Continuation Of A Theme-less


Since the last post, click here here-A Walkabout For No Reason to read it, was so much fun, and we are tuckered out from pulling weeds, watering and moving plants, let us continue in that same vein. Above can be seen the standard trained Hydrangea paniculata grandiflora being overwhelmed by Buddleia ‘Potter’s Purple’. There needs to be some pruning done in that arena.


On the difficult to get the design pleasing but main view from the lazyboy in the addition from whence all posts emanate daylily hill, (Rose, is this okay, if weird?) an epiphany of sorts has occurred. In the beginning, three Hosta ‘Sunpower’ plants were borrowed from another area of the garden to flatter the feet of the Japanese maple Crimson Queen. That was good. The next year two more plants were borrowed from the same shady space to make a total of five. That was better. Last year a whole bunch more were borrowed, good thing the other planting area is so generous, to fill in to form a nice swath. (Just a question, why is it swath in the US and swathe in the UK? Is it like ou becoming o? ) There has been some slight rearranging this year of these bright, mid size hostas, placing them closer together and moving the Dixie wood ferns out of the group to stand behind since they are taller. This is the best it has ever looked and helps combat the Little Leaf Syndrome that plagues the garden.


Bowling Red Okra, Abelmoschus esculentus ‘Bowling Red’ was planted in the veggie bed this year. We dumped the whole packet of seeds into a trench in a fit of lazy, poor gardening technique. There has been no thinning by human hands and the crop, which is not for eating, has been bountiful and beautiful. One could eat the pods if they so desired, but we grow them for ornamentation. Later the pods will be dried in the shed, which is so warm an egg could be fried in there on a metal sheet on most days. The vision is a wreath, several bare wreaths hang at the ready in the same exact shed, made from grapevine, honeysuckle and willow trimmings, fastened jauntily with dried okra pods. Possibly the pods will be painted. Or not. There are a few pods from last season, five or six, waiting to join their brethren. That scant number is one reason that the entire contents of the seed packet was used, for more pods.


This is the okra flower, quite attractive.


Seedlings were shared from our good buddy over the mountain, Christopher of Outside Clyde of Clematis stans a couple of years ago. The seeds originated from our co-buddy Chuck in San Francisco of My Back 40(feet) fame. This non climbing Clemmie has grown larger each year and believes itself to be a climber, without the curving leaf stems. I have helped it achieve that dream by braiding the longer stems up the trunk of the standard pruned PeeGee hydrangea.


This is what the flowers look like in a close up glamour shot. Sweet.


Deadheading pays off. For the first time, the Echinaceas were given the guillotine treatment to extend the bloom period. The cut was made along the stem where tiny rosettes were visible on either side. There will still be seed heads for the finches and for seed scattering to increase the swaths. Or swathes if you are British.


The Monarda didyma cultivars were not deadheaded but some are producing more flowers below the seedhead.


Should the brown parts be cut now? Will they grow baby plants if scattered about? We would love to have a swathing good group of them.


There is a raised box planter along the path that leads past the flat garden up to the black garden and the arbor. Dahlias were planted in there and some returned for a couple of years without being dug up. Not so this time around. Dahlias are off the list of Plants We Grow. Some new things were planted in the space including Eremurus which seemed to do well. If those return and bloom, the whole box might be filled with them. But for now there are some Zinnia seedlings getting close to blooming and two volunteer pumpkin plants. One fruit is a small round orange about six inches in diameter. The other turned out to be a bumpy, pale apricot. Fetching.


There is one other raised bed lined with lumber up behind the shed at the top of the property. At one time it was the veggie space with tomatoes, peppers and lettuce grown successfully. As the surrounding trees and shrubs have grow taller, funny how that happens, it became too shady. Three blueberry bushes reside there now. The extra space is used for seed starting, with the seeds covered by overturned openweave black plastic flats in which four and six packs of annuals are sold. The bed was recently mulched with bags of composted cow manure. This curving line was noticed whilst on watering duty with the hose at the end of the bed. It looked like someone had dragged a hose across the neat and tidy compost topping. But wait!!!! There was an opening at one end where the boards had seperated over the years, about two inches wide. At the other end of the impression was an opening where a knot in the lumber had fallen away. Yikes!!! This is a Snake Path. You might remember how I feel about snakes. If not, click here-A True Story to find out or refresh your memory. Sharp edged rocks have since been piled at both ends mentioned above as a deterrent, but there may have to be stronger forts built at the site of encroachment.


