Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sitting In The Garden

Susans with Ninebark Diablo

I have several lovely spots for sitting and enjoying the garden...

Waiting Bench

I hope you know, you are always welcome to have a seat.

You might like the Waiting Bench at the top of the Susan's Garden.

It's a bright sunny spot with a view of the Susans and their friends.

It's a favorite spot to see what's going on in the garden and to spot visitors.
Lantana is a constant bloomer and always attracts butterflies.
It's planted in a tall container that sits among the Susans.
Native plants like Joe Pye weed are happy to share the space

with Chocolate eupatorium, earlier blooming and now faded German Iris and Purple Coneflowers, Gray Owl Juniper and the ever present Susans (Rudbeckia hirta). The summer temperatures have returned and Eupatoroium always pouts in the afternoon... This pretty sweet pea, Lathyrus latifolius showed up last year and no matter how often I pull it out, it comes back! It's pretty, too bad it hasn't any fragrance and is a thug!

It's easy to see the Susans and think "Is that all there is!"

There is much more going on out there than yellow!
Take this beautiful sedum, Garnet Brocade. My current favorite!
According to PDN she's From Germany's Innovaplant, and originated as a cross of Sedum telephium 'Munstead Dark Red' x S. spectabile 'Carmen'. I think she's delightful with her red stems and silvery purple leaves. Do enlarge the photo to see what I mean. What I've not shown are the Little Bluestem grasses and panicums that are growing nearby and compliment the rich colors.

It's a really lovely spot.

But, please don't expect me to join you on the bench for any length of time!

This has nothing to do with the joke that gardeners often tell on ourselves...
You know the one I'm referring to~~
When we laugh and share,
how we can't sit for a minute
without jumping up to weed, water or finish a chore.


I really would love nothing more then to sit in the shade of one of those great shag bark hickories or oaks
that populate the front and back gardens and read a book. Sigh.

The real problem here,
is that from the first warm days to the first fall frost,

this garden is owned by mosquitoes. Spring in The Garden of Benign Neglect

I love the patio and the Garden of Benign Neglect!
But, haven't sat out there since spring
when the Phlox pilosa and Lunaria annua was in bloom.

There is no time of day that is safe from them!
Unless you want to suit up head to toe in a long sleeved shirt and long pants tucked into your socks, then spray yourself with insecticide, you won't be sitting in the garden either!

Which is a gosh darn shame when there are really nice places to sit!

But do please feel welcome to join me on the screened porch anytime for a cold drink and conversation!



  1. I can vouch for the mosquitoes, folks. A haz mat suit is necessary to be safe from the bites, even for those of us who consume vast quantities of garlic which normally works well as an insect repellent. Not at Gail's though. BUT the screened porch is pure heaven. :-)
    love the sedum

  2. Love the bench photos, very artistic! I also have rudbeckia near my ninebark Diablo (I love those!), but it's fair to say I have rudbeckia a lot of places. Though next to my chocolate eupatorium are echinacea. Man, now I'm hungry. I better sit down on the bench! :)

  3. That ninebark will one day be in my garden! Not yours but one like it. I tried some cuttings that died while I was away for a week. You're right about sitting in the garden. I don't think I could. As much as I want to sit and enjoy things I always see something that needs tending. Try some lemon balm for those mosquitoes. If you crush a leaf on your skin the mosquitoes should stay away. This spring and summer has been a mad one for us and a good one for the blood suckers.

  4. Hi Gail, I know what you mean about the mosquitoes driving you out of your own garden. Frustrating!

    Love the Garnet Brocade sedum. I will look for that one.

  5. There's nothing like a screened porch in summer, Gail. Except for maybe a screened porch in spring and fall! I love them in all seasons. Enjoy yours.

  6. Hi Gail, I will be right over to join you in a cool drink. *grin*

  7. Mosquitos... I had a lot of them in my previous life, but not now. Got a wasp(or bee) sting yesterday although! Your garden looks lovely Gail! As for that bench, I bet you can sit there with a cup of hot chocolate in winter - no bugs and nothing to weed.
    Love your Joe Pie weed. Do you stake it?

  8. Hi Gail,
    I'd love to come sit for spell on the bench surrounded by your Susans! They are a favorite of mine. I always enjoy seeing pictures from your garden. Your garden seems to have a beautiful and natural flow to it.
    I thought you might be interested in my first giveaway, it's a toad abode.Come take a peek :)

  9. A screened porch would definitely be in order this year. I cannot believe how voracious the little buggers are! Hopefully they'll be gone soon. Your garden looks great.

