Posted on 21 Comments

Midsummer Highlights

Meadow and Arc Borders at

As promised, a follow-up to this month’s Bloom Day, but this time focusing on the meadow, garden shots, and combinations over the last six weeks.

While lilies have been a key theme of this summer in the garden, there are two stars in the meadow.

Asclepias syriaca at

It’s easy to appreciate the milkweeds (Asclepias): besides all of the cool insects they attract, they are hard to miss and no trouble to identify. Four species grow wild in the meadow here: common milkweed (A. syriaca, July 4), above; butterfly weed (A. tuberosa, July 4), below…


Asclepias incarnata at

…swamp milkweed (A. incarnata, July 13), above; and purple milkweed (A. purpurascens, June 19).

Asclepias purpurascens at

Another genus that’s been at its peak over this period is Pycnanthemum: the mountain mints. They’re not as easy to identify as the milkweeds (as far as I can tell, there are three different species here), and they aren’t nearly as colorful (white, white, or white), but they all have the most wonderfully intense scent.

Pycnanthemum sp. (muticum or incanum) at

This one is either P. muticum or P. incanum, in a patch about 3 feet tall and 12 feet across. You can see why this would be a scary one to let loose in a garden, even though it’s so tempting to want it keep it close to the house.

Pycnanthemum sp. (muticum or incanum) at

You can get a hint of the minty scent near the plants on hot days, but you really need to rub or brush against the leaves to release the fragrance. I’d love to fling myself into the center of that patch and roll around to be enveloped in minty goodness, but I’m not the only one who likes it: the entire patch practically quivers with all of the insects visiting the flowers: lots of different bees and wasps, as well as many kinds of butterflies.


Pycnanthemum sp. (virginianum or torrei?) at

On one side of the big patch, I found this sparse clump of another species: probably Pycnanthemum virginianum but maybe P. torrei. It looks like this one will soon be engulfed, but there’s plenty more of it elsewhere in the meadow. Those plants usually reach 3 to 4 feet tall. While this kind can also be a spreader, it seems far less competitive than the P. muticum/incanum.

Pycnanthemum sp. (virginianum or torrei?) at

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium at

The last one, slender mountain mint (Pycnanthemum tenuifolium), has the thinnest leaves. Here, it’s moderately vigorous, forming dense clumps about 12 to 18 inches tall and wide.

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium at

You’d expect that finding an orchid growing out in the tangle of grasses and other meadow denizens would be thrilling. And it is thrilling, but not the “oh, wow, look at THAT!” kind of thrilling, but more the “oh, wow, I almost mowed right over that” sort of relief-filled thrill.

Platanthera lacera in meadow at

This subtle little beauty is ragged fringed orchid (Platanthera lacera, July 4). Some years I have trouble finding even one; this year, I was lucky enough to spot half a dozen. Most are single-stemmed, but a few have two stems. They seem to pop up in different places every year, so I’ve given up attempting to mark them and just try to watch out for them when I mow the meadow paths in early July.

Platanthera lacera at

Fortunately, most of the meadow highlights are much easier to spot. Below is one of the many clumps of Joe-Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum) on July 21, with a bit of Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum) coming up in the middle.

Eutrochium (Eupatorium) purpureum with Veronicastrum virginicum in meadow at

Andropogon gerardii in meadow at

Just starting to flower at 7 feet tall, big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii, July 21), above, is hard to miss. Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium,  July 21), below, reaches only 3 to 4 feet tall, but it’s now  forming sizeable clumps that will look fantastic in fall and winter.

Schizachyrium scoparium in meadow at

Sorghastrum nutans at

Above is a particularly blue clump of Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans). It’s about 40 inches in this shot (July 21). This is just one clump in a large patch that will be well over head height by fall.

Below is a grass that wasn’t here originally, though it could have been: eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides). I originally bought one pot at a Pennsylvania native plant conference from a vendor who had named it ‘Emerald Scepter’. A couple years later, I asked him why he’d decided to name it—if it had any features particularly different from the species—and  if I remember correctly, it was just sort of a whim, and it wasn’t really any different. In the garden, it got so big so quickly that I moved it to the meadow after the second year. Now, about 8 years later, there are probably two dozen or more self-sown, flowering-size clumps. These shots are from July 21.

Tripsacum dactyloides at

At about 7 feet tall, the clumps are substantial and hard to miss, especially when in flower and seed. The inflorescence is very distinctive.

