Monday, April 9, 2012

Today in the Curb Beds

I have been looking at old blog posts to figure out what some plants are, and to show co-workers some I have available for them.  I was amazed at the amount of growth since my last post, so I took more photos, even though it was a bit sunny.  I love this time of year!  We could get down to 32 tonight, so I hope everything comes through that OK.

We are starting at the west end of the front yard, looking north and east.

I didn't get very many of my irises thinned last year.  The ones that are blooming, sure are putting on a nice display!

Jupiter's Beard will be blooming soon.  The buds are colorful.

Some of the salvias have buds on them.  This is 'caradonna', I'm pretty sure.  When I went to check on the spelling, though, the flower spikes in the images looked taller than what I remember these to be.

That little mystery rose I rescued from the sale table several years ago has gotten much taller and wider than I thought it would.  I am not a rose grower, but I hope the cutting back I've done on the plant is an OK thing to do.

This is facing more north.

There are several varieties of perennial geraniums along the curb.  Most of them have some blooms open.

We are heading east, still facing north. 

I love these irises!

The bergenia,  or pigsqueak that I moved last year because of the tree having to be cut down seems to like its new spot.

Geum, 'prairie smoke' is one of my favorites.  It is native to our area, and the ones I transplanted into the new planting area are doing fine.

Going a little further east, there are some bare spots I am working on filling.  A neighbor girl told me the other day that the geese remind her of her and her brother when they are fighting.  I had to laugh, because I've never seen them fight.  They are always pretty sweet to each other whenever I see them together.  I told her I did put the geese together so it looked like they were interacting.

I cut my lavenders back, but this one, between two kinds of asters, either needs more trimming, something to hide it, or maybe it needs to go on the compost pile.   Still, I will feel bad if I have to dig it out.  I do have some other lavenders that are doing very well, though.

This geranium, 'samabor' is one of my favorites.

We are at the east side of the bed, facing north and west.

I don't remember the name of this geranium, but the leaves are different from the others I have.  I like this plant.

The winter savory, shown at the bottom of the photo, is at a good size for cutting to dry.  I don't use much of it, but like to have some on hand.

We are now facing south and west.  I spent some time this weekend cutting back some asters and goldenrods, like Tracy DiSabato Aust recommends in her book, The Well Tended Perennial Garden.  I have been doing this (when I remember) for a number of years, and like the results.  The aster in the corner is a New England one that gets very floppy and diseased if I don't cut it back a time or two in the spring.   There is also one across the sidewalk, and every summer, they try to take over the sidewalk.

Oh, here is a better view of the geese, or are they ducks?  The liatris and milkweed are doing well.  I am finding a number milkweeds in areas I don't want them, farther from where they have ventured in the past.  I remember reading in a post I wrote last year, that they seem to stay pulled, so that is my hope.  I want to be able to have a nice stand of them for the monarchs, and not have them take over the whole yard.

This is heading back west.

The two primroses I planted a couple years ago are blooming for the first time.

The daylilies sure are getting big!  I'm glad they aren't blooming yet, because I'm not sure what 32 degrees would do to them.

The grape hyacinths are finished blooming.  I am so ready for spring to continue, but it's a bit sad to think that a number of flowers are finished for the season.

The last of the tulips are still kind of pretty.

This is the first coneflower bud I've seen this year.

We made it back to the west again.  The blue bush clematis is pushing the trellis over.  I better get that fixed.

I am tickled that it has buds.  I hope they will not be harmed by the cold tonight.

Looking to the east, it looks pretty promising for some nice color this summer.

While I'm at it, I decided to show the area on the east side of the sidewalk.  The area is smaller, and won't need as many photos.

I've mentioned that there are some plants that are on both sides of the sidewalk, and others that are similar sizes or shapes.

Do you think I like to take photos of my yard?

I decided I didn't want to continue to grow arum, because it was getting too spready, and I didn't think the foliage fit in with the rest of the garden.  It is almost tropical looking to me.  Since I am gardening on the cheap this summer, so we can get our home equity loan paid off, I moved divisions of amsonia hubrichtii and yarrow to this area from other parts of the yard. They should grow and fill in the area nicely.  Also, when the daffodil foliage finally dies back, the amsonia will fill in some of that space.

I am pleased the butterfly milkweeds are coming back for their third or fourth season.  Normally, they only live a couple seasons here.  This one hosted a number of monarch caterpillars last year. It will fill in some of the space left by the daffodils dying back, too.

Here are the amsonia and yarrow.  The catmint on the right of the daffodil foliage is one of the plants I trimmed back to keep it from sprawling.

The sedum clump in the lower left is doing well.  I took a few stems off of one of the sedums in the west bed a couple years ago, and stuck them together in the ground a couple years ago.   I really need to thin the irises! 

I love perennial geraniums!  I wish I could remember all of their names.

I tried thinning the daylilies, but the leaves came out without roots.  It still looks like they need thinning.  I'll try to divide them next year when they are smaller.