  10. Love the Susans, and we have so many here that just keep on coming back and requiring no care! Which reminds me that we have no problem sitting out on our deck in a state of benevolent collapse with the chile lights on, just enjoying the view and the goldfinches and butterflies. We have mosquitoes here too, alas, but not so many that you can't just ignore (or smack) them. Maybe it has something to do with the constant breeze. But I still think a screened porch would be lovely!

  11. Your Waiting Bench is a lovely spot. Too bad only the mosquitoes get to enjoy it. I think I will join you on the screened porch for a lovely glass of iced tea. Thanks!

  12. I live near two small ponds, and it's so hot here (summer, ya know) that the only time I get much done is around dusk. When I spray water. In shorts. I have bug bites in places I'd prefer you not know about--first time ever for that.

  13. I live near two small ponds, and it's so hot here (summer, ya know) that the only time I get much done is around dusk. When I spray water. In shorts. I have bug bites in places I'd prefer you not know about--first time ever for that.

  14. Gail,
    I love the vignettes around your favorite sitting places. That sedum is one that I must look into -- for inside the fence as deer will eat the tall sedum (darn).

    We don't live in the woods, so we grow full sun plants that we believe keep us from having mosquitoes or flies-- nepeta, lavender, rosemary, basil. We have literally swarms of damselflies and dragonflies that devour mosquitoes, along with our frogs.

    Thanks for the look into your favorite spaces.


  15. Sometimes just SEEING a bench in a garden makes me feel more rested...thinking of the possibilities. I have to sink down into a deep hammock that blocks my view if I want to get any reading done, though.

  16. Ninebark with Blackeyed Susan is a stunning combination! Have you seen Ninebark "Coppertina?" It looks like it sounds, with gorgeous beige-pink blooms in spring that drive the bees to pollen gluttony!

  17. Oh Gail, I hear you about those mosquitoes. I am so covered with bites. I tell myself I'm only going outside for a minute so I don't need to spray myself but, well you know how it goes once you're outside. How hard would it be for you to run some electricity out to your bench? You could then set up a big fan and laugh at the mosquitoes!

    On to your garden - I still can't get over how lovely your waiting bench is. Also, I do like that Sedum. And all the color combos. Although you can't hang out back there, I'm sure your view from your screened in porch is great!

  18. That is too bad about the mosquitoes! Your garden is so pretty it should definitely be enjoyed!

  19. If I ever make it to Nashville one of these days, I will take you up on your offer, Gail! But just when I thought those benches looked so inviting, you mentioned the mosquitos--the screen porch definitely sounds like the place to be; mosquitos find me very sweet:)

    "Garnet Brocade" is a beauty; I will have to look for this one! My Susans are now blooming, too; except I mistakenly planted them behind taller plants:)

  20. Dear Gail.....I would love to sit amongst the susans. Such a romantic garden.......the seat is just perfect.

    The sedum is lovely...one I am not familiar with.

    I used to have a problem with mosi's. Many years ago my father in law told me that when he was in India during the war the only things they used to deter them was Pond's cold cream. Since I have used that I do not have a problem. It does get rather expensive though......the pots are only small here so I soon run out...but I would do anything to be able to sit in my garden......

  21. What a shame about the mosquitoes. I can see that sipping a cool drink while dressed as a bee keeper would be a little uncomfortable! Lucky you have the covered porch so you can enjoy your garden.

  22. Gail,
    Same deal here in paradise, but add chiggers or as some people call them no see-ums. Lovely garden I'd brave the bugs for a short stay. We have a screened in porch too!

  23. I like screened porches almost more than anything connected with a yard and gardens and yours looks very welcoming. Nice seeing your shag bark hickories. We had lots and lots of them when we moved to this house, all of them up close to the house. That wasn't good...hickory nuts galore(without the nuts thanks to the squirrels). It was a mess. One by one they came down and now there are only a couple left in the natural areas. I like your Joe Pye weed and so do butterflies. If I sat on your waiting bench, it would be hard to get rid of me. It's all so lovely that I'd want to stay forever.

  24. That sedum is handsome. I can see why it is your current favorite. The mosquitoes and heat keep me inside this time of year. UGH... Your garden is so pretty it deserves at least a stroll through daily.

  25. Gail -- Those are lovely places to rest and reflect on your beautiful garden. If you stay in the burning hot sun here there are no mosquitos -- some trade-off, huh?! And sometimes, you do just have to fumigate yourself and go be out there -- to work or to play or just to pontificate on your creations. (But not often!)

  26. What a shame that you can't enjoy the garden for the pests. They usually aren't too bad here except at dusk. I made the mistake of getting bit the other evening and my ankle is swollen and itchy. I react rather badly to bites.

    At least you have a lovely screened porch to enjoy the view!

  27. The Idea of places to sit is simply marvelous, even if it isn't practical. Here, there are perhaps two days of the whole year when sitting outside unprotected from one thing or another is feasible.
    That fact doesn't keep me from having places that look inviting, just in case.

