I am absolutely loving the view out my home office window these days (which during this pandemic is a place primarily used for blogging, emails and sporadic coaching work). It has definitely come a long way since we moved in 2 summers ago! While getting rid of your lawn isn’t too tough in the city, on acreage it definitely is incremental to put it mildly! From this week to the first summer (reverse chronological) you can see the grass killing we did, and in just a year from the initial plantings things have come a long way. I’d say probably 80% of our plantings have survived, if not thrived, over the past 18 months, and that’s something I’m quite proud of. We have a teeny tiny Native Plant Sale which brought in aster, mallow, snowberry and red flowering currants that should be blooming soon, and the rest are “investments” 🙂 .
Clover and buttercup are our biggest challenges out here, and we’ve taken extra effort to add nutrition to the soil when we plant on this, one of the many previously unloved areas of our property. So with that first summer’s success, we added two new sections of black plastic to kill off the grass where more planting will eventually occur (hence the bits on the side and top of the first photo), and the plastic will again get folded up to be used again for a future section in 2021! FYI, we don’t use any pesticides, hand-pulling weeds or using vinegar water in certain areas, with a bit of neem oil if aphids are found (not a huge problem in this garden with exception of the gooseberry which seems to be delicious to them, grr…).
The bees and hummingbirds have been LOVING this new space, and being that we planted primarily deer-averse plants (they aren’t big fans of herbs and other heavily scented flowers – minus roses which are like crack to them, ugh – so there are a lot of rosemary, sage, thyme, catmint, and other showier versions of the culinary herbs I have in our primary herb garden off the back door.
Here are just a few of my favorites in bloom right now…
Lupine (which we’ve learned is growing along the edge of our pasture, what a lovely bonus!), Cornflower (fell in love with these back in the city where they took over the old garden – in a good way), Pink Cistus (rockrose), Eryngium “sea holly” (so weirdly cool looking!), Bee’s Friend (one of my all time favorite perennials that plants by seed easily, spreads nicely, and returns every year), White Cistus (rockrose), and Yarrow (which my husband propagated from a bush at our old house in the city along with a red one before we moved, woo hoo!!).
And while it’s not a flower, special props to the hostas plants that are growing along the side of the house, which we’ve found have thus far 2 years in not been a temptation for the deer even though they should be. We brought those over from the city as well (and a good thing as we learned that these supposed garden lovers who bought our house ripped out a large portion of the flower gardens I’d spent over a decade building from scratch…ugh…) and they are thriving here. Maybe because the hostas are outside the kitchen window where we spend so much of our time keeps the deer out, maybe just too darn close to risk. But I’ll take it either way as I love great shade plants!
What are your favorite flowers to grow? Anything you’d love to try?