This is part of a summer review series with an overview and evaluation of each garden area, including the right front border, left front border, side border, both front entrances, the rose garden, the "garden-to-be" and all the containers.
The main entrance (which isn't used) features planters that I've put out just about every year with something different planted in them each time. This year they have classic spikes, 'Madness Midnight' petunias and 'New Carpet of Snow' alyssum. My delight with the performance of the petunias was expressed in the post O Ye of Little Faith. I'm really pleased with how these containers turned out; the plants make a strong long-distance impact and also look beautiful close up.
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This entrance has a few non-garden-related issues that need to be addressed: getting the brick walkway leveled and getting the foundation stucco repaired & painted. But this area has improved quite a bit over the season. I kept adding containers, following a yellow color theme with daylilies, violas, sunflower (not shown in the photo above) and coreopsis. Early on I planted sunflowers around and behind the containers with the goal of masking the unsightly foundation and adding to this area, but the seedlings were promptly eaten. So I put in some things that I received in the Plant Swap with my sister: purple coneflower, shasta daisy, another type of coreopsis, and daylily 'Stella d'Oro.' The 'Stella d'Oro' doesn't appear to have survived, but everything else (though not tall enough yet to show in this photo) is doing well. Since this photo was taken, I cut back the daylilies and removed the spent violas in the large planters, replacing them with Safari Bolero and Safari Yellow marigolds.
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The Fiesta Pink Ruffle double impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) were absolutely gorgeous:
They're pretty much spent by now; the photo above is from earlier in the season. For a view of this basket in all its glory, visit Double Impatiens in Charming Display.
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The lily of the valley, also received in the Plant Swap, has weathered a traumatic season of onslaught by the neighborhood squirrels. Their plight was documented in the They're Seedlings, Not Snacks and Squirrels! posts. Thankfully, the attacks trailed off eventually. At this pont, the lily of the valley isn't really flourishing; I'm just happy that it has survived. Onward and upward next year!
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The rieger begonia finished its stunning initial bloom (featured in the Pink "Puff" Begonia post) and has maintained robust health, deep green foliage and perfect form. It recently put forth some new blossoms in an end-of-season burst of beauty. (To view a blossom close-up, click here.)
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Other new container additions this year which were featured in their own posts are:
- rosularia sedoides var. Alba (sempervivella)
- herbs (including the fast-growing mint)
- tomato plants & gerbera daisy (tomato output is highlighted here and here, and gerbera daisy close-ups are here and here)
- lavender & caladium (with a caladium close-up included in this post)
(Note: I don't like to post the same photo more than once; that's why I'm including links rather than showing the pictures of these plants here.)
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FUTURE PLANS: Try something new at the main entrance next year just for fun. In the meantime, these containers need to be changed for the fall. Add more pots to this area next year, because this is the only "floored" outdoor spot and is thus suited to containers. Replace the big pair of terra cotta containers at the second entrance. The backs of these are broken sections, now situated to be hidden from view. The pots have simply worn out over the years. But I need to be able to turn the planters for balanced plant gowth. Get the same type of double impatiens and rieger begonia again if possible next year. When the weather gets cooler, move the herb collection into the indoor garden room (the color of the enamelware will fit nicely) and see if it survives. Consider bringing the boxwood indoors for the winter -- there's a corner of the garden room it would look perfect in. And bring in the caladium and the rosularia. So an unplanned benefit of my outdoor container expansion will be a wonderfully enhanced indoor garden this winter. My outdoor container wish list for next year also includes a coleus planter and a plant collage. My long-term outdoor wish list includes a deck, patio, or pergola -- for a congenial seating area and, of course, as a gathering place for more containers!