Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Smurfy Garden, As of Whatever Today Is

Fourth school week is coming up and I feel like my head's an irrigation pivot. I imagine this blog will soon become partially neglected, so I'm front loading it now with two posts.

But the garden looks--interesting. I'm liking the wild way it looks, because it's starting to fill out and / or it's late in the season. I really have no idea what I'm doing this first full year. Plants which were supposed to be medium are huge, plants that should've bloomed haven't yet (but are working on it), and with 2.5" of rain Thursday and Friday, and cloudier days, everything is putting on tons of new growth. The monarda are on steroids, the filipendula rubra on half doses of steroids, and the helianthus is like a proton collider (see, I work in current events). BTW--pinch back your balloon flowers in July, they actually bloom again (first time this has ever worked for me).






















Pinching back the geranium (behind the coreopsis) also produced a 2nd flush of blooms. Who knew this actually worked.


















I LOVE my Eupatorium altissimum ‘Prairie Jewel.’ In the spring they emerge with golden foliage, which turns a mottled white and green, then these lovely white blooms come along which attract 2,437 bees, wasps, butterflies and other insects each minute. Only problem is all three are 4-5' tall by 4' wide, and the rain and wind have bowed them over to a 45 degree angle. Don't know what to do next year short of staking. I hate staking.

And do you see that Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' back there? It's three times as big as the 7' bald cypress behind it. Somebody's getting moved, but is it better to move the helianthus now, or in early spring, in order to ensure this massive flourish of blooms for next fall?




















The copper rain chain seems to be doing its thing. Maybe not my dry stream bed.
















We get many blue jays at a time here. One morning a few were perched atop some corn I'm stubbornly growing in a place it shouldn't be growing.
















I found some smurfs. They were calling to me....

8 comments:

Victoria said...

I just looked back to your post of 25 June to see the difference and it is amazing. Your garden looks as if it has been there for ever, and it looks incredibly natural and unforced. I love the morning glories

Layanee said...

It really is a transformation! You have a wildlife preserve also. That is a to die for rain chain. I would advise dividing the helianthus in the spring. It is best to divide any plant well after or well before it blooms and since this is in such full glory, early spring will fit the bill. Great job and I took many toadstool pictures yesterday too.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Victoria--Oh you're too kind! But my gardener's eye says, no, no, it DOES look forced and unnatural.... alas.
Layanee--So much rain lately has mushrooms everywhere. Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it--I'll divide in spring, which is also when I (anyone) has more garden energy / enthusiasm.

Frances said...

Hi Benjamin, your garden does look nicely filled in/out. The helianthus should be moved in early spring, but remember to THINK BIG in the garden. My new guru Piet Oudolf, check out his book, Designing with plants, says small plants make smaller gardens look even smaller! And we have decided that the plants don't read the tags about size, etc.

Frances at Fairegarden
new url
http://fairegarden.wordpress.com/

Benjamin Vogt said...

Thanks, Frances! I've put in larger shrubs and plants simply because they'd take up more space and, so, require fewer plants and save me money. It's just a lucky happenstance that I'm following our guru Piet (juct picked up Planting the Natural Garden)! I've got ninebark, willow, itea, chokeberry, viburnum, elderberry, clethra, miscanthus, rudbeckia maxima, filipendula rubra, joe pye weed, butterfly bush....

our friend Ben said...

Looking good, Benjamin! And of course, we love bluejays! Wish you could have skidded on over here to Hawk Mountain to watch the monarchs migrating, proud as any raptor. They looked like flakes of fire. But your post most reminds me of a tee-shirt I saw yesterday at the PA Sustainable Living and Alternative Energy Fair, which showed a guy at the gas pump holding the hose to his head, with a spray of gas coming out the other side. Oh, yeah...

Blackswamp_Girl said...

The garden looks great, Benjamin--and I envy you that gorgeous copper rain chain! The pics of the bluejays are great, too.

About the eupatorium, would you mind if they are a little shorter? I pinched back my chocolate eupatorium twice this year (once at the end of May, and once at the end of June, if I remember correctly) and it was better branched and less floppy all summer. It's even pretty sturdy now while it's blooming, even though it's heavy with flowers.

Benjamin Vogt said...

OFB--Skidded? More like voyaged. I'm not leaving this house until I have to again, Novemeber. Too much travelling this year. Boy you hit a nerve! :) Not many monarchs here, just 1-3 each day--much less than last year, and I think it's al lthe floods the midwest had this spring and early summer. But we've been releasing them--one will go today, and we only have 4 cats left.
Kim--You know, I didn't cut down my chocolate nut they are only, maybe, 18" tall and just about ready to bloom. Whereas these others are huge. I like them huge, so maybe I will just stake them as they are growing. They lend some needed height and provacy along the fence. But I AM going to cut back the helianthus--whoa nelly.