Okay, I'm taking break from the Tour of English Gardens to record photos of our garden. Here's my rationale. After visiting all those sumptuous gardens in England, we are, not surprisingly, a bit dissatisfied with our own. As I may have mentioned, I did decide that I would not make any major changes in our garden this year. By the time we returned from our trip, it was too late, and it would be rash to leap in, spend too much money, and wind up having made injudicious selections. So with that in mind, I decided to simply do my usual (for non-construction years) planting of annuals to fill in when the perennials stop blooming. And I also decided that I would purchase and plant all of those annuals as a Father's Day gift for D who uncomplainingly does all the daily labor in our yard.
As part of this desire to plan changes to our garden, I am going to make a photographic record every two weeks (or as close to that as I can) from now until the end of the season. That way over the winter while I peruse garden books and journals, I can look at the photographs and see what worked and what didn't and plan how to change what ever problems there are. I did not photograph the day lily border as that will probably not change (though as I write this I think that maybe I should get in there and remove some of the rogue tiger lilies so maybe I'll take a picture of that border tomorrow).
Here from right to left as viewed from the back of our house is the main garden:
This is the "hot" portion of the garden in which I have planted red, orange, and yellow flowers. The only perennials here were lavender plants, most of which did not make it through the winter. Nasturtium seeds in the very front ("Jewel" mixed), then bronze-leafed red, flowered begonias ("Cocktail Vodka"), short yellow (type unknown) and two varieties orange marigolds (one is "Bonanza Flame"), yellow argyanthemums, and red zinnia seeds ("Giant Scarlet Flame" 2.5 - 3 feet and "Will Rogers" 3.5 feet). Behind those will be some red sunflowers ("Velvet Queen" 5 - 8 feet) as long as they germinate and begin growing well in the house since the chipmunks discovered and ate the sown-in-the-garden seeds! Climbing nasturtium seeds were planted around the black climbing support in the far left, back corner of this photo.
This is still a part of the "hot" portion, but it constitutes a border only. The same begonias, yellow marigolds, and red zinnias (I think), but includes a new-to-me snapdragon, "Montego Orange Bicolor", 10 - 12 ".
Working into the mostly paler, pastel garden. The begonias are still a bronze-leafed variety but these have pink flowers and had no name stakes. Seeds of "Powder Puff" asters are behind. More climbing nasturtium seeds are in the bird cage. You can see pink, purple, and rose "petunias" (the new variety which begins with a "C" that I can't remember) and one rose colored geranium. At this time of year, this part of the garden is mostly very blue-purple perennials with peonies in bloom (nodding in pale pink at the left of the photo) and moss roses beginning.
Here you can see the peony that was at the left is now at the right and the garden stretches on. From the right going across to the left are pale pink dianthus with a reddish center, red-violet not-verbena-but-I-can't-recall-its-name, "Blue Danube" ageratum, pink (in two shades) "Wave" petunias, more "Blue Danube" ageratum, the occasional purple angelonia, and yellow argyanthemum for continuity. Back on the left by the black birdbath is another black climbing support where I planted "Heavenly Blue" morning glories. For fall color Powder Puff and Crego aster seeds, and California Giant mixed color and State Fair mixed color zinnia seeds (brights, I know, but I do love them) are towards the back of the bed. One of the problems here are the clumps of tall bearded iris which haven't bloomed in years. I have moved them and got some blooms after 2 or 3 years and then nothing. I know the rhizomes aren't too deep and maybe they need separating again, but really, great leaves are not quite enough!
A new pot (last year's was brown and I really didn't like it with all the black accents in the garden) on the cut-in-different-heights telephone poles made for me by D from a downed pole that was given to us. The focal flower is a pink and white begonia (last year's mistake was a tuberous begonia that wasn't happy here), dusty miller, darker pink Wave petunias, and white bacopa.
Two shots of a do-I-really-want-this, it was a problem last year, the blue-flower-is-negligible-from-a-distance, perennial amsonia. I was going to dig it out and get rid of it last year when it grew as tall as the birdhouse behind it (yes, really!) but never got around to it. This year it's behaving itself, and I cut some to make a bouquet with one pale pink peony and one deep purple Siberian iris. This year I really like it which explains again why I'm not making any quick decisions about the garden.
And here's the left side of the garden of which you are seeing only the clumps of Siberian iris and the astilbe among which I have planted no annuals. This area is my biggest problem. First it is now almost completely shaded from mid-morning to evening. Second, the Siberian iris are so thick that nothing else can go in there, and I find I no longer can trust myself with the pickax I used to wield to separate the rhizomes (I don't think D trusts me with it, either). Third, I love iris!
In the front of the house, I plant only white flowers, but I really worked on different colors in the foliage due to the sights in English gardens.
The fernery with a tub of white flowers (and a new white pot thanks to our daughter) in the background.
Edge of the driveway.
View of house from the driveway (note the over-the-railing-planter on the porch).
Fell in love with this planter and bought it instead of a hanging pot.
Okay, probably way too much description and too many photos, but maybe it will help you start thinking about what you are doing in your garden. Taking photos is really a good idea if your memory is as fleeting as mine. BUT take them on a slightly overcast day if you can; you can see that the sun was too bright to make the plants in these pictures really distinguishable. Which is another hint; take close-ups of specific plants in addition to distance shots for general effect.