The Backyard

July 7, 2010 10 Comments

Apparently the secret to making the garden look great is to plant it and ignore it.  And the abundant rain is helping, too.

This was the garden fairly early on. You can see the butterfly house (which, as far as we can tell, has only housed wasps). We had wrens in the house farthest to the right and they were looking at the one on the left yesterday.

This is what is looks like now. The butterfly house is still in there. You can just see the top of it. And the tall red flowers on the right of the image are supposed to be Dwarf Bee Balm (or Monarda). I don't think they are dwarf.

To the right of the previous picture....

...farther right... The grapevine is loaded with grapes this year. We may even be able to get some before the birds.... okay, probably not.

Dwayne cut the Russian Sage way back this year and it looks as big as last year already! A couple of the raised vegetable beds are in the back.

Our yarrow patch. We just planted the red one (on the left) this year. The Balloonflower is one of my favorites. It had some white with it last year. And the dark pink phlox is actually blooming this year. The rabbits didn't chew it down.

Looking toward our "hill". It is supposed to be a "red" hill, but it turned out more pink with some white and orange in it.

The strawberries are taking over. And the black raspberry that isn't supposed to spread... is. But the butterfly bush that managed to make it through the winter is doing great. It should be blooming soon.

And that’s just the original garden.  The only thing we have done is pull some weeds, but the mass of the flowers seems to be keeping that to a minimum.  Of course, after all this rain, it will be easy to pull out what weeds there are.  I guess I know what I will be doing this week!

Hope your gardens are growing well, too.

Dig it!

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  1. JK says:

    Thank-you for sharing the pics…You have an awesome garden!

  2. Nancy Foelske says:

    It looks GREAT…… you have put alot of work into it. I’d like to see it in person. I am a great lover of flower gardens.

  3. deb block says:

    where is the next master gardener classes being held, i live in fayette co. love your garden.

    • Eileen Loan says:


      Good question. I’ll put out a list of counties in a blog post as soon as I have all the information. I think the dates are set, but I want to verify before I just start blabbing! 🙂 They usually start in September, but I think they have added some for the spring, as well.

  4. Audrey Leach says:

    I enjoy all your info and pictures! Your garden is GORGEOUS!!
    Wondering if you can do some info on herbs. Can I plant some in a pot for in the house over winter and what is best?

  5. Janeen Pape says:

    Need help. I started a perennial garden 4 years ago. I had very little knowledge about what I was doing. It actually is quite pretty but I seem to have all early spring and summer bloomers and nothing fall to frost. Can you give me some suggestions.

    • Eileen Loan says:

      Janeen, Don’t worry about the “very little knowledge”. We didn’t know what we were doing when we started either. I would suggest some goldenrod for some fall color… and the bees seem to like it. If you have coneflowers and black-eyed susans, they usually stick around until frost and will provide some lovely color. Asters are terrific for fall color and is a terrific addition for a butterfly garden, too. Mums are a good color addition, but they are a tender perennial meaning that they may not survive the winter here. We usually keep our mums in pots and wrap them up and bring them into the garage for winter. If they make it through the winter, we put them in the ground and let them have all summer to develop. Those are a few suggestions. Stop in at your local garden center and see what they have to offer at this time of the year. And they are usually more than willing to help you out with suggestions as well. And we’ll probably have more suggestions from other readers! Have a great day!

  6. Shirley Walker says:

    I have large hydragea plant and no flowers. Was told only bloom on old stems. If I cover them this winter, will they bloom again? Its been 3 years since they have bloomed

    • Eileen Loan says:

      Shirley, You may have one of several problems… it may be getting too much shade, too much nitrogen (promotes plant growth, not flower production), the wrong type of hydrangea for our area. There are varieties of hyrdangea that only bloom on old growth, but there are a few that bloom on new growth, which is what we need in Iowa. Endless Summer, Endless Summer ‘Twist and Shout’, