Monday, October 8, 2012

How the West Front Area Fared after First Frost

Our low yesterday morning was 22 degrees!  I thought it was supposed to be 28.  When I checked, I was expecting more damage than there was.  I took lots of photos, and was tickled to see a number of butterflies and bees.  I decided to post different areas one at a time, and started with my favorite part of the yard.  (Shh!  Don't tell the rest of the yard.)

I seem to like to start taking photos from the front porch.  

This is one of my favorite views to take pictures of.

It looks like the Mexican sunflowers are finished for the season. They are such a big plant, and it is sad to see them in this condition.

Stepping down off the porch, we are going to take a different route this time.

When I got this switchgrass, 'Prairie Sky' I was told that the native kind spreads quite a bit.  Well, the two plants here are spreading way more than the native clump I later decided to try.  I'm trying to decide if I am going to keep these here, or try to replace them.  Some days, I feel obsessed with only having native plants in this part of the yard.  Other days, I tell myself this will never be a prairie, and why not have critter friendly plants that I enjoy there as well.  Also, Larry reminds me from time to time, that I am not native to this area.

The liatris are pretty much finished blooming.  The leaves to the right of the rectangular basket are the cup plant, which I decided to take down before the birds can plant the seeds into the neighbors' yards.  Oh, and I took down Larry's sweet potato vine that comes up every year, and tries to take over.  He said he's not letting any morning glories grow in the back yard, so I decided now was the time to wage the same war on this vine.  (The little fences and baskets seem to work to keep the rabbits from eating the purple prairie clover and two kinds of phlox, which are some of their favorites.)

The monarda sure has pretty fall foliage.

The newer growth is even darker than the rest.

I cleared some sea hollies and other plants that I decided not to grow here, and the path is now walkable, so we'll go into the area this way. 

I planted several kinds of seeds, though, so hopefully, they will come up in the spring, and cause the path to be less walkable.

I'm thinking this is boltonia, 'Pink Beauty', which means it is not a native plant.  It sure is pretty, though, and the pollinators did seem to like it.

Here's the view facing north and west, where the rigid goldenrod is pretty much finished blooming, but holding up pretty well.

This lone little clump is still bright and cheerful.

I found out that zig zag goldenrod likes more moisture and shade than the other kinds, but this one has new growth, so maybe it's OK here.

This is from the same spot as the above photos, facing more west.  Three of the four gray headed coneflowers are still showing color.  I've mentioned that I deadheaded them. 

The goldenrod is Riddell's.

I planted several kinds of grasses, such as side oats gamma, blue gamma, little bluestem, several kinds of switchgrass, and indiangrass the last couple of years.  I can't remember what this one is.  I hope it will be joined by some native larkspur next year.

This area should look different next year, because some of the plants have not bloomed yet, and I'm hoping next year they will. 

I took off most of the wild senna seedheads, since there isn't room for more plants.  Still, I'm glad I left some, because I like how they look.

The black and blue salvia is ready to be cut back.  I'm guessing it won't be back next year, even though it did survive our last mild winter.  I will give it another chance, though, and not pull it out.

I'm thinking it was a robin I saw eating some of the beautyberries the other day.  The foliage on them has changed from the cold.

The rattlesnake master that I moved from the east flower bed did well.  Next year, it should get taller.  The coreopsis next to it should be blooming by next year.

There's the other Mexican sunflower, also finished for the season.  The pitcher sage is still looking good.

I don't remember what kind of clematis this is, growing on the trellis.  The flower was quite small, and shaped like a bell.  I like the seedpods, too.

The love likes bleeding is finished.  This wild senna is not turning colors as much as the other one is.  It also bloomed later than the other one.

This switchgrass is 'Northwind'.

I need to get that cleome pulled.  I'm not going to let its offspring grow, because I got ahold of seeds of the native kind, and planted them nearby.

I will keep the peony plants that were my mother-in-law's.

I'm glad I got to sit here some this year.

Poor tithonia!

Here's the way out, on the path I usually use.

Here's that little mint I'm trying to decide whether I'm going to let grow.

Since I already showed the side of the garden, I walked by again, and stepped down the steps to show the area in front of the fence.  The spirea and mums were already here before putting in the asters and the rest of the plants.

It looks a little fuller here than it really is.

I have seeds planted in the bare spots.

I like the color of this lantana.

I'm thinking about taking out the moss phlox.  The pussytoes did pretty well.

We're heading west.

I like the color of the little bluestem.

Here's the view from the west.  The switchgrass in the corner is 'Heavy Metal'.

Fall is here and blowing leaves around.  I hope for some nice days to be outside before the cold sets in.


  1. I have the same back and forth about purely native versus a mix of plants. Lately I've been more about just having the plants I want. I have zigzag goldenrod in moist shade where it spreads aggressively. After reading your blog I'm going to make a point of deadheading my grey headed coneflowers next year.

  2. Wow, what a difference frost makes in your gardens. They were beautiful this year and now are getting ready for their annual sleep. Enjoy your autumn and getting things ready for a nap.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

  3. Your asters are still looking so pretty, Sue, and of course, I love all the native grasses. We had a hard freeze Sunday night/Mon. morning, too, and my annuals got zapped. I finally have the motivation now to pull them all out and start cleaning up the garden. Yesterday was cool but a beautiful day; I'm hoping, too, for some sunny weather to get all the fall clean-up and bulb planting done.

  4. I cut a few flowers back but we did clean up all the vines from the pumpkins and watermelons. Totally cleaned out the garden. Asparagus hasn't turned brown yet but it's up against the shed. Need Ron to go get some compost from the dump and woodchips from another source we use. Thanks for the trip through your yard.

  5. There is still alot of beauty in your gardens, Sue. I like the Rattlesnake master, the goldenrod, and your grasses. Not too much going on in my garden now after frost last wknd. Time to put the garden to bed, which I dread - it's a lot of work! However, I like to clean it up in the fall so I can get right to the fun of planting come spring. Hope your week is going well.

  6. The shiny purple berries on the beautyberries look terrific. I've been admiring this plant on blogs from warmer zones, but it won't grow here. The colour on the black and blue salvia is very eye-catching too. With that height, your 'Northwind' switchgrass is a bold looking grass. Your blue aster is very full and looks nice combined with the purple.

    Sometimes I compromise, for example I like the double bloodroot, but it is sterile and not much use to pollinators, so I planted both some singles for the pollinators and some doubles for the gardener.

  7. That Beautyberry is lovely even after the foliage fades! How interesting that you've had a hard freeze before us this year. I know our time is coming very soon. I'm not ready for the cold, but it felt wonderful to get some much-needed rain today.

  8. Ooooooh 22 is cold. We had 32 last night and 40 this a.m. Had my gloves on for my morning walk.

    I love all the seasons of the garden. I know it's sad to see the Tithonia bite the dust - but really like your shot with the heads hanging down where you can see their furry stems. Such a good plant - easy from seed, and grows so large in one season, and the butterflies adore it. Great garden tour - thank you.


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