August 3, 2010

Bare Soil to Blooms: The Long View

Taking photos of the garden every month allows me to see what I want to change or keep the same for the next growing season. This is just one of several sections of the deer resistant garden that underwent a complete overhaul during the autumn months of September through November 2009. I did my best to photograph at the same angle each time, but there are some hits and misses in the exact position!

I like cottage gardens and wildflower meadows, so I'm combining the two styles for my own look to suit the conditions.

The garden is planted in a somewhat random layout, but I add groupings on a diagonal because of the approach when walking around the outside of the garden. I use primarily cool colors, though I'm gradually adding a bit of yellow and white to see how it works.

During the summer, the area receives twelve hours of sun, so only plants that are drought-tolerant can handle the heat. All plants must be deer resistant since it is not fenced.

My goal for keeping the garden in color is to use self-sowing spring annuals to fill in the gaps until the perennials blooms. Once the spring annuals are gone, I'm using zinnias and annual grasses as fillers.

By comparing this view at different times through the spring and summer, I am making a list of plant additions, subtractions or placement for my fall tasks.

Nov 1, 2009
Old plants were removed to make room for a new plan.
Edging and a French drain were added in the winter.
June 15, 2010
The camera's diagonal angle perspective for this sequence
is shown with the black arrow. There are other viewing
angles for this garden, but this gives the longest look across
the blooms from the top of the garden down the slope.

May 1, 2010
Perennial blue flax (left) and agastache 'Cotton Candy' (right)
provide color while much of the garden is still foliage
June 1, 2010
Larkspur and bachelor's buttons in multiple colors were easy to
grow from seeds sown in November 2009.

July 1, 2010
Monarda, coneflowers and agastache are the primary perennials
for a summer peak bloom. The larkspur and cornflowers
were pulled as they faded, but a few were left to self-sow.
August 1, 2010
The 'Raspberry Wine' monarda fades and Benary's Wine Zinnias begin
to bloom to keep the wine color. Purple fountain grass plumes are starting.
This has been a difficult year for the garden—a wet winter, a hot and dry April, as well as the hottest summer on record. Still, I am comfortable with the overall success for a first year of blooms.

There is a mass planting of Russian sage, not yet tall enough to make a statement from this camera angle. The zinnias are sparse right now, just beginning to bloom, having been delayed by the lack of rain until recently.

Hidden below the agastache blooms are many young coneflower seedlings that will break up all the spires in 2011. I'm using seeds, when possible, to economize on the cost of mass plantings. Although the color scheme is primarily blue-toned pinks, the white coneflowers and gold rudbeckia are being used sparingly until I decide if I want to add more of those colors.

With a path at the bottom of this garden and the meadow grass at the top, there are other views of this same area that won't fit into one post. Also, by selecting photos taken on the first day of each month, there were blooms missed in this particular photo sequence.

Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. Deer and rabbit resistance varies based upon the animal population and availability of food. 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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