As any avid (or even an amateur) garden enthusiast knows, gardens are an ever changing landscape (no pun intended).

Plants grow, mature, and have seasonal fireworks of blossoms and, sadly, some die, joining the great compost pile in the sky (or backyard, as the case may be).  In any event, the one thing I have come to understand is that the only consistency in a garden is its unpredictability (and inconsistency).  Yes, I know that certain plants can and do bloom at certain times, but haven’t you had a plant that will suddenly stop performing for no apparent reason?  I sure have!

Chive in bloom living with viola                                                                                                                            Nemesia beside a dwarf delphinium

As some of you may remember from my ramblings, I was a partner in a landscape business for 13 years.  My partner (and friend, Wendy) and I planted cottage gardens for word-of-mouth customers.  We attempted to monitor growth patterns of a variety of plants including a particularly scientific study of how frequently roses re-bloom once old blooms are cut off.  *This study was brought about as a result of Wendy’s youngest daughter’s wedding, which was held in Wendy’s backyard. We discovered that most shrub and hybrid tea roses bloomed every 6 weeks (in Southern California) during the summer months.

A sad sample of the blossom of ceratostigma plumbaginoides                                                                  astromontana ‘pink pop’

So knowing my garden is in constant transition I set out this spring to create a blue, lavender and white planting area.  One of the sunniest locations in my yard (off our kitchen on the south side of our house) I am able to grow a ‘French Lace’ hybrid tea rose on one side and a burgundy iceberg shrub anchoring the other side.  I know the color burgundy doesn’t fit the color palate I set out to achieve, but it’s a great bush and I decided it would be okay.

I have always loved columbine but had failed at growing it because I always planted it in planters, now that its directly in the soil it seems very happy.

I moved a rusty, old armillary that I had purchased in Rosarito Beach, Baja, Mexico to one of the beds and when the morning glories started popping up I transplanted some of the seedlings to the base of the metal structure and they have been happily climbing ever since.  Some of the plantings didn’t make it (bachelor buttons, which may have been over watered or under watered, not sure which) but I have a variety of blue and lavender plants that have outperformed my expectations.  My list of proven winners (at least for now) are {common names given where possible}:  Columbine, delphinium (both the miniature and full-sized variety), French lavender, lobelia ‘fountain blue’, pincushion flower, morning glory, and  nepeta tuberosa and lamb’s ear.

When I took this picture my French lace rose had just finished a spectacular bloom…it’s the white rose to the left of the armillary.

This morning glory vine returns every year without new seeds.  I love it for that!



lobelia has always been a favorite of mine and it somes in so many lovely colors.

To take care of these I plant with “Super Soil” garden compost and then water and fertilize with Miracle Gro.  I’ve read that Miracle Gro is junk food for plants but with my schedule it works for me and makes my life easier while making my garden happy. I use Gro-Power once ever 6-8 weeks.  Be sure to water in in well.  I sprinkle the fertilizer around the plants and then water.  Gro-Power is also great for potted plants, it will green up an anemic plant in a relatively short amount of time, again be sure to water well and follow the directions. (BTW, the bag doesn’t look like this but this was the only image I could find).

pincushion flower produces all summer long and then repeats the following spring.


A little dusty miller in the garden makes a nice contrast for the flowers and green foilage.                 This daisy caught my attention because it had the lavender center.


Papaver hybridum ‘Lavender Breadseed’ poppy

I planted oriental poppies this year thanks to a recommendation from Trish of Trouvais.  She has a lovely garden and if you’ve never visited her you will not be disappointed.

How is your garden growing this summer?  Any favorite plants that are proven winners for you?