The gardens look completely different depending on light and shadows. Usually an overcast day captures the colors more vividly for the camera's lens, but the sun does magical things to the blossoms, too. This photo is looking down the fence just north of the Rock Wall Garden (hidden by the profusion of flowers).
We make a circle around the gardens almost every evening, and often in the morning, too. We almost always discover a new bloom or a butterfly or something new - it's one of the joys of a garden. But tonight we hit the jackpot! Three all new kinds of plants in bloom. The yellow coneflowers, and the elegant Wild Bergamot above were in the original wildflower mix we planted from Prairie Frontier, but this is the first year they've come up.
The plant pictured below is a mystery plant to us. It has fern-like leaves and a pale greenish yellow pod-like bloom. If anyone knows what it is, please post a comment and let us know. We won't even be disappointed if you tell us it is a weed...a lot of the flowers in prairie gardens are "traditionally" thought of as weeds. ; ) Oh, and the Crepe Myrtle is blooming at the side of the garage. A banner evening!
UPDATE: The plant below is Canada Milk Vetch. Those "pods" will bloom into creamy yellow flowers. This, too, is one of the plants in the mix we planted last year from Prairie Frontier. (There's a link to their site at right.)
With Fameflower Rock Rose in full bloom, Prairie Dropseed filling out, and Columbine fighting its way through the tallgrasses, Boulder Hill is dressed for summer - maybe overdressed. Last summer we had to fight to keep the boulder peeking out from the tangle of plants - mostly weeds. This year the grasses and wildflowers are winning and we're pulling far fewer weeds. It helps that we're getting some low-growing plants established in front of the boulder.
We took a corner that was constantly soggy and turned it into a pretty little moss garden. We started by "depositing" a potted plant there last summer, figuring it wouldn't survive, but might as well try. The combination of Creeping Jenny, Gaura, Creeping Wirevine and a couple other plants, came back like gangbusters. So we added some rocks from Grandpa's pastures, some moss we got from our daughter in Missouri and the Japanese Honeysuckle, which has snuck through the fence from a side flowerbed. It's become a favorite spot in the garden for us.
If you look closely, you can just see the circle of grass where we took out the bald cypress (in the middle of the "football field" according to Ken.)
The gardens along the fence are lined with sandstone rocks from Grandpa Turner's pastureland in the Smoky Hills of Ellsworth County.
These Pink Neon Dianthus were here when we moved in and are just stunning in the spring and provided some nice gray-green color in the flowerbed once they finished blooming early summer. But they were getting a little ragged and Ken wanted to add some stone pavers and more of Grandpa's lichen-covered sandstone, so this summer, 2007, he dug out all the Dianthus. (It was too nice to throw away, so we invited all the neighbors over and they came with wagons and buckets and tubs and we found homes for all of it, plus kept some to restart in the backyard gardens.) The new flower bed looks nice, but it has some filling in to do. And I'm going to have to remember to buy red instead of pink for my pots next summer.
I enjoyed this little pot from Hobby Lobby for a summer, but left it sitting out over the winter, and it broke. We tucked the separate halves into each side of Rock Wall Garden and planted them with Creeping Jenny. I loved the way they looked, but they only lasted a season before crumbling. Still, better than throwing away a perfectly good broken pot . . . and the Creeping Jenny still looks great.
When we bought the house, the hot tub was a "cold tub" and we really didn't want to spend the money to get it fixed. Friends of ours were in the market for a hot tub, so we said, "It's yours if you'll come and get it." They've now built a beautiful covered deck around it in their back yard, Ken built a wonderful potting bench from the lumber that surrounded the tub (see inset, top of this page) and we're both very happy with the results. Win/win!