12 June 2013

Sharing My Summer Garden (2011)

Note: I originally published this post on The Sparrow Tree Square Blog on July 27, 2011. It is one of a handful of Sparrow Tree Square posts that I'm moving over here, where they better fit.

Back in May, I mentioned in my author spotlight on Beverley Nichols how every year my mother and I plan a new look for our summer garden. Because we only plant annual flowers, every summer gives us the opportunity to mix things up by trying different species, color schemes, and arrangements.

Today, I thought I'd share some photos of how this year's effort turned out. Luckily these were taken a couple of weeks ago, since the heat wave we experienced this past weekend left the flowers looking a little worse for wear!

We planted geraniums in our large planters this year, the first time we've ever tried growing them since moving from Philadelphia to New Jersey about fourteen years ago. This picture shows a close-up of one of the individual blossoms on the flower heads, but unfortunately the heads were much fuller earlier in the season. You can see in the next picture that they're looking a little scraggly now -- I'd love any suggestions on how to get bigger blooms back on geraniums if any of my readers know!

In our smaller planters, we did miniature purple petunias. I love petunias and have used the full-size kind before, but removing the dead flower heads is kind of a pain after the plants get big and full. I find the mini variety easier to take care of, since the water from the hose's shower setting does a pretty good job of knocking off the tiny dead blossoms. You can still see the dead blossoms in these photos, though, since they were taken prior to watering.

As an added bonus, purple mini petunias have the most gorgeous yellow centers that regular petunias don't have. I love how bright and cheerful the purple-and-yellow combo looks!

In our front bed, we did a mix of white begonias (which we've had before) and peach portulaca (which we haven't had since moving). The begonias always do really well, and fill up the back corner nicely.

I think the portulaca might be my favorite this year, though. They're so easy to take care of, since they don't need deadheading and retain water for a long time in their spiky leaves. Mostly, though, I just love how pretty they are.

While I'll probably never be as talented as Mr. Beverley Nichols was, I'm still pretty happy with the way everything turned out this year. Now I just have to find a way to keep the summer flowers bright and beautiful all through the dog days in August!

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