When the farmer harvests the corn from our fields, as he did last week, I know the garden season is over. So why am I still planting -- and not just bulbs? It's because of unseasonably warm weather (in spite of a couple of frosts) that lulled me into thinking there's plenty of time remaining to put the garden to bed and redesign parts of the cottage garden.
|Stinky fleece flower at end of fence -- top left -- summer 2016.|
|Fleece flower's first year top right. Pics from both sides of the fence.|
By September I was unhappy with that whole border. It became a tangled mess with self-seeded annuals as well as spreading perennials. They crowded out the dear lupines I planted from seed that my friend Katharine gave me in the springtime. So I designed a new look.
|End of summer 2016 -- border a mess of cleome, morning glory and fleece flower.|
My H.H. dug out the offending shrub. It's enormous roots were deep so I may be dealing with the plant for years to come although H.H. thinks he removed all of it. I pulled out the cleome and morning glory, determined not to allow them to 'take over' ever again (wish me luck.) I dug out some purple cone flower and some yarrow Archillea ptarmica 'The Pearl.' Now I could see that some of the lupines had survived.
After much thought, I ordered eryngium plants from White Flower Farm and bare-root delphinium from Bulbs Direct. I had put both on my wish list when I saw them in the Lloyd border at White Flower Farm this summer. Of course, I'm not expecting mine to look like the catalog pictures (below) the first year.
|Miss Wilmott's Ghost Eryngium giganteum (Photo White Flower Farms)|
|Delphinium 'Pacific Giants' (Photo Bulbs Direct)|
I made changes in the main cottage garden border, too. I feel guilty about owning butterfly bush Buddleia since it is on the PA watch list of invasive plants. I was fortunate this summer to hear Doug Tallamy speak at the Master Gardeners' Annual Conference. Tallamy wrote a wonderful book Bringing Nature Home. He gives the hard truth about butterfly bush: Not only is it invasive, crowding out beneficial native plants, but it doesn't really benefit butterflies because it provides only nectar -- meeting just 25% of a butterfly's needs. I decided to remove one of my two buddleia (well, it's a start.) I replaced it with a purple smokebush. I know smokebush isn't native, so I added more butterfly weed for the butterflies in addition to the milkweed and Joe-pye weed I have in several spots. I chose smokebush after seeing it at White Flower Farm (also in the Lloyed border) where I fell in love with its color and form. It has the advantages of being resistant to deer, drought and clay-soil.
|My new purple smokebush Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'|
Next, I decided to replace a bland-looking spirea with a potentilla. The potentilla arrived but it's a challenge to take out the enormous spirea which spans the bed. We may need a backhoe to finish the job. I always wanted a potentilla as it was one of my mother's favorite shrubs. She had one with yellow blooms in her front garden; I chose the same color. With yarrow on either side, there will be a mass of yellow, a color I have little of in my summer garden.
|Spirea between peony and yarrow in the cottage garden|
|Buttercup Shrub Potentilla fruticosa 'Gold Drop' Photo Nature Hills Nursery|
So I'm still planting in November, the potentilla being the last job. I'm wondering how all the changes will look next summer. Although the weather is milder than normal, I have nothing blooming in my garden today. However, there is interesting foliage color to enjoy and it's still warm enough to work outside.
|Gold leaves on the weeping cherry, silver lambs' ears and red Japanese maple|
Whatever the season where you live, dear friends, enjoy your garden.
|Goodbye to the pink spirea|
I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited! I look forward to visiting your blog in return.