Frothiness


A sleeping bee was noticed on Phlox paniculata ‘David’ this morning. It rained a bit during the night and he was still sodden as the petals. Do bees sleep through rain? I see them landing on Echinceas at dusk to settle in for the night. So they stay there for the whole time? Oh, the mysteries of the universe, but this story is about frothiness, not bees, so onward.


Frothiness, you might ask, what is that, anyway? Not to be confused with truthiness and frivolousness, frothiness, for our purposes today is the suggestion of foam, like whitewater, in the garden. Some might have to use their imaginations a bit to follow along. Some might see it right away. Both ways are correct. Do you see the frothiness of the Queen Anne’s lace, Daucus carota?


Not just flowers, but foliage can have that frothy aspect, as well. Even if it never blooms, and being a biennial, so research claims, blooming will mean death, Seseli gummiferum is a white water wad of silvery, lacy, luscious leaves. This was purchased at Dragonfly Farms in Seattle during the 2011 garden blogger fling.


For our purposes, froth is going to be thought of as having golden hues in addition to white. Think of the setting sun casting a shining gleam on the breakers. English variegated ivy, cultivar unknown has fastened itself to the long wall behind the main house to cascade calmly to the gravel.


Cascading calmly downward is quite common here, due to the steeply sloping terrain of the entire property. Choosing plantings that will do just that has shown itself to be a wise course. Erica ‘Westwood Yellow’ is a year around shower of pale perfection.


Out front, in the raised bed permanent planting that laughs in the face of the heat and drought, the cool blue of Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’ is complemented by golden oregano, Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’, now in flower. Nary a drop of water supplied by the gardener has graced this bed this season and the plants show no harm. Amazingly fresh and frothy!


Following this year’s proclamation of more food crops, small seedlings of winterbor kale were stuck in an open spot. They haven’t grown much, but look good enough as ornamentals. Somehow, the white cabbage butterfly has left them alone, too. So far. Maybe that recipe for kale chips that was repinned on Pinterest will be used after all.


Truly planted to resemble a waterfall, originally in solid bronze Carex ssp., click here to read the story, the addition of sprigs of blue fescue, Festuca glauca has helped the grassy river look more alive than dead. The fescue is growing much faster than the carex so adjustments in color proportions will be made this fall. Westwood yellow is seen overhanging the grassy waterfall.


This brings us to the inspiration piece for this post. Sitting underneath the deck during these hottest of summer days since weather record keeping began, the drying seed heads of Stipa (Nasella) tenuissima hanging downward reminded us of the froth of the ocean waves recently enjoyed during our family beach vacation.


The statuesque calla lily, Zantedeschia ‘Naomi Campbell’ is the perfect foil to the vision. Ahhhh, nearly negative ions.

Frances

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14 Responses to Frothiness

  1. Very refreshing, Frances. Thanks for that “sea breeze” on this muggy summer morning. I’ve always wanted the elegant Queen Anne’s Lace in my garden but feared it might take over. Did you dig it from the side of the road or are there more desirable cultivars to be had?

    Thanks Georgia. The Queen Anne’s Lace is hardly taking over here, I can barely get it to seed about! Some just showed up at the back of the property and I have been spreading mature seeds for years, with usually only one plant germinating. I would love to get it going in the lawn/meadow.
    Frances

  2. Layanee says:

    Still enjoying the fresh face of summer, I see.

    Hi Layanee, yes, still enjoying it, heat, drought and all. It is raining now, though, so the plants are much happier. So am I.
    Frances

  3. Crystal says:

    Your Stipa in the last two photos really does look like either a waterfall or ocean waves. What an unusual display, very nice.

    Thanks Crystal. That is a very steep corner so the grasses always hang down. The seed heads will need to be removed at some point, but they are still pretty now. I use gloved hands to comb through the grass over and over, the seeds come free easily when they are all dried up.
    Frances

  4. I hadn’t thought about the bees getting all wet. I supposed they hid under the leaves. The universe is miraculous and odd all at once. Yay for frothiness. I love it.

    Thanks Dee, it is indeed. I see those wet, sleeping bees a lot lately. I guess they are okay!
    Frances

  5. I always love when you link to a specific previous post that adds historical detail to the current one. It gives me a chance to extend my visit to Fairegarden and see additional parts of it.
    In the picture featuring the blue star juniper and golden oregeno, my eye was caught by what was growing in the royal blue pots. My first impression was that each container held the tip of a pine bough but then my assessment progressed to a yucca type plant …do tell and end my uncertainty. The Stipa tenuissima is glorious…I almost hear the sun kissed waves tickling the shore…so graceful and beautiful.

