Monday, August 18, 2014

Autumn in the air every evening...

Verbena bonariensis is a magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds this time of year. It plays a large role in the late August gardens here at Oak Lawn. There are few plants that I allow to self seed but this is one of that chosen few. It works just about everywhere as it's really a 'see-through' plant. It's odd how cool our nights have been so early in the season... lowest temp so far was 49 degrees, arriving on a night when we left every window in the house open... a bit chilly by morning. 

I'm still getting calls from folks wanting to come and see the flowers but I have to tell them that our bloom season is pretty much spent. I really design my bloom period to last from May until early August and it was amazing this year, but all good things must eventually come to an end... certainly there will continue to be bits of bloom well into October, but most visitors want the big show... for me we are coming into a period of texture with less color... calming certainly but it doesn't catch the interest of many who would visit Oak Lawn.

The hydrangeas are such a joy this time of year... pictured here are two of 'Limelight' with 'Pink Diamond to the left barely in view...

Fall is a season of changes in our gardens but the changes seen here have actually been developing for the last year and a half, beginning with the removal of five huge messy siberian elms and the flower gardens beneath them. This has taken a long time because of all the rain we had last fall and this spring. I finally have the area sodded and doing well... there are a number of new conifers here and the odd perennial. We will add more hemerocallis and lilies this fall and I need to rework the rail fence closer to the front. Rudebeckia and Firetails are providing a touch of color just now and sedums will soon join in.... there ia wonderful Acer pseudosieboldianum just behind the yellow hosta that in some years has the most amazing fall color... I surely hope this will be one of those years...

We simplify our annuals more and more with every passing year.... I suspect the Bronze leafed Rose of the Big Series will become a regular... what a performer it is.... seen here with Dusty Millers. A friend has suggested Sun Coleus from the 'Stained Glass ' series might fill out the center of this bed beautifully and I can easily envision how amazing that would be... a definite for next season...

Our very latest orienpet lilies include 'Scheherazade' and 'Black Magic' pictured here with 'Scheherazade' pictured below.... while I adore all orienpets, truth be told, these are among the classiest of the cross due in part to their form, smaller blooms, and really tasteful colors... (my opinion)

'Laura' and 'David phlox' can be seen here and are the perfect perennial for August, although many cultivars bloom earlier. I think I will do quite a bit of dividing and spreading about of phlox this fall... pictured below is another stand of 'David' and a newer cultivar with touches of lavender pink whose name has escaped me....


This little triad involves Picea pungens 'Hoopsii', 'Fat Albert', and 'Baby Blue Eyes'... I like the wild look of the 'Elijah Blue' fescues with the spruces and the foil created by the Dusty Millers.... pictured below is the scene from the opposite direction...


The name of this Echinacea has also left my aging mind but I do like the color variation and form when compared with the common cone flowers....

I added the Picea glauca 'Pendula' pictured above and below with the thought of it's serving as a 'sculptural' element... I actually grow five others but this is the only one that isn't a part a garden bed.... picture it when it reaches 30' in height with only an eight foot diameter....


Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' add a welcome touch of yellow to the August conifer beds...

More Verbena bonariensis softly accompanying a Cornus alternifolia above a carpet of Juniperus wiltonii 'Blue Rug'...

It won't be long before these hardy hibiscus will come into full bloom...

Down the 'gazebo path'...

The uncommon confers in this new rock garden may seem to be spread a bit far apart, but I wanted to accommodate their growth twenty years out...


The birch walk...

And here is a project that I've been at for a couple of weeks.... I've limbed up much of the east windbreak and after moving many truck loads of branches away, I am ready to dig post holes and install a stockade fence.... I love the look of a needle bed beneath old conifers as it brings back memories of special spots where I grew up in Vermont. I will be rounding out the shade bed to the right in the photo below with lots of hostas, turning this into a large island bed which is along the birch walk...


Looking towards this season's added terraced conifer beds...

I'll close with one other big project accomplished last week... I planted this huge Summit Ash 42 years ago as an 8-10 footer... because of having to drill a new well next week, it had to go as the well will be drilled where the blue flag sits... with the help of some great neighbors, the tree is gone and the mess is cleaned up... there was really no other choice for placing the new well.... Larry

We stopped traffic for a short time...