Thursday, July 17

Jungle Garden Details

I have been feeling a little bit guilty about something. In my July Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day post, I am afraid that I made it sound that I was completely dismayed by my backyard jungle garden. In reality, I am equally dismayed and delighted by this bed. Some things are a bit overgrown and weedy, but other things are shaping up almost as I had envisioned.

And the mix of textures and leaf colors are really pleasing my eye. Especially here, where the spikey little bluestem grass leads your eye up to the brown carex and upright zebra grass... and then the round lilypad-like leaves of ligularia ground the whole composition. They reel you in and send your eye swirling back around the garden again:

When you look closer at this combination, the leaf color really takes on more prominence. The bluestem, brown carex and 'Plum Pudding' heuchera brighten up the plain green of the portulaca, whose red-orange flowers complement their surroundings and tie in the orange of the chimney tile at the same time:

The portulaca was a particularly good choice for this chimney tile, it turns out, because it's more than fine with the relative dryness there, and it cascades down the sides of the tile even better than I had hoped. This primitive wildness makes a nice contrast with the upright formality of the grasses:

The portulaca flower colors also echo the native honeysuckle, lonicera sempervirens, that is planted nearby against the fence. After admiring this vine in Annie's beautiful garden, I planted one last year in my own. I love the bright flowers and the glaucous leaves against the brown-stained fence:

As I was photographing the honeysuckle, a little burst of purple caught my eye. I had planted some succulents in this birdbath bowl after it cracked last year. It winters over in a sunny area at the top of my stairs, as some of the succulents that reside here are not winter hardy even in the ground. I like the mixture of leaf colors here, too, and I never really expected to see one of the nonhardy succulents offer up this lovely flower as well:

So, to be fair to my little jungle garden, I wanted to show you a few of the details in it that I particularly enjoy. And maybe once the eggplants start to really fill out, and the gardener gets around to weeding it... maybe there will be a few more highlights to show!


Anonymous said...

I love the succulents in the birdbath -- what a greata idea! I covet your honeysuckle. I have such fond memories of eating it off the plants around my babysitter's house with her kids. The smell always makes me 6 years old again.

Anonymous said...

Spikes and succulents! Great textures and we are all our own worst critics but we each love our gardens for the good, the bad and the downright ugly!

Kylee Baumle said...

Can you believe I still haven't found any Bluestem? I've been wanting it. Yours is gorgeous!

I sure hope I'm able to get to Cleveland before summer is over, so I can see your garden. I wish it wasn't so far as to require an overnight stay, but really, it does. There are too many lovely things to see while there!

Annie in Austin said...

A more manicured garden and lawn might be pleasant for someone viewing it through a car window as they pass by, but a jungle is much more interesting when one is the resident gardener!
There's always something new to see in your garden, Kim, and even a short stroll makes you feel like you've been somewhere.

May your native-but-not-fragrant coral honeysuckle bring you a hummingbird~

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Anonymous said...

I love that brown carex. It adds such richness to orange and burgundy compositions. You'll see some in my upcoming Chanticleer post.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Jungle or not, ya got it goin' on girl! I wish my porcupine grass looked like your zebra, but hopefully next year. Carex are just all so lovely--I haven't seen one I wouldn't invite home for a night cap (or something, ahem).

herself said...

I just stumbled upon your garden blog a month or so ago and wanted to tell you I've really been enjoying reading it.

Unknown said...

Heather, I was SO bummed when this birdbath cracked! I was picking it up off of the base when a chunk of the side literally came up in my hand--and nothing else. I figured that I had to do something with it.

This particular honeysuckle isn't fragrant at all, but it is a native... hence it earned a place in my garden. And wow does it ever flower a lot!

Thanks, Layanee! I think you're right, we are all our own worst critics. :)

Kylee, I can't believe that... because I got mine at Bluestone, and I know you mentioned getting a few other things from them this spring.

Maybe next spring you should plan to come to Cleveland instead of trying to fit in another visit alongside the marathon training, etc. The Botanical Garden will be having their bi-annual flower show again in 2009, and you can view the "Films" show while you're here that way!

You're right, Annie, this way is much more interesting for the resident gardener. And I appreciate your compliments... particularly because all strolls are short in my little urban garden, so I hope that they all make someone feel that they've been "somewhere!" *smile*

Oh, and I hope the hummingbirds hear you! I haven't seen any on the honeysuckle yet, but I keep looking... maybe I should hedge my bets and put a feeder up near it as well?

Pam, I love these brown grasses, even though I know that some people feel that they "look dead!" The c. buchanii that I have had for a few years now is lovely mixed in with blues in the front yard, and now I know that they work well with oranges and burgundies, too. Can't wait to see what they did with these at Chanticleer!

Aw, Benjamin, thanks! These zebra grasses seem to skip that whole "second year they creep" thing, so I bet yours gets much bigger by next year already. And I'm SOOO with you on the carexes!

herself, thank you very much for the lovely comment. I can't wait to check out your blogs--looks like you have multiple plant/garden blogs. Yay!

The Diva said...

Hi Kim, I love zebra grass with its spiky foliage and the yellow & green stripes. I also grow the brown carex and some succulents, but they succulents have never bloomed.~~Dee

Kylee Baumle said...

Duh me. I never thought to look for it there. Next year! And you may be right, but I've still got plants set aside for you! That means YOU have to come here then, doesn't it? ;-)

Oh we'll get together, I have no doubt. The plants will still be growing here for whenever we can manage to "make the drop."

Anonymous said...

That sounds better and I'm so pleased for you that you took a look at what _you_ like in your garden and what appeals to you. I think that's part of the problem with some of this blogging -- the blooms may appear 'bloomier' on the other side of the blogging fence. Your garden is purely lovely. Enjoy. (yes, I know 'bloomier' is not a real word).

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Looking at your little jungle, I realize I am doing my Little Bluestem a great disservice leaving it behind the Aster laevis. (Pun unintentional.) It deserves to come, if not to the front of the border, at least to a more prominent position. I love the color echo of the Portulaca & the Honeysuckle.

Kerri said...

Your garden is a wonderful mix of colors and textures. A little crazy is OK, don't you think? I have to just enjoy the view of several of my beds from a distance a good part of the time or I'd go crazy trying to keep them all looking like I think they're supposed to. Of course I see them up close every day and cringe at all the work that needs to be done.
The portulaca in the chimney tile really is perfect!
A friend gave me a honeysuckle that looks just like yours. I'm still trying to decide where to plant it.
Love your little birdbath garden, and especially the little pink flower. My sedum dish garden has been so pretty this summer.

lisa said...

I like your jungle a lot, you are so creative in your combinations! Don't you just love how cooperative portulaca is for punishing planters and dry spots? I use some of my perennial sedums that way too, especially if they get too big for their britches. (Or too big for their roots....something! ;-)

ChrisND said...

Thanks for commenting at my blog...Somehow I have been missing visiting your blog.

I popped over and I am glad because now I can id one of my plants I lost the tag for...we have a ligularia in one spot. I really like the large leaves and I see yours also wilt down in the middle of the day.

Gail said...

I really like the bluestem, it is a lovely color for a grass! I have sevral in my garden and they are just now beginning to send up their grassy bloom! I agree a nice contrast to the pot with the portulaca.

Anonymous said...

Great pics. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one that converted a birdbath into a place to plant some succulents.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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