With so many projects on my list, it worries me that the Holidays are just months away. On the other hand, I’m also excited that Fall is here, which means I can get back out in the garden and not worry about shying away from the heat! Our front yard bed was prepped Spring 2014, measuring about 4′ wide by 30′ long, mimicking the flowing curves of the boxwood shrubs. This bed sits to the right of the front entry, facing North. The plan is to create a similarly shaped bed to the left of the front entry to give the garden some symmetry. While I plan on incorporating the same plants, they won’t necessarily be placed in the same spots. Together they will be unified by the plants and color, but also give the feel of a cottage garden…hopefully.
We didn’t get the opportunity to fill the bed in last year as we had one thing after another come up with the house that had priority. This Spring was constantly rainy…no luck there, but this did give me the opportunity to easily weed the bed and keep it clean for the Summer months. In June I was inspired while on the Water Wise Garden Tour and it was recommended by one of the homeowners to amend my soil with compost and expanded shale. Early, one morning in June, I did just that (hence the muscle strain in my lower back that’s finally improving). I also added a custom organic mix, from my local feed store, that consists of lava and Texas green sand. Take that clay soil!
For the most part, I will stick with Texas natives as it is my goal to also have a water wise garden. Some favorites include: Shasta Daisy, Aster, Coreopsis varieties, Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’, Autumn Sage, Salvia varieties, Phlox, and more! With just over a quarter acre, if it doesn’t make it in this bed, it will make it somewhere in future beds. Currently in the bed, I have Dwarf Tickseed, which was one of the first plants to go in. It didn’t bloom as much as I thought it would, I imagine it needed more sun this past Spring. With all the moisture, snails and pill bugs made a meal out of it, but the little plant has bounced back. The foliage is nice to look at and has even sent out a little runner with a new plant growing in along side it. I added annuals in the corner curve to give variety and color, which currently consists of Gomphrena ‘Strawberry Fields’ (love, love, love), Moss Rose, and Dusty Miller. The Dusty Miller didn’t take the summer heat and sun too well, but the others constantly proved worthy. Over the summer and into the fall, the Moss Rose overtook this little corner and you could barely spot the Dusty Miller. This is what it looked like late Spring:
In June, I planted Gayfeather bulbs in the back of the bed, which sprouted in about 2-3 weeks. Before planting, I soaked the bulbs in diluted fish emulsion for about 30 minutes. Each bulb sprouted a week apart and I was beginning to worry that the third bulb wouldn’t sprout. Happy to report that this last sprouting bulb was also the first to bloom! Only two months in my garden and I saw purple wispy plumes. They can tolerate both wet soils and drought conditions, so the back of the bed is ther perfect spot. They’re not very tall at the moment, but I’m sure next summer will be a sight to see.
In front of the Gayfeather plants, I have a Guara lindheimeri and a Butterfly weed that my mom gifted me. Both perennials have deep taproots that do not like to be disturbed. What I love about these kind of plants are their tolerance to drought. Both have bloomed for me this Summer and constantly stand tall. The Butterfly weed is growing in from the base with new stems; I look forward to seeing this plant a little fuller. I’ve read the Gayfeather foliage will start to wither after the blooming seasons, so another pro for being planted in the back of the border. This is what Guara and Butterfly Weed looked like newly planted in June:
In the center of the bed, I have Verbena ‘Homestead Purple’, which is another plant that was added last year. It has definitely grown full and takes up a good amount of the middle section. I love the deep green foliage of this plant and how it blooms through multiple seasons. I have not pruned this plant down, which is suggested during the summer months. Behind this, I transplanted 3 Mexican Feathergrass plants from my mom’s garden. One did not take, but the other two might make it through. They easily spread in the garden, so I’m not too worried about the one failed plant.
Now that I’ve caught you up on the details of this flower bed, this is how the plants have flourished into the Fall! Guara has grown taller and fuller, while the Butterfly Weed has grown new blooming stems. The Fall coolness also enticed the Guara to bloom in abundance ❤
We had wonderful weather this weekend! Mornings in the 60s, with highs in the 80s. With anticipation of this nice weather, I picked up some new plants. I’ve replaced the annuals Moss Rose and Dusty Miller with cool season Pansies and Ornamental Kale. I also added two new perennials, Autumn Sage and Coreopsis ‘Galaxy’. Autumn Sage, or Salvia Greggii, will get 2-3 ft tall and wide, which I planted towards the back of the border. I decided to plant the coreopsis right in front of the semi-evergreen shrub. This variety of Coreopsis, Big Bang ‘Galaxy’, is a small variety reaching 15″ tall and wide.
Just before the end to such a perfect, gardening weekend, we spotted this little guy on the Butterfly Weed 🙂 A Monarch Caterpillar…I hope he still has plenty of time to fatten up, transform, and migrate for overwintering.