Since we prefer the Fairegarden posts to end on a high note rather than scary thoughts, let us share the vision that is Calla lily, Zantedeschia aethiopica ‘Naomi Campbell’. It seems a good tie in to what has been shown on every newscast lately. It was noticed that the official name of this calla has been changed to simply Naomi, but we will continue to label it as it was sold to us by the now defunct Wayside Gardens.

Frances

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23 Responses to Continuation Of A Theme-less

  1. You looked at that depression and thought snake. I looked at it and thought erosion. But you can see it to scale better than I, and you can see if it follows a slope.

    Hi Kathy, thanks for that. This is not sloping, being a raised box, one of the only places here that is not a slope in fact. My photo doesn’t show it very well. It is a wavy depression, like someone took a stick and made a design. But it begins and ends at the openings in the lumber and I suspect it is the same rat snake that has been spotted a few times here. He is large, about six feet and two to three inches in diameter. I wonder if he is hiding or hunting under the shed which is raised on runners. I have seen Kitty go under there, hope that is not the case, but the one entrance is right by the corner of the shed.
    Frances

  2. Good Monday Morning Frances, I love your purple red okra. I wonder does it hold the color when cooked… I would love to see them on your wreaths. Thanks for sharing your Clematis stans… reminds me to go check on mine. I am so absent from my garden lately. I wish they would not keep changing names… Lovely calla no matter her name. I forget what sorts of snakes you have … hopefully no more encounters occur… I remember that post… how brave you were! ;>)

    Hi Carol, thanks. I believe the red color does not stay when the okra is cooked, or when it is dried for crafts. I might add some red touch ups for the wreath, and orange and yellow for a fall theme. I forgot that you also had that clemmie, is not a common one but grows well here. The snake is probably a rat snake, large but harmless to humans. I have seen it several times, made mental notes of the markings so I could look it up online to ID. It is endemic to my area.
    Frances

  3. Layanee says:

    Your hydrangea and buddleia may need pruning but they are looking quite exquisite in their embrace..

    Hi Layanee, thanks. What a romantic you are! It is the butterfly bush that needs a severe pruning, it has gotten huge this year. I hate to reduce the size, the butterflies are all over it, but must do it soon before it is too late in the season for pruning.
    Frances

  4. steve says:

    Let me agree with the little anarchy of the Buddleia and Hydrangea. You’d have to pay to see something that lovely anywhere else, lol. Let it go for a bit is my advice. Man, that little Clematis is most unusual, especially for Clematii. Totally cool, understated but still-gorgeous flower. Well done, Frances. Oooh, snakes. I hate em.

    Hi Steve, thanks for the advice. We are running out of pruning time here for the new growth spurred by the cuts to harden before the first frost which is normally at the end of October. I do like the combo though. The clemmie has been a great addition with that large foliage and the blue bits. Helps with the little leaf syndrome. Snakes. Arghh.
    Frances

  5. John says:

    Very pleasing effect with the hosta. Swathe in the USA as a noun means a piece or strip of material in which something is wrapped.Swath means a broad strip or area of something.

    Hi John, thanks. I have seen the Brits use the spelling swathes when describing large groupings of one plant too. Just wondering….
    Frances

  6. Finally my Clematis stans on the mountain are blooming and amounting to something if a bit hidden in the wild lush. You do know what the seeds of Naomi Cambell, tucked down in the flower are right.

    Hi Christopher, that’s great! I was hoping your stans was growing well too. I have sown the seeds of the callas many times with no successful germination. Maybe I’ll try again since Naomi performed so well this year, a first for sure.
    Frances

  7. Jenny B says:

    Aren’t epiphanies a wonder-filled amazing thing? They are almost always right. But it is that flash that comes too seldom that seems so mysterious. Your Hostas look so lush and refreshing in this summer heat wave–and the Red Okra very striking. I remember when you planted it last year, thinking I needed to do the same…maybe next year. 🙂 Your snake story was amazing–not in a good way! It reminded me of my own snake story when Frisky was bitten by the rattler. It is hard to watch nature sometimes. It can be harsh and even cruel.

