Bonafide Farm

Mid-June house garden tour

June 25th, 2013 § 4

We’ve had a nice, relatively cool spring with lots of rain, and the gardens are happy. Here’s what’s been happening in the beds closest to the house in the last couple of weeks. Those huge Muppet-looking Scotch broom plants to the right are slated for removal as soon as I can get a backhoe to the house. I tried to dig them out by hand, but no luck. They grew way too large for their space, and though they have lovely blooms in the spring, they are taking up real estate that is too valuable for what they offer.


The purple irises of May have been succeeded by beautiful red lilies. This colony has grown from just a couple of bulbs, and I love their look and position in the garden. I am happy with this view, below, in June. I like the pop of color from the lilies, how they pick up the color of my front door, and how they nestle between the Blue Atlas Cedar and the ‘Karl Foerster ‘ reed grass. Iceberg roses bloom at the foot of the lilies, and the red of lily blooms picks up the blush tints in the albelia ‘Rose Creek’ (at bottom left). A lot of neat textures happening in this view, and good structure.


Moving across the front of the house, I also like this little view. Of course I love my ‘Pat Austin’ rose, which has brilliantly responded to a rather harsh 18″ pruning done in April. She’s blooming full steam ahead, but needed some company to make her peachy orange blooms less lonely. So I added a few yarrows: ‘Pineapple Mango,’ which has coral orange blooms, and ‘Anthea,’ a nice, antique-looking yellow. When they fill out they will lend some more visual weight to this orange/coral theme I have going in this area.


Here’s ‘Pat Austin’ again with the yellow yarrow in the background. I placed it right in front of my ‘Black Lace’ elderberry so that the blooms will really pop against the dark background. I like the way it wakes up the beautiful elderberry, which despite amazing color and foliage has a tendency to recede into shadow…the bane of most dark-foliaged plants.


From dark foliage we move on the dark flowers. Black, in fact! True black flowers are pretty rare, so I was immediately smitten when I found this viola, ‘Black Out.’ There was hardly anything online about it, but I did read somewhere that it’s a 2013 introduction. And I found it, of all places, at a big-box store that starts with a “w.”


Lots of people love pansies in the garden, but if you don’t mind their smaller blooms, violas are a better investment. Violas are perennials, pansies aren’t. Pansies give up the ghost as soon as it gets warm, and some violas will keep blooming through summer. And they self-seed. That said, there is still a place for pansies. I kept a container of beautiful pansies alive on my front porch from last fall all through this May. Despite being frozen into popsicles several times, they just kept flowering. To have outdoor blooms in deep winter is a real treat!


Just last week I noticed my new violas were crawling with these spikey orange and black caterpillars. They were gorgeous. I figured they were something special, instead of the usual destructive pest, so I left them alone. A quick internet search identified them as Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia) caterpillars. Turns out that violas are host plants for these beautiful butterflies—bonus!


Over on the right side of the porch is my problem spot. This area lacks structure and needs a larger bush or small tree to anchor it. I have pulled out a couple of Iceberg roses from this area, to make a spot for said new addition. Now I just need to figure out what to put there.

I also have too much going on with the colors, so I am trying to edit that out to a coral/red/orange scheme to pick up some things on the left side of the house. That’s a tall order for someone who likes most all colors, but I will try.


Above, a clematis climbs a homemade support, with a ‘Cinco de Mayo’ rose at its feet.


My oakleaf hydrangeas are growing nicely. The plan is that they will soften this front corner of the house with three-season interest. They’re one of my favorite plants, and I like how they look with the variegated euphorbia planted between them. May have to work that in somewhere else too.


Finally, the newest section of garden. This is the side that runs along the east side of the house. In addition to a bunch of hydrangeas, I have viburnums, peonies, Solomon’s Seal, and some other random things in there. New additions are in the foreground, above, brunnera ‘Jack Frost.’ A totally gorgeous plant that since planting doesn’t seem too thrilled. Though it’s labeled for shade/part-shade, I think this side of the house really isn’t as shady as I originally thought it was! I hope these brunneras make it, as they are magical-looking and gorgeous, and they have small blue blooms in spring.

So that’s how the garden is shaping up as we head into summer. Now that it is three years old, I am really starting to see certain things fill in and to identify problems in other areas. As always, the garden is a work in progress and a learning experience. One can never be bored making a garden—it’s a lifetime aesthetic and intellectual challenge.

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§ 4 Responses to “Mid-June house garden tour”

  • Sarah In Illinois says:

    You have taken such an educated and artistic approach to your landscaping! And it is paying off, your plants are gorgeous! I have only been following you for about a week and I keep coming back to check on your future chickens! haha!

  • Your garden is gorgeous! I love all the colors and varieties. I miss my gardens but, truthfully, right now I’m doing well to keep up with the flowers on my porch! I’ll just enjoy yours and my daughter’s gardens…

  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Hi, Sarah! Welcome back–I am pretty excited about the prospect of baby chicks too!

  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Hi, Dianne! Gardens are wonderful but I do spend a lot of time on them!

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