Tripsacum dactyloides infloresence at

The female flowers are on the bottom half…

Tripsacum dactyloides infloresence at

…and the males make up the top half.

Tripsacum dactyloides infloresence at

The male half soon drops off, leaving just the developing seeds. They’ll be mature by fall.

Tripsacum dactyloides seedhead at

Silphium perfoliatum in meadow at

Another native perennial that could have been growing here, but wasn’t until I added it, is compass plant (Silphium perfoliatum, July 21). It’s another one I first tried in the garden and then moved to the meadow. The voles devour the roots some years, but enough survive to make a suitable midsummer companion for the eastern gamagrass.

Silphium perfoliatum and Tripsacum dactyloides in meadow at

Rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium, July 13) introduced itself to the lower meadow and is now growing happily with a stand of New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis).

Eryngium yuccifolium and Vernonia noveboracensis in meadow at

Viburnum plicatum at

In the transition area between the lower meadow and The Shrubbery, I have two doublefile viburnums (Viburnum plicatum  var. tomentosum). One always blooms a week later than the other, but if they ever had labels, they are long gone, so I don’t know if they are named selections or seedlings. At this point, I don’t much care about their names; I just appreciate their good looks and the fact that the deer have never bothered them.

Viburnum plicatum in flower at

The plants usually bloom in May but occasionally toss out scattered flowers in summer and even fall. The berries are spectacular. These shots are all from July 13.

Viburnum plicatum in fruit at

I planted this poor bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora, July 21) at the same time—about 10 years ago—and it has never thrived, in large part because the deer nibble and/or rub on it most years. But the buds escaped their notice this year, so I finally got to see some flowers. Even more interesting was watching it be swarmed by swallowtail butterflies.

Swallowtails on Aesculus parviflora at

Swallowtail on Silphium perfoliatum in meadow at

The swallowtails also love the compass plant, above, and the teasel [Dipsacus fullonum] below, both shown on July 21.

Eastern tiger swallowtail on Dipsacus fullonum at

I think some of the dark swallowtails around here are spicebush swallowtails, but some of them must be black swallowtails, because their larvae seem to be everywhere. It looks like I won’t be harvesting any more dill or parsley for a while. Still, there are far worse pests to have, so I shouldn’t complain.

Black swallowtail larva on dill at

Anyway, to continue with the tour: The Shrubbery (which is increasingly looking more like The Mixed-Beddery) on the south side of the house…

The Shrubbery at

…the TDF Border out front…

TDF Border at

…and the entrance to the courtyard on the north side of the house (all on July 13).

Courtyard arbor at

The courtyard has been pretty much unchanged for the last 8 or 9 years: mostly perennial grasses and a few woodies. But much of it had to be dug up during the trenching for the solar panel wires this spring, so I decided to stick with annuals for replanting over the buried lines. It’s nice having some cheery color in there, since the area is right outside one of my office windows.

Amaranthus caudatus 'Coral Fountains' in courtyard at

The colors are even brighter out front (again on July 13):

Front garden at

Front path with 'Glass Gem' corn at

Front garden at

Planting along front path at

Front garden at

Front garden middle path at

Front garden middle path at

Some of you may remember that I had a large silver willow (Salix alba var. sericea) in the side garden. Hurricane Sandy broke the top of one of the main stems last fall, and the boys enjoyed chewing off the bark of that piece so much that I ended up cutting down more and more for them. This is the result by April 10.

Salix alba var. sericea after cutting back April 10 1013 at

It practically exploded with new growth this spring and is now much bushier (the shot below is from June 25). The boys are enjoying snacking on the leaves now and will have a lot of good eating again this winter.

Salix alba var. sericea at

Side garden with Stipa tenuissima at

As usual, Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima) is the real star of this part of the garden (Above, June 25; below; July 2).

Side garden with Stipa tenuissima at

You may remember how pleased I was with the alpaca-fleece path back in the spring (below, April 30).

Alpaca path April 30 2013 at

Unfortunately, things got so hectic since then that I didn’t get around to weeding or cutting back any of the perennials, and now the whole area is a jungle (below, July 5). I’ll have to try harder to keep up next year.

Alpaca path July 5 2013 at

The purple fences I used to spruce up the Happy Garden in previous years had finally rotted to pieces, so it was looking very boring here in the spring.