    Hi Jenny, oh yes. Amazing how the mind works. The Sunpower hostas are one of the very best for our hot, dry climate. Maybe that is the source for the name. This okra is much redder than the one last year, I will get it again. I shudder to think of a rattler and your pet. Even non poisonous snakes are bad enough, but that is too much to bear.
    Frances

  8. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Frances, I can’t imagine what kind of snake would scurry under the duff. This looks more like mole or vole traffic to me. They both like to slide just under the duff and then have a hole to pop into and out of for protection from those dasterdly snakes. Your Pee Gee standard is a handsome strong looking plant. I love the way the buddlia and pee gee are entertwining. What a dramatic statement. The red okra is a beauty too. Almost too pretty to eat. I have planted hosta around our forest Pansy with ferns in the background. The darned ferns have encroached into the hostas now. I look at this every day out my studio window thinking I should get out there and remedy that situation. Try to stay cool this week.

    Oh Lisa, I hope you are right about that. We don’t have moles here, but the vole population is quite high. I would much rather imagine it as a vole than a snake, but it really wasn’t a burrowing, more like someone had drawn in the mulch with a stick.
    Your hosta planting sounds beautiful. When there is a cooler rainy day you could move the ferns together, away from the hostas. My area looks soooo much better like that, don’t know why I didn’t plant it that way in the first place. You too stay cool. 🙂
    Frances

  9. TC Conner says:

    I think you meant monarda Ms. Frances. 🙂 And ours used to reseed, but eventually died out completely.

    And do you have a good fried okra recipe? I’m growin some next year.

    Thanks TC. Why is it that after 1000 reviews, I can miss a typo like that? I do think the monardas can die out after a while. We bought some fresh ones last year to liven things up a bit. We don’t eat the okra so I have no recipes for you. There are probably some online. 🙂
    Frances

  10. Lona says:

    Hi Frances. Your purple buddleia is so pretty against the white blooms of your hydrangea. Oh girl, I am a hater of snakes too. Not matter the size or type.Having been bitten as a young girl, Ugh, they are all dead ones to me. LOL!

    Hi Lona, thanks. I cannot imagine being bitten by a snake! It is too horrible to even type the words!
    Frances

  11. That Bowling Red Okra is really something. I wonder if it would grow over here?

    Hi Rob, thanks. I am very pleased with this variety and will order it again. It is much more red than the one I grew last year. Okra likes heat and sun, like tomatoes and peppers. You can probably grow it there. The seeds came from Baker Creek Seeds.
    Frances

  12. Gail says:

    Frances, Nice combo~purple and white~It looks like Potter’s Purple is trying to steal a kiss from the PG! No cross species dating! Thanks to the prolific nature of a few plants in my garden I’m lucky to have swaths of color. Thank you Susans, x-asters, etc! There seems to be an abundance of attractive plants with little leaves! This may sound like an excuse, but I have noticed that the bigger the leaf the more water it demands! More so among natives, which I am quite fond of~ Speaking of bigger leaves~ The hostas looks wonderful~and that is a nice view from the comfort of your cool home on a hot day. This last year has dealt a tough blow to the monardas~They need a regularly moist environment… I do love and miss them. I have a new clemmie~ Clematis heracleifolia ‘China Purple’ very similar looking to yours….It followed me home~all the way from Missouri! Perhaps, I should copy and paste this as my next post~Sorry! xxgail

    Hi Gail, thanks. I agree about the hanky panky of Potter’s Purple, but wouldn’t that be a glorious plant! HA I agree about the xeric lack of large leaves. We are working on a couple of seedlings of Inula and then there is that Rudbeckia gigantea. Jindai is promising as well. I hope he spreads as advertised. I look forward to seeing you lovely new clemmie. Maybe she, Hera, is a cousin to Stan? 🙂
    Frances

  13. commonweeder says:

    I love the idea of all those wreaths. I planted an ornamental amaranth and it came up beautifully, but then the deer stopped by for lunch. They aren’t very graceful anymore, but they seem to have recovered very well. I do prefer the color of your okra though.

