Monday, September 6, 2010

Okay, most of the garden really is a mess, but again, I'm focusing on the plants that have survived and in some cases thrived despite neglect. Enough on guilt. One of the strategies I've adopted for deck pots is using more perennials instead of the at times needier annuals.
Monarda (probably didydma) or Bee Balm is a late blooming perennial that seems to be happy in the garden beds or in a large pot on the deck. This was another pass-a-long plant whose variety was lost in the chain of gardeners. The long tubular red flowers attract hummingbirds, I'm assuming females and juveniles this time of year. The only care this plant seems to need is a hard trimming back in the fall and a dose of compost or slow release fertilizer in the spring.

Another late season bloomer in the garden is this species of Gentian. This one looks similar to the native blue gentian that grows in our area, but the frilly structures between the 5 petal lobes set this one apart. If I remember correctly the inter petal lobe structures are shaped more like onion domes than frills.
This plant was a gift from Les Brake, who keeps an amazing garden in Willow, Alaska. It seems to have a slow, but steady growth and produces more flowers each year.
I"m fortunate enough to have two of these plants in the garden, one lives on the end of one of the vegetable beds at the feet of a Rose (Maidens Blush) the other is currently between the Horseradish and the cabbage.
From the location of the second gentian, it should be clear which task I need to prioritize in the garden, reconstructing the flower beds so I can move the randomly placed perennials out of the vegetable beds. I have tended to "temporarily" house interesting plants in the vegetable beds and over the years, things are out of hand. The Siberian Elm, White spruce and birch trees definitely need to move.
So far I've managed to get through about half of the flower bed and moved the Ostrich ferns (Matteucicia struthiopteris) out of the flower bed and into a place more suited to their spreading habits. I've lifted a flat or two of daffodils to redistribute once I get the entire area clear.