Happy Garden on April 12 2013 at

For lack of a better solution, I decided to use my collection of random rusty things here this year.

Happy Garden on July 13 2013 at

Happy Garden on July 13 2013 at

Back border at

The low fence that Mom built to enclose the veg garden was a nice upgrade for that area this year.

Veg garden April 10 2013 at

It still needed some personality, though, so I decided to color it up with some painted bamboo poles, as well as an interesting gate-like thing that Mom and I spotted on the side of the road one day.

Veg garden July 11 2013 at

Veg garden at

Now in their third year, the perennial meadow squares (below) are looking great. Apart from pulling out a few weeds along the edges early this spring, I haven’t had to do anything here. The planting is so dense that the summer weeds didn’t stand a chance.

Perennial meadows at Hayefield,com

Finally,  some combinations and close-ups, in no particular order.

Filipendula ulmaria 'Aurea' with Phytolacca americana 'Silberstein' and Lilium 'Monte Negro' at

Above, golden meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria ‘Aurea’) with variegated pokeweed (Phytolacca americana ‘Silberstein’) and ‘Monte Negro’ lily (Lilium) on June 20.

Below, ‘Crème de Menthe’ dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Crimzam’) with ‘Provence’ lavender (Lavandula x intermedia) and ‘Hummelo’ betony (Stachys officinalis) on July 2.

Cornus alba ‘Crimzam’ [Crème de Mint] with Lavandula x intermedia ‘Provence’ and Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’ at

Rudbeckia hirta with Veronica grandis at

Above, Gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia hirta) with Veronica grandis on July 1.

Below, ‘Flamenco Samba’ cuphea (Cuphea llavea), an all-purple form of wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina), and ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’ tuberous begonia on July 8.

Cuphea 'Flamenco Samba', Tradescantia zebrina (purple form), and Begonia 'Santa Cruz Sunset' at

Veronica grandis, Euphorbia 'Golden Foam', and Veronicastrum virginicum 'Erica' foliage at

Above, Veronica grandis, ‘Golden Foam’ euphorbia, and ‘Erica’ Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum) foliage on June 20.

Below, ‘Lanai Candy Cane’ verbena with the pods of ‘Cramer’s Plum’ love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) on July 2.

Verbena ‘Lanai Candy Cane’ with the pods of Nigella damascena ‘Cramer’s Plum’ at

Cornus sericea 'Silver and Gold' with Baptisia sphaerocarpa, Rudbeckia fulgida, Stipa tenuissima and Hydrangea arborescens 'NCHA1' [Invincibelle Spirit'] at

Above, ‘Silver and Gold’  yellow-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea) with yellow wild indigo (Baptisia sphaerocarpa) and black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida) foliage, Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima), and Invincibelle Spirit smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens ‘NCHA1’) on July 5.

Below, ‘Sweet Georgia Heart Red’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) with ‘Angelina’ sedum (Sedum rupestre), ‘Zahara Scarlet’ zinnia, ‘Imagination’ verbena, star-of-Persia (Allium christophii) seedheads, and ‘Red Spider’ zinnia (Zinnia tenuifolia) on July 13.

Ipomoea batatas ‘Sweet Georgia Heart Red’ with Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, Zinnia ‘Zahara Scarlet’, Verbena ‘Imagination’, Allium christophii seedheads, and Zinnia tenuifolia ‘Red Spider’ at

Stipa tenuissima with Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ seedpods, Geranium Rozanne ['Gerwat'], and Artemisia abrotanum at

Above, Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima) with ‘Dark Towers’ beardtongue (Penstemon) seedpods, Rozanne geranium (Geranium ‘Gerwat’), and southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum) on July 5.

Below, ‘Becky’ Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum) with garlic (Allium sativum) and cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) on July 5.

Leucanthemum 'Becky' with Allium sativum and Coriandrum sativum at

Lantana 'Bandana White' with Calibrachoa 'Lemon Slice' and Lysimachia 'Sundew Springs' at

Above, ‘Bandana White’ lantana with ‘Lemon Slice’ million bells (Calibrachoa) and ‘Sundew Springs’ hybrid lysimachia on July 13.

Below, ‘Nona’s Garnet Spider’ daylily (Hemerocallis) with ‘Ondra’s Green Mix’ flowering tobacco (Nicotiana), ‘Golden Fleece’ mountain fleeceflower (Persicaria amplexicaulis), and ‘Bull’s Blood’ beet against ‘Red Majestic’ contorted hazel (Corylus avellana) on July 8.