    Hi Pat, thanks. I love the amaranth but have trouble with it here. Seed or plant, it can’t take the heat, or maybe it is the drought. Glad yours recovered from the nibbling. The red okra is quite attractive. 🙂
    Frances

  14. Sometimes, simplest is best, as with the case of the Hostas under the Japanese Maple. Just terrific. Poor Naomi Campbell – it’s kind of like a demotion.

    Hi MMD, thanks. So true about simple. If we could just force ourselves to plant lots of one thing, the garden would look so much better. We are working on it. As for poor NC, it seems her troubles are just starting.
    Frances

  15. I guess I’m dumb because I still don’t get why Naomi is in so much trouble. She accepted diamonds from a dictator? I’ll admit I haven’t listened very closely. The diamond trade is a sticky one with terrible things probably because we humans are involved.

    You can deadhead the monarda and throw the seeds about I do all the time. As for the okra, good thing I don’t live nearby, I might accidentally eat some of it.

    I love your musings. Makes me think about what to do in the garden too.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks. You are anything but dumb! Who can keep up with the misadventures of these quasi celebrities? I believe Naomi acts rudely sometimes and now is in the news as a witness against a very bad man. She is a hostile witness and seems to have trouble with her story matching the testimony of others. But she looks fabulous! I will deadhead the monarda and spread the seeds, thanks. I would offer you some okra to eat, there is plenty! 🙂
    Frances

  16. VW says:

    I love the first shot with white hydrangea and deep violet butterfly bush! That snake trail would make me unsettled, for sure. The hostas do look gorgeous – you’ve got me thinking about little leaf syndrome in my front yard. I’m waiting for the flowering cherry trees to put out enough shade to plant some blue-green hostas, but it’s going to be a while. So the little leaves rule for now!

    Hi VW, thanks. The cherry trees should grow quickly. We are really pleased with the performance of the yellow leaf hostas, but love the blues too. Halcyon is the bluest one we grow here. Dang those little leaves! lol 🙂
    Frances

  17. kimberly says:

    Frances, your walkabout is beautiful! I love your blooms…especially the red okra..amazing! Your pumpkin is bumpy and intriguing. Your calla lily is also lovely!!

    Hi Kimberly, thanks for coming along! Isn’t that pumpkin unusual? I am excited about it. 🙂
    Frances

  18. It’s so fascinating how different gardens are across the continent, Frances. Maybe the payback for the early dazzling that so many of you more southerly gardeners experience is this mid-summer meltdown. As you know, I have plenty of coneflowers blooming, but there are also still oriental lilies, daylilies, roses, hydrangeas,k astilbes, phlox, monarda and a host of other things providing colour here. My cooler season does have its benefits, I guess, though I don’t think so in March. 🙂

    I’m sorry about the snake path. Hopefully your detour will send it somewhere else.

    And you know, Frances, I’m only teasing you. I have serious crape-myrtle envy, by the way, because of course it doesn’t grow here. And as always, I learn something new when I visit. We can’t grow okra here so I was astonished to see that its in the same family/genus as Flower of an Hour. Maybe F0aH is actually Okra and I didn’t know. Off to do some learning…

    Hi Jodi, thanks. Our regions are different, but we still want to grow the same plants. The crepes do well here, when other trees are wilting and sad, those bright blooms continue to delight us southerners. There are some okra relatives that are hardy, I believe. Someone even gave us seeds of something called a wild okra. I tossed the seeds somewhere in the garden this year, but don’t remember where. If a flower like that ever appears, the mystery will be solved.
    Frances

  19. Rose says:

    Oh dear, I think that if that raised bed were mine, it would never be planted again once any sign of a snake was seen! I’m impressed your Monarda are blooming again; I deadheaded some of mine in the hopes they would re-bloom, but nothing so far. The okra is really cool; I have kale planted for ornamentation, too. I suppose we could eat it, but I’d rather look at its flowers.
    I love calla lilies, but haven’t grown them for a few years. Miss ‘Naomi’ is quite fetching–I haven’t been watching the news lately, so thanks for updating me on the latest scandal:)
    The swath of hosta under the maple really looks good…and we’ll just call that creative syntax:)

