July 26, 2010

Flowers Surround the Sundial

Annuals and perennials surround
the sundial in the cottage garden. (click to enlarge photo)
If sundials reflected temperatures instead of time, the one in my cottage garden would have registered 100°F on too many days for the summer of 2010. In spite of this unusual heatwave, the annuals and perennials that surround the sundial are handling the heat with a little extra water and good compost.

The bronze sundial, a special gift, has been with me for over twenty-five years and in four gardens. For the last four years, I have moved it around my current garden in an attempt to find the perfect location. It has finally found a home in the south-facing cottage garden between the stream and the front porch. Selecting annuals on the right scale to surround the sundial was my goal for this year's spring plantings. All of the perennials were already in place and established.

Sideways view from the cottage garden
path to the front porch.
Annuals include the beautiful blue mealy cup sage, salvia 'Victoria' and Magellan 'Ivory' and 'Yellow' Zinnias. The zinnias were grown from seeds and while short enough to fit around the sundial, the blooms are as large as the giant zinnias.

The salvia 'Victoria' was purchased in April as a flat of bedding plants from a local grower. Tough in any location—I also grow this salvia along a gravel path as well as in the drought-tolerant area of the deer resistant garden—the color and shape works well in combination with many other plants. I use it with hardy geraniums, zinnias, shasta daisies and coreopsis.

The perennials, echinacea 'Prairie Splendor', monarda 'Raspberry Wine' and salvia 'Black & Blue', along with the annual Benary's Giant Zinnias are the tall plants providing a backdrop.

All of the plants want to lean south (right side of photos) toward the sun and the stream. The position of the paths in my garden are such that the staggered heights must be considered from the side and the front of this flower bed.

In addition to my enjoyment of flowers, the smorgasbord of blooms is a favorite nectar bar for hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. There's always activity! Sitting on the front porch to watch, I find the pollinator antics to be quite entertaining for a gardener.

On the south side of the sundial, perennial heliotrope grows along the bank of the stream. The lavender blooms of heliotrope are non-stop from April until frost. When placing the sundial, I decided to tuck it in behind the existing heliotrope with Sedum 'Green Expectations' and a deep pink mum. The sedum and mum will bloom when the weather cools in early autumn.

Finding the right place for the little sundial took me awhile. Perhaps the sundial will remain here, in a nest of colorful blooms each summer, for the next twenty-five years.

Perennials include hardy garden mum (left mounding foliage),
sedum 'Green Expectations' (in front of mum),
and creeping heliotrope (lower front).

Links within the story are to related stories within my blog. Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel.  All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks, copyrights, or patents owned by those respective companies or persons.
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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