Hemerocallis 'Nona's Garnet Spider' with Nicotiana, Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Golden Fleece', and beet 'Bull's Blood' against Corylus avellana 'Red Majestic' at

Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues' with Diervilla sessilifolia, Echinacea purpurea, and Panicum amarum 'Dewey Blue' at

Above, ‘The Blues’ little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) with Southern bush honeysuckle (Diervilla sessilifolia), purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), and ‘Dewey Blue’ bitter panicgrass (Panicum amarum) on July 5.

And last, rose campion (Lychnis coronaria) with Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima), ‘Brookside’ hardy geranium (Geranium), and wild quinine (Parthenium integrifolium) on June 20.

Lychnis coronaria with Stipa tenuissima, Geranium 'Brookside', and Parthenium integrifolium at

Yay – now I’m all caught up with the garden happenings this summer. After the next Bloom Day, I promise to find something else to write about!

Posted on 21 Comments

21 thoughts on “Midsummer Highlights

  1. Wonderful pics as ever… Thank you Nan to share your garden with us ! And many purple foliages as I like them so much.

    Thanks for checking in, Nicole. Yes, the purples are looking especially good this year, especially out front. I hope your gardening summer has been as good as ours!

  2. Its all so wonderful, especially that you have wild orchids popping up.

    I love milkweeds, I grew the annual Mexican milkweed (S. curassavica) this year and am enjoying the blooms. With all your milkweed I wouldn’t be surprised if you got monarch caterpillars.

    I think you might just have to add Pycnanthemum tenuifolium to your seed offering this year. That foliage is just too neat to pass up on.

    You’re right, Jesse: I really should investigate the milkweed plants more closely to check for the monarchs. And thanks for reminding me about A. curassavica; I didn’t sow any this year and miss seeing it in the garden.

    I will make sure to collect some of the Pycnanthemum tenuifolium seed for you.

  3. As usual you show a lot of absolutely stunning photos on beautiful plants. Many of them I never heard about, but…the most lovely was the Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum. I have one `Maresii´ which are absolutely filled with white flowers in June, but I have never sean any red berries on it!?

    I think that with most viburnums, you need–or at least it helps–to have two different cultivars or seedlings to get cross-pollination. Maybe you could convince one of your neighbors to plant one?

  4. Everything looks so wonderful. So many beautiful plants and I love the playful use of painted tools and bamboo! If you have a seed list please add me. I would love seeds from your garden.
    Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos.

    Welcome, Jean. I don’t have a set seed list, but I usually offer a bunch of seeds in a mid-November post, and I encourage people to make specific requests if they see something in my summer posts that they like.

  5. I love the smell of Asclepias syriaca. When I was visiting Maine a few years ago, I was surprised at the strong vanilla fragrance. Do any of the other milkweeds you grow smell as good as that one?

    It IS a wonderful scent, isn’t it? The whole place has that fresh, sweet smell when those milkweeds are in full bloom. Asclepias incarnata has a nice fragrance too, but it doesn’t seem as strong, maybe because there’s not as much of it. It’s hard to have just one plant of the common milkweed (or at least, you don’t have just one for very long).

  6. No words can adequately describe the beauty of your gardens nor the loving hard work that they require! Thanks for sharing!

    Hey there, Julie! Thanks so much for taking the tour today. It’s hard to believe how green and lush everything looks here this summer, thanks to all of the rain we’ve had. I wish you a great rest-of-the-summer for your garden and your photography.

  7. Hi Nan, thank you again for sharing your beautiful garden with us. I was so delighted this morning to see an e mail stating that you had done another of your wonderful postings for us. So many lovely plants and combinations hard to choose a favourite though I do love Gold so I think it may be the Rudbeckia with the Veronica. God bless

    Good to hear from you, Allan. I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed today’s post. By the way, it looks like I should be able to collect that golden meadowsweet seed you asked about a while back (and the variegated pokeweed too).

  8. I cannot express to you how much I love your pics, like taking a walk in your garden.
    I love that you identify everything, I immediately look to see where I can find things that I want to purchase. Lovey, lovely, garden.

    You made my day, Jan. If there’s anything you need help finding, don’t hesitate to ask!

  9. Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful pictures. Reading your blog always gives me a lift and I really needed one today. My favorite shots are of the rattlesnake master, the silver willow, and the lambs ears-lined path…and of course, the butterflies.

