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Last week I had to go to Newport, Rhode Island, for work, and although business travel isn’t high on the list of things I want to be doing in summer, it was a pleasure to be in such a beautiful city.
Before I left I gardened like a mad woman to get all the major jobs in the garden finished before I left. This meant pulling out as many weeds as could, mulching, planting everything still left in pots (and then I found another handful of plants sitting around). 
When I came home, I was rewarded by a garden that is looking as good as it ever has. Even though there isn’t much blooming right now—lady’s mantle, nepeta, a few clematis and a handful of other things—the foliage on all the plants is looking healthy comes in the widest variety of greens a person could imagine. 
I took advantage of the garden looking good last weekend to run and take a bunch of photos. It’s such a pleasure to be in a garden that doesn’t appear to be crying out for maintenance, even though we know there always weeds to be pulled, plants to be moved and planning to be done.
I’m so happy with the new garden area that I created last year. Here’s the view of it from near the garage.

The east side of the property has three arrowwood virburnums that I planted three or four years ago. Two winters ago they were decimated by deer, but I fenced them off last winter and now they are really flourishing and providing the screening we were looking. Sadly, I’ve just read that the viburnum leaf beetle has been spotted just 20 miles from us and their favorite thing to munch on (and usually kill within two to three year) is arrowwood viburnum. There’s not much to be done about it other than cross your fingers.

arrowwood viburnums
On the far end of that bed is a shadier area where ‘Tilt-a-whirl’ hosta and ligularia rule the roost.

Tilt-a-whirl hosta and ligularia

I’m growing a climbing hydrangea up the north side of the garage and even that is looking healthy although they are notoriously slow growers. I’m happy to see a few flowers even. I should add here, that you should think very carefully about growing a climbing hydrangea up your house or garage because they can really damage wood siding. Since our garage is pretty basic, I’m not worried.

Climbing hydrangea
The other side of the circle of grass in the side/back yard was modified a little last year and that too is looking pretty good. 

This patch of nepeta is kiddy corner to the patch I showed you above and it creates a great color echo in the yard.
nepeta and lady's mantle

This clematis (whose name I have forgotten but it has a label that I will check) is growing up the skirting on the deck.

I picked up some begonias on sale and planted them under the serviceberry tree and I couldn’t be happier with how that worked out.

Over the years I’ve come to learn just how adaptable most hostas are. I stuck this ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ in on the back side of the main garden and I love the contrast in texture.

Abiqua Drinking Gourd hosta
Nearby there were a few holes in the garden so I stuck in some petunias. Because there are taller plants around them, you can’t really see them until you get close to them an it’s a nice surprise. There’s also one of several caster bean plants in there that I put around the garden. I hope they take off soon, but we’ll need much warmer weather for that to happen.
Along the path to the garage this garden of blues, chartreuse and purple foliage plants is starting to come together.

On the other side of the house, the shade gardens have some filling out to so but so far they are looking OK.

In the distance you can see my first climbing hydrangea.

 Here’s a better view. It is nowhere near as impressive as my mom’s (which I showed you on Facebook the other day) but hopefully someday it will be.

This is the plant of the year, ‘Biokovo’ geranium.

 My little stone crane amongst the Egyptian walking onions.

 The annuals in the front patio bed are starting to come together.

And one last shot of my new Aralia ‘Silver Umbrella.’ The hosta (‘Elegans’, I think) keeps trying to eat it so I keep trimming off leaves.

 How’s your garden looking?

14 Responses

  1. Your gardens are so beautiful. I especially love the view looking up toward your deck with the two levels of terraced gardens. It is truly breathtaking and looks like a professionally done and maintained! Someone wrote above that the textures you have mixed together are wonderful, and I agree.
    This fall I am going to introduce some evergreens in my perennial beds. Being a rookie gardener, I have spent the past three years collecting, planting, and designing perennials plants, but all of my beds completely lack the anchoring structure of evergreens. It was not until my husband and I installed path lighting and spot lighting that I realized how desolate the garden beds look in the winter. I love the meatball boxwoods, like you, but I am hesitant to get them because boxwood blight is a big problem in my area (NC). My next thought was to get some Tiny Tim arborvitae bushes. I do not want to use anything too big as I do not have the space. Any suggestions?

  2. I'm so impressed by your garden. Do your deer not eat the hostas? We have some variegated hostas that came with the house that seem to get munched by the deer at least once a summer. And when they eventually find them, they munch them to the ground. I would love to have more, but I'm not sure it is worth it with our deer.

    1. Yes they do! Well, not the blue ones, but everything else. But I'm trying out a new deer repellent this year and so far it's working. I've not mentioned it because I don't want to jinx anything and I figured I should really give it a good season of trying out before I said anything about it, but I'm pretty happy. It's Messina Deer Stopper 2. I like it because I buy it in a concentrated form (for a pretty penny: over $100 for a gallon) and can put it in the sprayer, which is so much easier than some of the homemade concoctions I've been using in the past. And best yet … it smells like cinnamon and cloves. I've been really on top of reapplying (they claim it can last three weeks but I've been reapplying once a week or after big rains even though they claim you don't have to) and I'm pretty happy but I live in constant fear that I'm going to wake up one morning to a decimated garden. Last year those Tilt-a-Whirl hostas were eaten early and they never recovered.

  3. Your garden is gorgeous. Mine is looking pretty good what with all the rain in June. I am hoping the rain continues into the hot months. I am always jealous of gardens that contain healthy looking Japanese Forest Grass. I can't get that to grow in my garden. I always wonder what the secret is to growing it.

    1. I do love that forest grass and I can only say that I attribute it's success to good luck. The one in that picture with the hostas is in basically full sun and it's called Mr. Stripey, I think. I have three of the 'Aureola' variety in the shade garden and the two in the deepest shade are doing well, the one in part sun is about to die completely. And 'All Gold' does well enough for me in a shaded western exposure that I divided them last year and got double the plants. But honestly, I do nothing to them so who knows what the secret is.

  4. Your garden looks fantastic! How's mine? Overgrown and weedy. So much so that I need to spend a day just thinning things. I must learn not to over plant when designing a bed – two or three years in, I'm always yanking things out.

  5. Everything looks great, especially since I can remember you planting some of these areas. Drinking Gourd is one of my favorite Hostas. I've finally realized I should put annuals where some of my ephemerals leave holes. Have not managed layers or succession planting, so perhaps annuals would do the trick.

    1. Annuals are mighty handy. I grew a lot from seed this year, to the point where I didn't know where to put everything and I started just plunking it in and I'm really happy with the effect. I feel like I'm going to have to grow even more from seed next year. A full garden with less guilt!

    1. Thank you! It took me a long time to get to the point where I was considering something other than blooms when selecting plants and putting combinations together, but I started realizing that all the gardens I liked best had a great texture flow and very slowly I'm starting to get there myself.

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