tweaking time

I just spent some time looking through a grab bag of photos. It’s a good time to take stock of what worked, what didn’t and what to do about it. As our friends across the pond might say, “jiggering”.

Buddha’s Hand cosmos

It’s hard to know what to expect when growing something new from seed. The dainty ‘Buddha’s Hand’ Cosmos are not the desired orange, but more golden.

Buddha’s Hand with Leonotis

They peek coquettishly through the base of Leonotis, also grown from seed. The Lion’s Tail grew to mammoth proportions, making it a poor choice for placement towards the front of this new bed.

Lion’s Tail with bronze fennel

It played nicely with the bronze fennel, but eclipsed the ‘Pretty Woman’ trying to assert herself at the bottom of the photo.

after the rain

When the rains came, they flopped, squashing all of those little cosmos. This bed is in for a major overhaul come spring. Most of the offenders are annuals, so no big deal. I chalk it up to “live and learn’.

Nicotiana langsdorfii

Another annual from seed, Nicotiana langsdorfii, performed admirably. It’s one of those see-through plants, with dangling acid-green flowers rising sporadically on tall stems from ground-level rosettes…and it doesn’t try to upstage ‘Pretty Woman’.

Phygelius ‘Devil’s Tears’

Nor does it obscure Phygelius ‘Devil’s Tears’ at the back of the bed.

Lion’s Tails in sun

A couple of the ‘Lion’s Tails’ placed in a sunnier location with less water grew to only three feet. Next year, I think I’ll try them along the fence line, where the conditions split the difference. I like them enough to keep trying.

grass in the dry berm

Back in July, the dry berm was being invaded by these annoying grasses.

grass roots

With the help of my trusty screwdriver, I dug deep to remove the roots (well on their way to reaching for China). Now the grasses are back. Maybe not as plentiful as before, but unless I do something they are sure to reestablish their foothold.
When I started this berm, I laid down thick layers of newspaper to smother the grass before piling on the soil mix. I loathe the idea of dismantling and starting from scratch, but a lifelong career of digging out grass roots is not too appealing either. Any suggestions?

Persicaria ‘Purple Shield’ roots

All roots are not created equal. The foliage of Persicaria ‘Purple Shield’ makes a wonderful filler for bouquets, all the while sprouting roots like crazy. Voila! More little purple shields coming up. Same story with the coleus to the right, but I’ll just replace those with new ones next year.

Heuchera ‘Sashay’

The most interesting feature of Heuchera ‘Sashay’ is the reddish color on the undersides of its leaves. Tucked away in the ground, who knew?

‘Sashay’ in hanging pot

No elevated walls around here to show it off to advantage, but a hanging pot is the next best thing. Once it recovers from transplant shock, I expect a nice glow from those leaves.

Gooseneck loosestrife in sun

Gooseneck loosestrife is famous for going crazy when it is happy, so I put a clump of it where it would get neither the shade nor abundant water it craves. True, it resists running amok, but it also comes off as somewhat anemic.

gooseneck loosestrife in shade

By contrast, in the woodland, the foliage is lush and deep green, showing off those cute little goose heads which I adore. Sometimes a little extra effort to keep things in bounds is well worth it.

monkey puzzle tree

My monkey puzzle tree started out as a mere twig. It is finally beginning to put on significant growth. At Cistus, they have several, and I was taken with the dense plantings crowding around them. Not crowding this close though. Come spring, I’m going to need to find a new spot for that wonderful Euphorbia ‘Fire Charm’. How about you? What needs tweaking now that the season is drawing to a close?

16 Responses to “tweaking time”

  1. Alison Says:

    Oh yes, how well I know the problem of plants that are too big near the front of the border. But right now all the tweaking I’m doing is still in my mind.

  2. ricki Says:

    Alison~Mindful mind tweaking is the best kind…and easier on the back.

  3. Shirley Says:

    Love the little goosenecks, plants in the right place look sooo much better. We can’t know unless we move them around and our blogs are a great place to put those ideas right where they can be referenced.

    We still have a lot of big projects and tweaking is a small part of it so I might come up with a few to post so I can refer back to them.

  4. Anna K Says:

    Hmmm… what needs tweaking, you ask? Well – a lot. Probably enough for about 3-4 blog entries, I should think. And if I don’t get it done this year, it may be a missed opportunity by next season. Wish it was annuals, but it’s more like shrubs in my case. Lots and lots of shrubby marvels I don’t really have room for. Editing is so painful…

  5. Anna B Says:

    Everything in my garden needs a bit of tweaking this year! The thing that I often reflect on and change the most are my edibles, but then the following year I either get too little or too much! It’s the fun of gardening though I guess :)

  6. linda Says:

    A bit of “jiggering'” over here, I’m was very pleased that I dig up and split up two huge clumps of Kniphofia , now to tackle the Eryngium !

  7. Scott Weber Says:

    Oh yes…Autumn is all about taking stock of what did and didn’t work…and taking a bit of action…I’ve changed at least 4 or 5 areas around this fall…and still have to tackle the back yard!

  8. ricki Says:

    Shirley~Your tweaking post will be good self-reference, but it’s also fun and informative for the rest of us.

    Anna K~Oh dear…shrubs are a lot harder to dig and replace. Editing (words as well as plants) seems to be a special skill of yours.

    Anna B~Never getting it quite perfect may be part of what propels us forward.

    Linda~”Jiggering” sounds just right coming from you.

    Scott~I’m flagging a bit, but I know if I wait til spring the new plans will have flown right out of my mind.

  9. Peter/Outlaw Says:

    I’ve got several large projects that need to be done. Probably won’t happen this fall but by Late January or February when we’re longing to get outside again, I’ll start.

    Can you cut an edge around your berm with a little trench about 3 inches deep? Grass ends here, little trench, berm starts here. the roots are a little less aggressive that wan and a weed trimmer can keep the edge sharp and cut off any wayward grass roots.

  10. Tatyana@MySecretGarden Says:

    Hi Ricki! It always amazes me how differently the same plant looks in different spots in the garden. Love your Gooseneck loosestrife in the shady corner!

  11. Mark and Gaz Says:

    Nice to hear your plans Ricki, lots of jiggering and re-jigging going to happen in your garden for next year! Suffice to say the same here…

  12. ricki Says:

    Peter~I look forward to following your large projects come spring. Good idea about the trench. I’ll try it…and thanks.

    Tatyana~Despite all the available info to help with siting, the plants seem to have their own ideas, don’t they?

    Mark & Gaz~Keeps things interesting and provides blog fodder.

  13. Sarah/Galloping Horse Garden Says:

    Forget tweaking. I feel like starting over! One of the first things I’d want to add is a monkey puzzle tree. They are the coolest.

  14. ricki Says:

    Sarah~Once you start looking, you see monkey puzzles in some of the most surprising places.

  15. Heather Says:

    Your heuchera placement is genius!

  16. ricki Says:

    Heather~Genius? I blush.

Leave a Reply