was not invasive. And I believed it...

    Your garden looks so inviting, and I especially like the Heuchera. Mine all look a bit crispy, and are looking forward to rain in a few months.

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  27. Gail girl ... you live in such a gorgeous get-a-way in your little plant kingdom !
    Butteryfly pictures are your forte girl !!
    Love all the pictures and you have reminded me I have to move my Herbstonne Rudbeckia next year for sure ;-)

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  28. I do indeed love yellow - what a wonderful sight. Thanks for sharing!

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  29. Your screened porch looks like a lovely spot to sit and enjoy the view. :) All that greenery is so soothing to the eye in the heat of summer. Your choice of Natives & Exotic friendlies has made C & L a lovely destination.

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  30. How wonderful it must be to sit on your screened porch sipping a cold drink, enjoying the view....sigh. To combat the little green leaf syndrome, you should try the native Spikenard (Aralia racemosa). Big green leaves and able to take dryness & full shade. I would also recommend that you plant Hostas. They are surprisingly drought tolerant, even though they perform better with more moisture.
    I love the cutleaf coneflower with its green eye, but I imagine it is best appreciated from a distance or from a ladder.

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  31. Catching up after a long weekend at the lake and can't think of a lovelier way to spend a lazy morning than viewing your lovely garden, Gail. My Susans are very happy also. So sorry about your hand that sounds like my still painful garden ankle sprain that I keep re-injuring. Glad to see that you are able to photograph beautiful garden memories. (Love your porch ... I have one at the cottage that haunts me when I'm home)

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  32. While you are "blessed" with dry shade, I don't think you would prefer my dry sun! The house is new, and the trees are newly planted, so our south back yard is full sun all the time. I get tired of dragging a house around! I know, I should plant xeric plants, and I do, but so many flowers and trees are new, and need a little pampering at first. Enjoy your shade!

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  33. Hi Gail.....I am not a yellow bloom girl, but I will definately make an exception as far as the Susan's are concerned. What a fabulous display......

    I love your gardens Gail....they really are a credit to you...

    The swallowtail is a beautiful butterfly....I am glad he/she came to visit....summer would not be the same without butterflies.....

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  34. I always love walking through your gate so to speak. Don't fight the sight really speaks to you doesn't it? You know how I feel about the Susan's and their riotous color! They do look so sunny and cheerful in the Susan bed. Wish I were on the porch chatting it up.

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  35. Thanks for the tour Gail. It all looks so inviting. Love the view from the screen porch. It would be a favorite of mine.
    Sure hope your hand gets better soon. I know the pain.

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  36. Lovely catch of the swallowtail on lantana, Gail!

    Remember how cool it was to be on Pam/Digging's screened porch when you were here for '08 Spring Fling? I envied her that enclosed space but then she moved. I will now transfer the envy to you and your screened porch!

    Hope the hand improves so you can do what you want to.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  37. Boy! That rock walkway is to die for! Really pretty!

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  38. Gail, I hope you do find out what is going on with your hand!! I feel for you. :) The garden is you-simply sweet and nonpretentious. I love that you make the most of what you have. The natives look so happy there-thriving even. What a joy it must be to see them not only surviving the clay and limestone, but thriving.

    Thank you for the tour through the screen door. I would love to sit a spell and look out on your lovelies.

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  39. Totally lovely as usual!
    And, I'd love to visit your garden.
    Lisa

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  40. I love all your plants and flowers. It looks so beautiful there. I have that same cutleaf coneflower(-: It is pretty and does real well here in the heat(-: I have to water a lot everyday here in the Summer.

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  41. With all those difficult conditions, you've done an amazing job, Gail. Lovely coneflowers. And I love your porch and crazy paving too!

    have a great day!

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  42. Thanks for showing around your lovely garden so full of beautiful blooms.

    Shantana

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  43. Hope you feel better soon. I love the porch in addition to all the flowers.
    Donna

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  44. Oh, that wildflower walkway is just sublime! I do so want to visit C&L so I can see all its beauties (and its gardener) in person!

    Thanks for taking a look TTGG ... I'm tardy with my post for this week and I completely missed last week. I'd better get cracking!

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  45. Oh, Gail. I have to laugh at you and Frances - small green leaf syndrome! I have BIG green leaf syndrome in my garden. If it weren't for your advice to add more spring ephemerals, my garden's affliction would be pretty bad. Now, it's recovering nicely. :-)

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  46. I was playing games online however for reading this post more interesting thanks for the share please do keep it going great job....Loving this.

    Cheers,

    ___________________
    Julie
    Best place for your complete Internet marketing

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  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  48. I love your screened in porch and the beauty of your property. I'm sorry you have so many mosquitoes.

    Oh, and I hope your thumb is healing. I get tendonitis in my feet and ankles. When my kids were young, I used to get it in my wrists, and I don't know why I don't anymore. I hope blogging doesn't bring it to any other place.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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