I'm feeling quite angst-riddled with these images. Maybe I'm feeling penned in by 1,500' of garden. I know I've not exhausted what I can learn, but in order to learn I feel like there are areas I'd like to start from scratch in (or maybe I just need an acreage). I've already done that by removing butterfly bushes and sowing wildflower and grass seed in their place. Still.
Above is the shot up from the deck. I try to take photos from the same place whenever I go outside as a way to gauge evolution -- death and birth.
Here we are at ground level. I like the tall clumps of Coreopsis tripteris (left and right of the sumac), but that's about it. What's my problem?
Here is looking toward the main gate. You'll notice 75% of the weeping bald cypress suddenly died after it leafed out. My prettiest small tree will be coming down, which is maybe just fine -- it's too big for that space and doesn't do much for wildlife. The smokebush is also a bit overbearing, though it's a bird nest mecca every year.
Turn around and you see the arbor and gigantic river birch. I need to limb it up to let in more light on the ground, but if I do that I'll have to watch my neighbor mow her lawn and play with her kid on the new trampoline.
Looking out a hole in the garden gate toward my narrow river 'o' prairie, which is looking ok in the sunnier area, not so much in the 50/50 spot closer to the fence. I reseeded prairie grasses a week ago and they are starting to come up finally -- lesson learned about bed prep and watering.
Back in the main garden a massed mess of forbs. Some monarda cultivar is taking over on the right, and the grey headed coneflowers have had a resurgence after a down year or two; whoever said you couldn't use grey headed coneflower plant in a small garden didn't plant thickly enough.
At least the Asclepias sullivantii is blooming. Just the one plant though. Smack dab in the middle of the path. I never can get it to set seed.
Looking back toward the deck and birch. This is why I get chiggers every year, chiggers being the main reason I'm not enjoying the garden much. I've had about seven million bites the last two years and refuse to go outside as often until August when they are non-biting adults, and when it's too muggy to go out anyway.
My garden slopes a bit, and here is the top of the hill behind some moisture-sucking red cedars that shade this area about half the growing season. So I have to contend with a wet soil in spring, dry in summer, sun and shade. I've had a hard time finding the right plants, so am sullying any good plantsman rep I had -- if I had one.
The Baptisia australis is looking good, but the annual infestation of genista moth larvae has begun and it will be 100% defoliated in about a week. The birds never eat the larvae. Why not? Once the baptisia vanishes for the year the white woodland asters behind will get blasted with sun, but it will help the Salvia azurea.
Sunflowers are starting up. I've let them go nuts in my veg beds against the house -- I love to look out of my office and living room windows to see bees at work, and in a month or two, birds flower hopping for seeds. It's not a pretty sight aesthetically right now, or at any point really, but I'm making a sacrifice in this area. Next year I'll use both beds for prairie forb crops.