Garden Progress & Book Recommendations

I have too many plants in my garden. They’re not touching each other but next year it will be out of control. My other problem? I’m not getting enough sun. The first year the garden had too much rain, the second it was really hot and this year I think it’s just been normal? Usually by mid-July the sun is might higher in the sky and I get at least 3 hours of direct sun but this year it seems more filtered. All my plants feel 2 weeks behind last year?

My hydrangeas are looking gorgeous but the lace-cap variety only has a few blooms. I’m still kicking myself for pulling them out my front bed and replacing them with boxwoods which still have brown stains. I’m scouring garden sites for frost-proof planters to go on sale so I can pull the boxwoods out this fall and scatter them around my someday patio. Maybe hostas will make appearance in the front bed next?

I’m a little concerned about the light situation in my side garden. I know I can grow full sun plants in part sun and just deal with getting less blooms. But am I forcing something that’s just not going to work? When the plants get bigger next summer I can divide and edit but right now I’m feeling kinda frustrated. The back side of the house has hosta, ferns and pink astilbe. I’m enjoying the simplicity of just a few plants. I think I might need some professional help!

I have few new garden books on my nightstand to check out over the weekend. I’m excited to dive in and hopefully learn some tips. Maybe I can grow a garden like the cover of Dream Gardens of England?


Gertrude Jekyll and the Country House Garden: From the Archives of Country Life, discovered via design*sponge, $20 amazon.com.


Down To Earth With Helen Dillon, discovered via ill seen, ill said, $30 amazon.com.


Dream Gardens Of England, discovered via Found While Walking, $28 amazon.com.

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17 Comments

  1. Katy, I planted in front of my house this spring, too: my original vision included 6-8 different flowers and shrubs. My neighbor gave me some great advice: decide what you want to do, then nix at least half the plants on your list, and double the quantities of the remaining plants for more impact.

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  2. Your hydrangeas are spectacular, so blue, you must have great acidic soil. I am wondering id you could tell me what the green plant in the bottom picture is? I planted one just like it several years ago but I have no recollection of what it is, just something I rescued from the markdown section! Just an FYI, picked up this book recently at a local Barbaras Bookstore, its pretty great! Front Yard & Backyard Idea Book by Jeni Webber Permalink: http://amzn.com/1561587958 Happy gardening!

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  3. i am a retired garden designer and this is the biggest problem for gardeners in an urban/partial shady situation.. i like to think about perennials that are evergreen but clearly you like flowers and structure… what about christmas ferns, hellebores, annabelle hydrangeas…also plant a million bulbs they can take you through the spring at least..good luck

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  4. Nope never pruned them. The lace cap starting blooming this weekend but just has a lot less blooms then the two regular endless summers on either side. Who knows!

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  5. In my experience, hydrangeas will be very happy with part sun. They wilt in full sun. Did you prune them after July? That’s a no-no on the types that bloom on old wood. Google “pruning hydrangeas.”

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  6. so far all my attempts to plant hydrangeas have failed, but looking at your photos I will keep trying!
    PS I have been enjoying your blog for some time, so thanks!

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  7. So inspired by your post I looked for all of these in our library and couldn’t find them, but came up with a smashing alternative. Plan to do a post on Tuesday and give you props. Thank you for sharing! xoxo michele

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  8. You know, it is always interesting to hear people talk about their garden from year to year. Is there such a thing as a “normal” year? Just another reminder that there is so much to learn from the garden…

    I hope you don’t mind me adding to your list of books. I thought you may like Steven Orr’s new book, Tomorrow’s Garden.

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  9. I’m having a hard time with the garden this year. Too much rain and too many weeds and the garden has become too big for me. I need help. I planted the veg patch but it has been so cold and wet near Vancouver, my basil is one month old and is still minute. I have to fight the slugs off.

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  10. In my opinion, you’ve done the right thing (even if by default) by going through all 4 seasons (and more) with your boxwood in the front of your house. Between the snow, the snowplow and the dog pee, I think you have earned the right to call “the pros” to help you landscape the front of your house. Even if it seems like a small area, it is an important area because it is the front of your house! And it’s so beautiful and you are working so hard to restore it for the next generations. Go for it. p.s. I agree with Olga about the Hosta – probably not a good choice for your needs. The dogs will not change and neither will their owners…. pee-tolerant plantings are what’s needed here!

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  11. Oh, boy – more books to add to my Amazon wish list! ;) Especially coveting the top and bottom ones.

    We finally bit the bullet last spring and got some professional help for our little garden. I can tell you that it’s well worth it. Figuring out spacing, height, lighting situations, etc. is totally overwhelming for me and it really helped to have an objective, knowledgeable eye. I’m sure your garden looks fantastic (the pic snippets are lovely!) but if you’re getting frustrated, it might be a good thing to bring someone in. :)

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  12. I wouldn’t put hostas in your front garden. They are really slow in the spring, and look messy in the fall, also in my experience they don’t like pee. I think the front needs to have something that looks good for as long as possible (preferably always). What about Cornus Alba (Red Barked Dogwood) It looks good in every season, can take shade, very hardy and you can get dwarf varieties if you want something smaller. Yew is another one that would work, but I personally don’t like it. It’s boring throughout seasons. I would try Cornus Alba…

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  13. I’ve heard others say that plants are behind, because of this years’ brand of weather.. plants and knowledge of them growing simultaneously at my house.

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  14. Oh I am having gardening woes as well and it’s a normal year here in wnc too! Drat! The full sun is baking all my wee friends and the shade is too much for my others. I’ve been horrible at getting into a watering routine. Yes, I’m a bad garden parent this go round. I could use a garden mentor for sure! Good luck to you!

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