As I was looking at this photo, I was thinking I saw room to expand the planting area, but then remembered that when the guy was out inspecting the painting job on the fire hydrant, I asked him if the plants were too close.  He said they are supposed to be 3 feet from the hydrant, but said if I trim back the catmint a bit, it won't be a problem.

Larry enjoys taking care of the little bit of lawn we have.  He uses Milorganite to fertilize, and goes around with his weed stick, pulling out dandelions almost every day.  I keep an eye on him when I am out, because I want to do my own weeding in the flower beds.  I'm afraid he's going to pull something that isn't a weed.  (Larry, if you read this, my cover is blown.  I've been trying to do it without you realizing it.)

There are still frost and freeze warnings in our area, but the different sources for weather have our city's lows for tonight a bit above 32, so that's a relief.  The rest of the lows for the week are not supposed to be as cold.  We will run our sprinklers in the morning just in case, though.  I was thinking that if the sprinklers are on while it's around 32, it will prevent the frost from sticking to the plants.  When I looked it up just now, I read some different things.  It sounds like we should have watered this evening, because moist soil helps protect plants from the cold.  It probably depends on the temperature.  If it gets much below 32, it won't matter, and if you water, it can freeze on the plants, causing the stems to break.  I hope wherever you are, your plants are safe from freezing temps for the season.


  1. Thank you for sharing your lovely curb garden! What a lot of beauty in return for a lot of work. An inspiration. Barb R. in southern Illinois.

  2. Those irises are so beautiful.
    Its so wonderful that you can just turn a roadside area into a beautiful garden.
    And the red hydrant seemed to be the only thing that is not changing in all the seasons in your garden.

  3. Loved your photos of your curb gardens! Looks like you like gardening, too. I find such pleasure in it! Marilyn Everett

  4. Hi Sue, The primula, bergenia, geraniums, and iris are really pretty! Your beds are in very good shape - I can tell you've been working very hard and it shows. Beautiful!

  5. I really enjoyed your post today. We had freezing temps last night. It got down to 23. I am so sad. I haven't taken the time to really look at things, put what I saw did not look good. We will have freezing temps again tonight, then it should be good.

  6. Your garden is looking wonderful - it seems like you must have at least five acres full of plants there! You are so much ahead of us. Can't wait for my area to be that green. Love your iris varieties - beautiful colors!

  7. All of your gardens are filling in nicely! I don't believe a lite freeze will bother the clematis buds.....

  8. Hi Sue, I love your irises! So pretty! I'm with Darla, I doubt a light freeze will harm your buds. You are going to have a wonderful summer garden! Cheers, Jenni

  9. You have such a great variety of stuff growing in your garden, including a few things I would like but don't seem to grow well in my hot and humid climate (or else the problem is the gardener). I've had Jupiter's Beard a few times but it's really short lived. I still like it though. Last year on vacation in England, I saw it growing wild on top of the white cliffs of Dover. Pretty cool. That's probably what I'll think of every time I see it from now on.

  10. I hope it doesn't freeze for you. You irises are just gorgeous. And your rose looks very nice. I bet it will bloom nicely for you. Thanks for reminding me I need to cut back my asters and goldenrod. I probably wouldn't have thought to do that. A 3 ft clearance around the hydrant sounds like a lot. But I guess your beautiful garden would be trampled if they ever had to use it. I hope that never happens.

  11. You have a wonderful collection of Irises, among other amazing plants! Interesting--now you're way ahead of me, even though our gardens were at the same point a couple of weeks ago. Probably because we've had cool temperatures lately. According to one of our perennial experts here, established perennials should be fine down to about 30 degrees. Below that and some near the ground will pull through OK. Our low tonight will be in the high 20s for the second night in a row. I covered Peonies and newly planted Rhubarb, but the rest is up to hardiness, chance, and survival of the fittest. Not fun. I'm afraid to look at the Bleeding Heart. :(

  12. You have so much going on so early Sue. Love your iris and you have so many. Love the new header. A glimpse at the neighbors and I don't see a single flower bed in their yard!

  13. Dear Sue, Your garden is further along than mine. Don't you love this time of year? BTW I agree with you that arum is really too tropical looking for my cottage garden look. I grow it in planters, however. Sorry I don't get to visit your blog often enough these days. Have a lovely spring! P. x

  14. First, I want to comment on how neat and weedfree everything is. You make me embarrassed that some of my beds are still choked with various "native" plants , aka weeds.

    I am looking forward to summer bloom in your garden

    You can still divide the dayilies. I have done them when they were almost bushel basket size.
    Be sure the ground is soaked good. Use a shovel to dig up the entire clump. Then chop it in various pieces the size you want to move. You will be cutting through the leaves and the tuberous roots but that doesn't faze them. It will be easier on you if you do it before they get too huge though or Larry may be required!

  15. Hi Sue, I enjoyed the tour through your front yard very much! I love, love, love your irises. They are my favorite plants, but sadly they don't want to grow well in my garden, so just recently I discarded some out of sheer frustration. Your hardy geraniums are very nice, too. It is great that you have so many different varieties. So far I am only growing hardy geranium 'Rozanne'. It does well here and I just got two more. Wishing you that the low temperatures have not damaged your plants!


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