    Hah – yes, I can imagine that the butterflies caught your eye. I have never seen so many as this year. They’re so busy fluttering around the flowers (and each other) that it’s perilous trying to walk through the garden sometimes. I hope you have a good rest of the day!

  10. Thanks for this wonderful tour of your gardens, but I especially love all your great combos. You’re so good at that. I’m also wondering if you’ve ever collected teasel seeds and offered them in the fall? I’d love to try growing it from seed.

    I’ll be glad to collect some seed for you, Alison, if you promise not to think evil thoughts about me once you get it established and then have to weed it out of everything! The butterflies really do love it, though, and the flowers and seedheads are so intriguing.

  11. My summer garden is looking a bit bedraggled but yours looks spectacular. I’ve been considering adding some milkweed to my own garden and I think you’ve pushed me along on that decision. I love the “random rusty things” and painted bamboo poles – that’s inspired garden decorating!

    I think this may well be the best gardening summer we’ve had in the last 20+ years, Kris, with regular rain but also good amounts of sun and heat. Have fun with the milkweeds! The A. syriaca is really an aggressive spreader in the garden–and even in the meadow–but the others are much more well behaved (as I’m sure you already know).

  12. I am always completely “blown away” by your photographs and your gardens. Everything is so beautiful and you are really creative in all of your combinations.
    I am sure (since I am a fairly new to your blog) that you have offered advice on soil preparations, if you have can you send me in that direction please. Thank you very much for freely sharing all of your beautiful creations.

    You’re so kind, Kate. I don’t think I’ve written much about soil prep here. Once I get rid of the sod for a new bed, I usually just crack the soil with a spading fork (stick it in and lift it, without turning the soil over), working over the whole area, then dig individual planting holes with a shovel. I generally don’t add any soil amendments, because I don’t want the soil to be too rich, or the perennials and grasses will grow too fast and then sprawl. I save the alpaca manure for the veg garden and the front garden, where I grow a lot of annuals every year. After I cover the veg beds, there’s not enough manure left to cover the whole front garden, so I mostly spread it on the foundation bed and other spots left empty when I dig up the tender stuff and pull out the annuals in the fall. If there’s something more specific you’d like to know, feel free to ask!

  13. Sorry for the late reply but I only open your post when I have amble time to relax and enjoy your wonderful pics. Wishing that I could capture your combinations with watercolors to hang about the house.I am always inspired and lifted up after viewing your blog. Thanks for sharing, Janet

    Yep, it takes a while to get through these, doesn’t it? I appreciate that you took the time to visit, Janet!

  14. I’ve just gone through these inspiring photos for the third time. They speak particularly to us because we too garden in a spot where garden and meadow meet.
    We’ve called it pasture though nothing domesticated pastures there. I have memories and stories about so many of the plants that you show. I had forgotten about the pycnanthemum for awhile. It grew wild by our overflow pond in our early years here on the farm. I’ll be heading down to see if I can find it later today.

    My experience with the bottle brush buckeye came when our daughter, moving from Columbus, OH to Seattle in 1999 could not bear to think of her new plant being sold with the house–so we brought it here. It was transplanted 4 times until we found the right spot for it!! We needed to avoid the deer paths and found that it appreciates more shade than we anticipated. Now it favors us in late June in the shade of a very misshapen, old, giant, lightning damaged Larch that’s certainly been here 50-60 years,
    still going.

    I’m interested in seeds for Cramer’s Plum Nigella and Ondra’s green mix nicotiana when you have them in the fall.

    Thanks again for the wonderful posts.

    I suspect that the lack of shade may be part of the problem for my buckeye, Chris, but I don’t really have a place that it could get some shade and also be out of the main deer paths. I’m hoping that it will eventually decide that it’s ok where it is. I’ll be glad to save those seeds for you. I can’t promise that the “Green Mix” will all be green–I’ve heard that the seeds I sent out last year also included some of the browns–but I’ll try again to collect it from a spot where all of the flowers are green ones.

  15. Nan, once again, I feel completely overwhelmed by your garden…your posts make me want to rip everything out and start over! I’m in love with your meadow…the fact that you have volunteers of so many amazing plants is astounding…Big and Little Bluestem and Indian Grass…so wonderful! You even introduced me to a new grass, Tripsacum…very cool! Do you grow that ‘Coral Fountain’ Amaranth from seed? I saw something similar at a nursery recently, but it was more upright, without the cascade effect…and I think I like yours better. I do love how you move from bold, riotous color to a calm vignette of swathes of Feather Grass…such great contrasts…and that last photo just sums it up for me…everything in your garden is more than the sum of its parts!

