Did you ever notice that the best time to finish a relatively non-essential task is when you really should be doing something else? Specifically, something that has a much more urgent deadline? I have been putting off cleaning the house for reasons that I don't want to go into fully at the moment... but they may involve me being a fairly stubborn girl who feels that she receives an overall lack of assistance from a certain someone else who tends to get my house just as messy as I do.
So instead of cleaning the house--which I should have been doing all day since my brother and sister-in-law (the Apartment Dwellers, not the Overachievers) are coming to stay at my place tomorrow night--I decided it was time to go outside for a good long session of garden therapy.
All of the gardens could use lots of work, but I started in the front yard, as you might have guessed from the picture above. My yard is on a bit of a slope, and I like the way the front garden looks from the sidewalk, particularly when the morning sun backlights the 'Golden Sword' yucca in the front corner.
The huge stand of bronze fennel absolutely glows in the morning light, too:
The bronze fennel amazes me. It somehow grows in a 1ft by 6ft strip of dirt between the porch and the driveway, without the benefit of water. The roof overhang prevents it from getting much more than a little mist of moisture when it rains, and the gardener is too stingy to water it when it looks this good without her help. I do cut it back occasionally, however, which I did shortly after taking its photo today. (No big loss in cutting it back hard. The butterflies have ignored it for the past few years anyway... *sigh*)
Another garden feature that I love to see in the morning light is my urn planting:
A lot of people--bloggers, magazines and media alike--have been talking about container recipes and plans this year. I would love to have an elegant, zen-like look to my container plantings, and that's always my original goal, but somehow I always end up with the "everything but the kitchen sink" planting scheme instead. I think my problem is that I just can't pass up fun textures, like these:
I want to pet this fuzzy-leaf plectranthus argenteus whenever I see it, but it looks really adorable mixing with the silver lotus vine under the blades of red cordyline. In the shadows at the back of this picture you can see part of the 'Golden Delicious' pineapple sage... I overwintered everything you see here except for the lotus vine, so it was a fairly cheap container to put together.
But more on that later. A couple of other things in the garden proper caught my eye today, including a new bloom:
This is one of three echinops ritro, aka globe thistle, that I bought from Bluestone Perennials this spring. I didn't really expect any of them to bloom for me yet this year, as Bluestone plants are usually very healthy but very small, but I've been loving the foliage--it reminds me of cardoons. Seeing this little flower, which looks to me like the horticultural version of the mace, really made my day.
And then I had to take a picture to show just how nicely the golden marjoram, origanum vulgare 'Aureum,' mixes in with its neighbors:
It's almost at its mingling limit with the purple heucheras, so I gave the heuchera (and a nearby purple sage, and some hellebores) some breathing room this afternoon by pulling and cutting enough clumps of oregano out from their perimeter. I just love using this as a groundcover, though, both where the dog tends to pounce on the garden and where it only has to look good.
Speaking of looking good, it's now past midnight so I can now officially freak myself out by saying that Craig and Jen are going to be arriving at my house later today. Yikes! Time to go clean the kitchen before heading to bed...