Too much yellow?

black-eyed susansMy second-grade neighbors told me yesterday that there’s too much yellow right now. Here and in the neighborhood, where I have certainly shared the wealth of black-eyed Susans. This is part of our front yard right now. What do you think?

I like that we should have color for the better part of two months. What other perennial can give you that?

My fall replanting plans include creating wedges in the mass of black-eyed Susans and spreading out day lillies that can then create clumps over the years. I also want to move some red crocosmia that bloomed at the same time as lilac bee balm to create another clump and to spread out the color and height.


The garden before the black-eyed susans take over

The black-eyed susans are starting their annual invasion. This year the phlox are showing signs of spreading too, despite some mildew and munching by the deer. And those coneflowers!

Bees are happy, butterflies are happy, hummingbirds are happy. I’m happy!

Some shots on what is supposed to be a scorcher of a day:

butterfly on coneflower 2

phlox front

phlox and day lily

phlox and black-eyed susans

phlox, coneflower, butterfly

The lovely crocosmia are now in three or four spots, and they need to be divided again this fall (well, some of those baby bulbs dug out with fingers?).

crocosmia july 19 2015 002

crocosmia july 19 2015 006


side bed with red, red, white

Dividing the amsonia (below)  could add the feathery leaf structure to another spot. More phlox (white!)  needed in the center of the long front bed. Daisies from the side bed could work too.

divide the amsonia in the fall

And I WILL break up the black-eyed susans into sections, promise!


Mid-June in the garden

I’m looking out the window and seeing rabbits in a neighbor’s yard. Just don’t let me see the groundhog! We have at least two, and they have done enough damage in the raised beds.

Still, tomato plants are generally thriving, and I’m hopeful we’ll have some early ones in time for the Fourth of July. Zucchini and potato plants are shooting up. My favorite flower, rose campion, is blooming, as is another favorite, red-hot poker (a little late, I think, but then spring was late and started off cool). And I’m excited about this new red-yellow Rudbeckia that blooms much earlier than the traditional yellow black-eyed Susan. I’m guessing it comes from one of two places where I plucked a flower head and then planted it. I’m hoping it spreads like crazy.

Here’s a look at some of what’s blooming in the garden just a few days before the official start of summer:

Yellow and red Rudbeckia
What a beaut!

red hot pokers

Rose campions are in lots of places:

Rose campion

Rose campion and coreopsis

Rose campion, coreopsis and tiger day lilies

Day lilies above and below:

red daylily
Hope this spreads too

stella d'oro daylilies

The first of the many coneflowers to come:


A faded allium:


A new addition to the hosta collection:

hosta late may new kind

Our hardiest flowers

These were the final holdouts of 2013 and still in bloom last weekend, despite many frosts. They are shriveling up, but even that biting rain and cold just before Thanksgiving hasn’t been able to quite finish them off and turn them black.

This low-to-the-ground black-eyed Susan’s microclimate is tucked behind a clump of ornamental grasses and by the garage downspout. Nearby black-eyed Susans were caught by the first frost a month ago.

last black-eyed susan of 2013

The pair of asters was protected by other perennials that had died back. I wouldn’t have found them if I hadn’t been doing some fall clean-up. Like the black-eyed Susan, they are on the small side. Unlike it, these didn’t have that pop of color.

aster in November

Finally, I found a couple of vinca flowers in a shady bed on the north side of the house, in a narrow strip between the air-conditioning unit and another wall of the house. And the flowers are even lower to the ground than the other examples. All the hostas on the other side of the air conditioner have died back, of course.


Now it’s time to wait for the lenten roses that share that space to give us some winter color.

End of summer

Catching up after a hectic two-plus months.

The black-eyed Susans, which dominate the front bed, have been in bloom since mid-July. They’re now rapidly fading, but they kept the garden looking bright. How many can I give to neighbors?

Mass of black-eyed Susans

Phlox, purple coneflowers and black-eyed Susans. Lot of phlox and coneflowers this year:

Phlox and purple coneflower with black-eyed Susans

Ornamental grass and black-eyed Susans (told you they were everywhere):

Ornamental grass with black-eyed Susans

Daddy long legs on a black-eyed Susan:

Daddy long legs and black-eyed Susan

Spider’s web (with foliage from black-eyed Susans in the background):

spider's web

A fall-blooming clematis with a sweet scent, along the deck:

white clematis

in July, one of our three varieties of bee balm:

bee balm

Crocosmia under the mimosa tree:

red crocosmia

The potato crop, which we felt was disappointing. Did we not mound enough? Or do we need to find a fresh spot?


We have a glut of peppers, mostly Portuguese hots, and have had plenty of tomatoes, especially sungolds. But we also discovered some truly sweet tomatoes that look just like sungolds. Now to find out the name of them from the Brit’s colleague!

Leeks still to come. Need to use up all that basil and turn it into pesto. We still have greens, though something gets into the caged bed every once in a while and munches. And we’ll see how the fall crops turn out.

Snow in October

snow-covered zinniasIt’s falling fat flakes as I look out the window, sticking to ground wet from the rain earlier this morning and covering the last of our hot pink zinnias.

Quite depressing.

This is when we are supposed to have our first frost (and there was frost on the windshield yesterday, though not enough to kill the last flowers). But snow this early? I have visions of a Laura Ingalls Wilder-style Long Winter.

I was braced for it and spent several hours yesterday cleaning out the vegetable garden, digging out the last of the Yukon Gold potatoes, picking the tiny but hot peppers from our pyramid peppers, cutting the overgrown mustard greens and harvesting the chard. But seeing it is quite something else.

I also took a few shots of our final blooms. The pineapple sage was a late blast of color but nowhere as exuberant as the only other time we grew this annual. There were still some dianthus, and of course the zinnias.

sweet william flowers

And a few photos from September:

clematis spilling over the deck


Waiting for Irene

I have no idea how Irene (and the unusually large wind field) will treat the garden. So I harvested tomatoes and beans, brought in some container plants and tipped over the bird bath (big colony of ants living in the hollow base!). And I took advantage of Friday’s sun to take some photos. Not sure how, but I have a few second blooms of rose campion, one of my favorite May/June flowers.

Japanese anemone
More phlox
I still haven't figured out what this is. I don't remember planting it