    Thank you for the virtual tour and brief pauses to stop and take in the wonders.

  28. My friends, I often run out there to take just that one photo and end up spending half an hour unprotected!

    I have always supported the red cross but this is not what i had in mind!

    We are pretty fortunate to have many days in the fall and spring that are heavenly...and then there are are mild winter days...It balances out but in the middle of summer, it's easy to forget!


  29. I know how you feel - for a while this summer I enjoyed my garden from inside the house. It's an annoying garden conundrum: get enough rain for the garden & there's too many mosquitoes, it's too dry for the garden, but there's no mosquito problem. I'm going to have to look into Sedum 'Garnet Brocade.' It looks like a good one.

  30. I'm always saying that I'm going to spend more time just sitting in the garden. Of course, I rarely do that. Now it is too hot to be out there.

  31. I agree, it's a shame not to be able to be out in your lovely garden but I totally understand why you would not want to get eaten alive! I grew up combating mosquitoes (on the east coast) and now this summer have had another reminder since we've had the same problem. All this rain has produced an abundant crop of those pesky things which we don't usually have to worry about much. I've found myself indoors much more than normal (no screened porch to retreat to). I guess everything balances out ~ your mild winters and our (normally) mosquito free summers.
    btw, I shoot in portrait mode a lot because it blurs the background and just focuses on the subject. In those purple stocking monarda photos, there was an evergreen in the background but because of the light, shooting mode, etc., the background appeared black. Cool, huh?

  32. Everything is so beautiful....girl I hear you loud and clear about the mosquitoes!!!!! Please drop by and see if you are the nutty gardener that sent me the mixed seeds last winter.......I sure blamed you!! Maybe you know the ID of the plant in question regardless..

  33. My husband wants to get benches. What for? I ask him. lol (Although I *would* like benches in the garden.) Whenever I'm in the garden I'm always doing something, because there's always something to do! And unfortunately, mosquitos are tortuous in the evening this time of year.

    Your garden is looking lovely. That's a beautiful shot of the Garden of Benign Neglect.

  34. Sweetbay, Get the benches! They will look wonderful in your delightful garden! Come this winter on a nice day won't they be a great place to sit! gail

  35. Gosh, Gail, I had no idea. How do you work in your garden with the mosquitoes? When mosquitoes or heat are on the menu, I'll take heat anytime. BTW, it's cooler, and we got some rain.~~Dee

  36. Danged mosquitoes! Why can't they be wiped out by some pestilential virus? A pox upon them, I say! And shut that door to the porch before any of them get in!

  37. Gail,
    Your garden looks totally wonderful with its peak summer flowers. And the seating areas are delightful.

    I'm afraid I'm not doing much sitting around in the garden , either, because of those darn Asian mosquitoes. The native mosquitoes are bad enough - but the Asian ones. Yikes. I thought I was a giant blood meal the other day...
    Fortunately, our porch is high enough up for a nice breeze to keep them away!


  38. What a gorgeous garden...I am so sorry about those pesky mosquitoes. Kim

  39. Nice sitting areas.
    So I'm not the only one who has a hard time sitting still in the garden without getting up and pulling weeds or deadheading.
    The mosquitoes are troublesome this year and I have lots of bites to prove it.

  40. The susans are great, Gail! And at least with a bench in the garden, we can think about how nice it would be to sit and relax, while we're really busy weeding or transplanting or something.

  41. Lovely, lovely garden of Benign Neglect. Benches look so inviting. Sorry about the pesky bugs. Have you tried the plant that is supposed to keep the bugs at bay?
    I could sit for hrs. but my system doesn't like the bugs.
    Avon Skin So Soft is supposed to work too. Hunters use it around here. Also if you rub a bounce sheet all over the bugs don't bite.

  42. LOa, I will have to give your suggestions and Dave's with the Lemon Balm a try! I really don't like the heavy duty bug spray. Thanks, gail

  43. You are a good candidate for the new clip-on Off mosquito repellent I have seen being advertised lately.
    Take good care of yourself.

  44. When I went to Tassajara last spring, they had this very nifty umrella with an attached mosquito net. It really worked! (just a thought....)

  45. Gail, we seem to have the same Problem (with a capital P)! With the onset of the monsoons, my garden is Mosquito-land. Anyone who steps out is followed by a cloud of mossies who seem to be deciding which is the tenderest spot to land on and feast :P
    Which is a real pity because the monsoons are when my garden looks its best.
    I wonder whether you can get an army of frogs and dragonflies to get rid of the mosquitoes? What a shame to have such a beautiful spot to sit in your garden and then not be able to use it.


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson