Summer Garden

Summer Garden

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Photos of beautiful gardens, stone...and a fence

City Garden The brick wall is a nice privacy feature and will be softened with vines of spring blooming Wisteria and fall blooming Sweet Autumn Clematis.  Perennials in the beds provide color in shades of gray blue, chartreuse and caramel, and texture through varied leaf sizes and shapes.  Perennial selections include Coralbells, Bergenia, Carex, Hosta, Sedum and Ferns.
City Garden Container Although shown during a short sunny part of the day, this container spends most of its day in the shade.  The Alocasia (Elephant Ear type tropical plant), Lysmachia and Impatiens in the container will be replaced each year, but the moss groundcover below will remain.

City Garden View from arbor covered deck to the children's sandbox. The sedum should do well next to the sandbox if it can withstand some foot traffic...we'll see.

Planting to complement the architecture.  This beautiful home shouldn't have to compete with the landscape.  Its clean lines are enhanced by the layered plant groupings in shades of green.  There is a touch of contrast in color with the Forest Pansy Redbud's purple leaves.  The other plants shown are Hakone Grass, Lavender, Boxwood, and Hydrangea Incrediball.
 Backyard Shades of Green This plant border serves as both screen and beautiful view.  The Viburnum, Amsonia, Ligularia, Carex, Hosta and Vinca provide a low maintentaince fence alternative.  The plants will grow and fill in over the years to come.

Stone Path These flagstone steppers provide a path through the garden into the lawn play area beyond.  A spring blooming Magnolia frames the view to Hydrangea Invincibelle Spirit.  Other plants include Sedum kamtschaticum, Amsonia Blue Ice, Caryopteris and Hosta Blue Angel.

 Bluestone Landing The new landing spans the front porch's full width.  Easy access to the driveway is provided with room to spare for containers of plants.  The landing matches a new front walk too, although friends and family are likely to use this side entry more often than the front public walk.

New + Old = Updated Look Existing hydrangeas and boxwood provide  a perfect foundation planting for the house and backdrop for new perennials.  Steel blue Panicum Northwind Grass will anchor the bed once it reaches its full height of 5' and two different varieties of Amsonia, Sedum and Allium Summer Beauty will provide seasonal color and texture.  Another low maintenance combo.

The Fence Sometimes only a fence will do when space is tight and views really need to be hidden.  This fence is actually eight fence sections with a lattice detail on top.  The sections at each end are stepped down a foot to transition to open area making the fence feel more like a screen than a fence.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Annuals & Perennials Attractive to Butterflies

Annuals & Perennials
Attractive to Butterflies


Annuals-for use in containers or beds

Annuals will tend to have more blooms than perennials, but only last one season.
Mexican Sunflower
Fennel ‘Bronze’

Perennials-for use in containers or beds

Perennials can be moved from containers into beds at the end of season where they may continue to grow year after year.

Asclepias tuberosa
Asclepias incarnata
Black-Eyed Susan/Rudbeckia
Butterfly Bush –dwarf varieties
Heuchera/Coral Bells
Heliopsis helianthoides
Ligularia ‘Bottle Rocket’
Little Bluestem -grass
Prairie Dropseed -grass
Purple Coneflower
Russian Sage


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Noxious Weeds

Most weeds can be controlled by pulling or hoeing when just emerging.  A very few are so persistent and have such extensive rhizomes that chemical control is required to get rid of them.*  It's best to avoid herbicide and insecticide use when possible, but these products may be applied with care to tackle a specific problem when you think it's necessary.

Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide used to kill these three weed types.  It is widely available as Roundup.  All chemicals should be applied according to product guidelines.

The 3 weeds to look for:
Canadian Thistle

Canadian Thistle

Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense)  Because of the plants' extensive rhizomes, three to four applications may be needed.  Remove flowers and don't let this plant set seed as it is highly viable and carried easily by summer breezes.



Quackgrass (Elymus repens)  In a new planting area, eliminate this weed with one to two applications of glyphosate.  In established gardens, keep removing rhizomes as consistently as you can...even digging them out of perennial roots.

Field Bindweed

Field Bindweed


Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)  With its long growing season, twining stems up to 18' in length and creeping rhizomes, this spreading vine can consume any garden.  It is often introduced into gardens in the root ball of field-grown trees or shrubs.  In my experience, one spray application gets rid of this weed.

*My primary source for this post is The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden by Roy Diblik.  The next post will be 'Other weeds you should know' also inspired by and sourced from Roy's book.

Noted plantsman and designer Roy Diblik has spent more than 30 years studying, growing, and enjoying plants. Roy's recent work includes a planting of the new Oceanarium at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and a garden for the modern wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is best known as the plantsman behind Piet Oudolf's midwestern garden designs, including the Lurie Garden at Millennium Park in Chicago.