    Hi Rose, thanks, creative syntax, I like it! HA I didn’t actually see the snake there, but believe me when I say my eyes are peeled when I am in that area now. Try giving your Monarda some extra water. They like that Kale is cool, but we have such a problem with cabbage white catts eating it to smithereens that I have given up on growing it. Except in the winter. The sunpower hostas are a bright spot in an otherwise dismal, to me, looking garden at the moment. If only we had bright golden large leaf plants that loved hot, dry sunshine! 🙂
    Frances

  20. Lola says:

    That Buddleia sure looks good. I’ve thought about getting one but don’t know how big it gets.
    What happened to Wayside? I still get mail from them.
    Oh, those snakes can go somewhere else. Can you imagine stepping on one & can’t move? Yikes.

    Hi Lola, thanks. I believe there are different sizes of the budds. This one is huge, easily double my height in one season. I thought Wayside went bankrupt. Wayside/Parks both did, they were co-businesses. I don’t want to think about that snake at all, let alone stepping on one. I would faint.
    Frances

  21. Joey says:

    You don’t need a theme, Frances. It’s always a joy to see you post 🙂 Though a neatnik, I never deadhead my monarda since it seems to make no difference in producing more prolific blooms … daisies, Susans another story … and speaking of stories, it’s about the snake path. I’m deathly afraid and in all my ‘old as dirt’ hours in the garden, have never seen one (hard to believe living in Michigan … oh, have seen plenty but not in my garden at home or up north … God is good). I can’t believe Cameron and Meems are OK with their visitors … so I do know how beneficial they are … but … fear takes precedence … and where snakes are concerned, I am a ‘huge’ wimp ! So, like you posting on a high note, I pray it’s not your rat snake …

    Hi dear Joey, thank you for that. I am glad to hear you have no snakes, even if they are good guys. I went ahead and deadheaded the Monarda yesterday. I could see little flower buds on the sides of most of them. Maybe waiting until those are seen is a good idea. 🙂
    Frances

  22. chuck b. says:

    The Clematis stans looks very cool. Do you like it? I’m sorry I couldn’t keep it in my garden…it just took too long to bloom in the small garden. (It’s all about real estate.)

    Of course I made that determination a couple years ago when I was still learning to practice patience.

    PS ‘Moonlight’, still doing well for me. Very much worth the billing.

    Hi Chuck, thanks. I was wondering about both the Stans and Moonlight. We had to dig one of our Moonlight’s up because it got that rosette diease, my daughter’s large one has it as well and we will have to dig it out, a huge job. Lucky for us both, we took cuttings that struck so have disease free back ups. I guess we took the cuttings before the disease showed up. We both bought hybrid teas About Face that infected our Moonlights. No more hybrid teas ever! Stans is a big fellow, with large leaves. Even without the blooms, he adds a presence to the space. Thanks for sending those seeds to Christopher! 🙂 We also had to dig out Thorny!
    Frances

  23. Benjamin says:

    I tell you what Frances, I struggle mightily with deadheading. This year with most of my monarda cultivars, I cut back some of the same plant, and left some. Nothing. Last year I cut it all back. Nothing. My monarda patches are empty and dead, devoid of leaves even, and it looks tired and awful. I decided years ago to never cut down coneflowers or their cousins–it ruins the winter landscape, and I’ve never had rebloom (maybe that’s because I’m in zone 5?). Anywho, jealous, upset, forelorn, you pick…. 🙂

    Hi Benjamin, thanks for stopping by for sharing your Monarda experiences with us. The Monarda are a fickle group of plants here as well. They require more moisture than we can offer to grow like the ones we saw in Buffalo. New plants were bought last fall and have done fairly well. I did not deadhead them unlit new buds were seen forming on the stem. The same with the Echinaceas. I want seedheads of both for winter interest and to feed the birds. The newly formed flowers should provide the winter interest and give a longer bloom period, I hope. Your colder zone might not give deadheaded plants a chance to rebloom before the first frost. Our first cold snap is usually at the end of October, so there is plenty of time. All I can suggest is….move. 🙂
    Frances

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