Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bring me a shrubbery!

What was going to be a lazy day quickly turned out otherwise, when I got a bug up my butt to get rid of the bushes around our three-season porch.  I've had a love-hate relationship with these bushes since we moved into this house eight years ago.  I love that they've provided some privacy on our porch that's all windows, but I hate how overgrown and outdated they are.  Unfortunately, I didn't snap a before picture, but here's the aftermath.

That's only half the bushes.  The charming little house in the background is our neighbor's.  The house at the very right side of the photo is the Handyverger home, at least a tiny sliver of it.  No pictures of the areas around the porch yet.  It's a mess of dead leaves, a few scraggly bits of foliage poking up and the trimmed stumps.  Also, highlight of my day, I found poison ivy growing under there.  AWESOME.  Fortunately, it's very small, and I don't think I came in contact with any of it.  It has to go, but I'm not quite sure how to pull it out without ending up a giant itchy mess.  Suggestions are most welcome!

While I was out there, I took some pictures of the garden in progress.

This little niche is near our garage, which is down and to the right from this angle, and it's right behind stone steps that lead up and (in a meandering way) to the front door.  There used to be an arborvitae of some sort growing there, but it fell down during a particularly bad ice storm in 2008.  We were actually thrilled that it did, once we got the near-tree out of the way and got power back (after 5 days without it).   I love that we gained more space to landscape, particularly right where visitors approach the house.

A few years ago, I planted a single foxglove in this area.  It comes back every year, and it has now spread throughout that little patch of soil.  I think foxglove is so elegant looking, in a very old world sort of way.  I also love that it's a plant that has been used to make medicine to treat heart disease.  Digitalis (foxglove) is used to make digoxin, though we don't use that medication so much any more.

You can also see the cute little succulent in the foreground that I planted three or more years ago.  It somehow manages to come back every spring, even after New England winters.  In the background, you can see my lovely 'Caramel' coral bells.  I didn't get a chance to get these in the ground last fall, with Pippin getting sick, but they wintered over in their pot and perked up beautifully with a little TLC!

And here's another foxglove in the same spot.  You can see some wild thistle growing in back (I'm scared to pull it out!), along with my chives right behind it.  You might also note my little black kitty statue peeking out.

Once you climb the stairs, the path takes you past our little patch of perennials.  It's largely coneflowers and black-eyed susans, but you can see yarrow just starting to bloom in the back.   Our little family of bunny statues is tucked in there, too, amidst some woolly thyme and creeping thyme that's been slowly growing and spreading throughout the patch.  There's also a dusty miller that's way overgrown from last fall; it somehow made it through the winter in a container, and Mr. Handyverger insisted on trying to save it.  We'll see...

If you swing around toward the front door past our perennial patch, you'll be greeted by our steps and the container garden I've started there.  This is one of our lettuce plants, clearly flourishing (which reminds me, I need to pick some before it goes too wild).  The other plant there is a viola.  Also, as you can see, I have a thing for cute woodland animals.

This is the other lettuce. The picture's a little out of focus (sorry), but do you see the pollen all over the lettuce?  Ugh!  I'm so sick of pollen!  It's wreaking havoc on my allergies.  The other plant in the pot is lemon thyme, which is just about one of the hardiest little plants I've ever grown.  This one has been growing for three or four years now, moved from the ground, to a pot, to a different pot, outdoors in the winter in New England... and still, it keeps growing.
Every year, I make sure that I grow basil - there's nothing better than fresh basil, if you ask me!  Here, I have it planted with alyssum and pinstripe petunias.  These petunias are even more amazing in real life.  They're such a dark purple that they're nearly black, with lighter purple veining.  They look like they're made out of black velvet.

I saw these in a container done up by my local nursery, and they were only selling them as a part of a very large, very expensive basket.  Erk!  So I asked what variety they were, and through a little googling, I found Garden Harvest Supply.  The price was incredibly reasonable, though shipping was a bit spendy - but it still ended up being substantially better than what I would have paid for the basket.  ($4 for the plant, and $11 for shipping with two other plants.)  The plants looked a little battered when they arrived, but I potted them immediately and watered them thoroughly, and they perked right up.

The other two plants I ordered are here.  On the left is a Phantom petunia.  I had ordered a different variety, but they substituted this one.  I was a little disappointed, but they've been great so far in trying to work out a solution to make it better.  On the right, is a 'Superbells Blackberry Punch' Calibrachoa (Million Bells).  Aren't they just darling?!  

The larger plant in this planter is pineapple sage.  It always grows wonderfully into a very large plant, and when it finally flowers, they're a beautiful scarlet.  Also, it's yummy.

 I'm infatuated with Million Bells this year.  I have three other colors.  You can see a red one behind the lettuce above, but I also got a pink and a very pretty yellow with an orange throat.

These are planted in with a dahlia and some more alyssum.

The glass dragonfly was made by a former coworker for me.  He does fabulous stained glass art.  I feel privileged to own even a little piece of it.  If you'd like to see more, check out Monte Verde Art Glass Studio.

I just thought this dahlia was glorious.  I couldn't resist!

What's growing in your garden?

Sharing at Feathered Nest Friday - French Country Cottage.
What's Cluckin' #13 - Chicken Scratch


  1. Replies
    1. We are no longer the knights who say ni! We are now the knights who say ekki-ekki-ekki-pitang-zoom-boing!

  2. Kelly, Mark can take care of the poison ivy when he comes...which should be very soon, I'm thinking. He deals with it everyday! :0) I love reading your blog!

    1. Ooh, I do hope Mark comes to visit. Will you be coming, too? :-D (I'm presuming this is April!)

  3. Your flowers are so pretty! I wish I had more of a green thumb... mine never seem to do that great.

  4. My fiance will be so proud that I got the reference! I love the foxglove, they are one of my favorite flowers. I don't have any because my ducks chew on all my plants and I'm thinking that wouldn't end well for the ducks so for now I live vicariously!

    I highly recommend getting rid of your thistle ASAP. We ignored one growing between our 2 propane tanks and then it was suddenly 6 feet tall....

    1. Forgot to say thanks for linking up at What's Cluckin!

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