    Thanks so much, Michaele. Those old posts are often pertinent to the new ones and help readers understand what I am talking about. I appreciate your clicking on those links. The blue pots do contain yuccas, Color Guard is the cultivar. They at first were planted with Golden Sword but that turned out not to be as yellow as Color Guard. This May our Lowe’s had the Color Guards and I bit the bullet and bought 5 of them, replanting Golden Sword in my daughter Semi’s garden. The Stipa is so wonderful, I could have a whole yard filled with it.
    Frances

    A couple of weeks ago, we had a little back and forth on how to most effectively groom the Stipa when it gets overly bedraggled with its seedheads. You made mention that you use your hands and felt that gave a desired tidying. You were so right! Much, much better than the premature cutting back I was doing. Thanks so much for taking the time to clue me in. Now, I don’t think I even remotely qualify as anal retentive but ( ha, upon reading the following, you might be laughing and shaking your head) I gave my Stipa grasses a final comb through (literally) with a very sturdy plastic wide tooth comb and felt ridiculously pleased that they stood a bit taller but were still so luminescent and airy.

    What a good idea, Michaele! I might have to try that wide comb idea, as it takes several passes to clean up the Stipa. I admit, sometimes it doesn’t get done until winter. I am not very neat, in the garden.

  6. Ah – trust the Faire Francis to fashion a fabulous frappe from a few photos and frothy thoughts!
    One of those posts that remind me why when in a hurry I never bin your links unread! 😉

    You make me laugh, Jack, with your over the top comments. Thanks!
    Frances

  7. commonweeder says:

    Beautiful, cool froth! And from such a serious gardener. I really appreciate all the plant names. Makes me try to do better on that front.

    Thanks Pat. It takes extra time to get the names and spellings right on the plants featured in the photos. Sometimes I don’t double check and get it wrong. I count on others to set me straight then.
    Frances

  8. skeeter says:

    Yes, I see the froth within! I cannot believe you have not had to water that lush front planter. Lucky you to chose the perfect plants for this spot! The last two pictures really capture the Froth. Now you need to add some blue to the color scheme for Ocean water….

    Hi Skeeter, thanks. Finding plants that can survive without extra water has been a goal here for several years. The Stipa has really given above and beyond in many ways in the garden. It’s a beauty!
    Frances

  9. Cyndi says:

    Hi Frances,

    I just recently found your blog and this is the first email post to me that you posted. I so enjoyed my time here before when I decieded to follow your wonderful blog!

    Your descriptions are like poetry in motion and I also admire your naming your plants for identification. I am just starting my gardens as we just moved to Western North Carolina and I am loving the native plants. We have fields of Queen Anne’s Lace right now and got some very much needed rain today. I stake them over and over in my garden area and I even cut some today by a full roadside to try to dry the heads, ( an experiment) They are so elegant and beautiful. Some stand beautifully, maybe I don’t have the roots deep enough.
    I will refer back to your earlier post for more information, what a great idea!

    Smiles, Cyndi

    Hi Cyndi, thanks and welcome. I appreciate your support! The Queen Anne’s Lace can be a flopper when not supported by other tall plants, like it is in open fields. You could trim back the top portion to allow the side shoots to branch and flower, or prop it up like you are doing. Good luck with spreading it by seeds. It is a biennial, which means it will die after blooming. Allow the seeds to completely mature before harvesting and spreading in late summer. The baby plants should appear and winter over, to bloom the next year. Good luck and you live in a very beautiful part of the country!
    Frances

  10. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You do have a lot of froth here Frances. It looks marvelous in the heat. You could easily name your garden “The Cascades”. All you need is a waterfall. 🙂

    Hi Lisa, thanks. I do have a little waterfall in the pond, it is more of a trickle but still offers the sound of falling water and adds oxygen for the fish.
    Frances

  11. Linda says:

    Good one, Frances……….anyone for a cappuccino?

    Good one back at you, Linda! HA

  12. Rose says:

    The Stipa really does look like a waterfall. I hope seeing it helps to keep you cool in this heat as well.

    Thanks Rose. Seeing the plants that suggest water does help, but nothing helps as much as rain. We have been lucky to be getting some of that sweet stuff.
    Frances

  13. I love the last 2 pictures and can see how you were inspired…I love the idea of frothiness in the garden…right now we are in a drought and need some moisture to get any kind of frothiness of blooms going..

    Thanks Donna. I hope you get some rain soon. We have gotten some rain and it makes a world of difference to the garden, and to my mood.
    Frances

  14. Your comment about choosing plants that cascade down the slope reminds me again that when you live in the same garden for many years you start to have a symbiotic relationship with that particular piece of land. You know it not with your brain, but with your heart. This is something I didn’t realize I had with my old garden until I moved and didn’t (still don’t, really) feel it with the new garden.

    Hi Kathy, thanks for adding to the conversation here. It takes time to get in sync with your piece of land. Having moved many times and started a new garden each one of those times, I can only advise you that establishing that special relationship takes….time. You will feel it in your new space soon, my friend.
    Frances

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