    Oh, don’t do that, Scott! I love your garden just as it is. Yes, it’s wonderful to see how many cool plants have come up on their own in the meadow in the last decade. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by how much work it needs, but finding the special plants and seeing how many of the natives are thriving makes it worthwhile. The ‘Coral Fountains’ does come from seed. I have a really hard time growing the amaranths these days, because the cucumber beetles chew most of them into lace as quickly as the new leaves emerge, but I’ll keep trying.

  16. Wait, you were mowing the meadow? I thought you only did that once, in the fall, or even late winter. After all the special plants you showed us growing in the meadow, you must do a lot of swerving to avoid mowing all those treasures.

    Only my paths, Kathy. I usually do them about once a month, but it had been about two, so a lot of things had a chance to come up there, including the orchids.

  17. Uh oh, I just planted out three patches of Pycnanthemum muticum seedlings into my front border. Now I’m thinking they might have to go elsewhere, but if they look half as good as yours they can stay for a year or so at least!
    Things look great there. Love the photo of the lemon slice calibrachoa with the lantana. I don’t know why but it just looks so unique, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a combo quite like that before with just the lemony yellows and green.
    Your photo of the purple milkweed has me wishing my sole seedling would take off and put out a couple blooms…. not likely since it’s barely 5 inches tall! I think I searched out the seeds based on one of your previous posts, Thanks!

    Yep, you should be all right for a year or two, Frank, but do keep an eye on the mountain mints. It may just be a matter of lifting and dividing them every other year to keep them from getting too rambunctious in your border. Or, they may be slower for you if your soil is on the dry side. I too really like that ‘Lemon Slice’ calibrachoa. It’s a new one for me this year; such a pretty combination of white and yellow in one flower. And congratulations of the milkweed. It will be grown up before you know it!

  18. I too love your Random Rusty Things! As a collector of Random Rusty Thinkgs for the garden I am a bit jealous of those toothed poles – are they saw blades of some sort? They make a very cool archway into the garden.

    Yet again you garden has inspired me to get off my chuff and get out there. It’s mid winter and although the early spring bulbs are already up the rest of the garden is looking pretty forlorn. I’m off to hack back my unruly and rather large clumps of cannas…

    Hi Kerry! Those toothed things are the blades of what we call a sickle-bar mower. They’re usually used for cutting hay. Or they used to be, at least, you don’t see them nearly as often these days. Most of the rusty bits came from a old junk pile on my parents’ farm; lots of interesting pieces of old farm equipment in there. I wish the blades were longer so the arches would be higher, but it’s worth ducking a bit to get through them.

  19. Do you have to stake any of your Asclepias? I have A. speciosa and it sprawls terribly. Your garden is looking incredible as always, with so many wonderful combinations. And that red nigella! I’ve only seen the blue before. Thanks for the morning inspiration.

    Most of my milkweeds are out in the meadow, Heather, so no staking there. I do have A. speciosa in the garden, but it only grows about 16 inches tall there, so the leaning isn’t a problem for me. Gosh, did I label something as red nigella? If I did, I didn’t mean to: I have only ‘Cramer’s Plum’ (with white flowers and purple pods).

  20. Lucky me, it is raining over Paris to day, allowing time to look, stare, dream …. great pictures, Nancy, and over all great ideas and plantings ! I wish I could actually walk around in your garden , but it is nearly that with the photos …. will have another “just look and dream” later on !

    Hello, Nicole! How nice that the weather allows you to do some virtual garden visiting today. Thank you for taking the tour, and come back any time!

  21. How do you keep all this watered and managed? Do you work in the garden 8 hours a day? Your garden is beyond spectacular. I have two kinds of mtn mints – both the thin leafed variety and the broader leafed one. I love them, too. The broad silver leafed one is much more aggressive than the thin leafed one, at least for me.

    Well, watering isn’t an option for most of it, so I’m very grateful for the regular rains we’ve had this summer. And not quite 8 hours a day: more like 4 to 5 to keep up with the weeding, grooming, harvesting this time of year. Thanks for sharing your experience with the mountain mints; they’re the same for me.

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