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WALATing in the garden this morning - looong, picture heavy post!

I was walking around looking at things in the garden this morning and thinking of some of the recent discussions on threads here so took some pictures of plants in those discussions. I'm reasonably happy with the backyard garden but have reached the conclusion that the front yard is in need of an overhaul! Actually, we've been making quite a few changes in the last year or so that have not yet fulfilled their potential, but there is a lot more that needs doing! I couldn't get one decent picture of the south driveway border! It doesn't seem to look too bad in person but the ruthless eye of the camera shows every flaw :-( So I'm giving a lot of thought to what the next changes need to be - I'll let this summer play out as-is while sorting out what stays; what goes; what gets added... As the trees and shrubs mature, the character of the front garden is changing and the rest of the plantings need to change too.

Starting in the backyard:

I love the hostas that dominate the planting around our small patio. (There are way too many mosquitoes in the backyard so the patio rarely gets used for sitting or dining! We've gradually stopped bothering to put any outdoor furniture on it. The back porch is the main outdoor sitting area - and dining too for 2-4 people. It's not a screened porch but the bug population is a little less dense a bit higher up.)

Cole acting a a 'scale figure' with some of the hostas:
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You can see the Persicaria polymorpha on the right side of that picture. That one is shaded by the ash tree which gives a high shade. This is a more complete picture of the Persicaria:
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This persicaria is under the edge of the white pine canopy and is also shaded by the ash. You can see that it flowers considerably less:
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You have to look more carefully for the Persicaria flowers in this picture which shows one under the denser shade of the oak with some evergreens blocking light from the south:
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Skipping around to look at the Persicaria in almost full sun in the front garden you can see that it is much denser in flower - and flowers earlier - the flowers are fading fast now:
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I have mentioned at times my intent to try to make a 'golden path' area under the pines. I'm not sure if I'll be able to do what I envision because the conditions are tough under there - very dry most of the time. Some things are doing reasonably well; others not - some have disappeared. This picture also shows the view I most hate in our garden - the neighbours' unattractive metal garden shed! It is too dry back there for any shrub I would consider planting to hide it :-( There is a small seedling Japanese maple doing reasonably well against the fence that I have hopes for longer term but, for now, I do my best to ignore the shed!
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Oakleaf hydrangeas were under discussion recently, so I looked to see how my pathetic one was doing! I was happy to see it has a grand total of about 6 flowers this year! You can see some of them here:
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And, if you look closely, in this picture you can see some flowers on a dwarf oakleaf hydrangea between the 'Ghost' fern and the hosta:
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I really wish these hydrangeas would do better for me!

Taking a peek up the south alley the clematises that I'm trying to swag along posts-and-chains on either side are doing reasonably well - the right side is shady so they aren't doing as well there. On the shady side they will have enough light once they make it up onto the swag chains - someday!
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Heading up the north alley to go to the front garden...

The astilboides flowerbuds are developing fast. You can see that they are very tall - much taller than the rodgersia flowers that are just finishing. The stem is too weak to hold up the heavy flowers so the stalk tends to fall over. I usually cut it off shortly after the flowers open.
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The north alley fence and gate made from copper pipes:
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Through the gate leads to the back corner of the garage and the back of the main front bed. The narrow bed along the garage is dominated by clematis and hydrandeas:
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A grass path leads towards the driveway:
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At the driveway end an iron arbour and path leads into the main bed. There used to be a very vigorous (Hall's ?) honeysuckle on the arbour. We removed it in 2010 and the replacement 'Emerald Gaiety' euonymus and clematises will take a few more years to cover the arbour, so it looks a bit bare at the moment. The spring flowers are finished and the summer ones are just begining so there isn't a lot of color showing at the moment. Over time this bed has become a later-flowering garden. The tree on the right side of the bench, for instance, is a heptacodium which doesn't flower until early September - when it is smothered by migrating monarch butterflies! This bed is definitely due for a big renovation to give the space more definition!
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'Becky' daisies were under discussion recently. In this picture you can see how they have spread around in this bed even though I have been digging them out for years now! Keep an eye on your Beckys!
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This picture shows the grass path on the other side of the main front bed, running between the wisteria 'moat' bed and the main perennial bed. It gives the area a nice structure that is visible in winter too when the garen is more bare.
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Looking at the front garden from the road, you can see that the flowering is in a lull at the moment! Up close, there is more in flower than you might imagine from the picture but it lacks the obvious color you might expect - and that will appear soon.... You can also see that there are quite a few trees and taller shrubs that will soon enable this garden to transition to a shadier garden (my favorite kind!)
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A partial tour of the garden for you on this hot, humid day when it is too uncomfortable to actually spend much time out there!

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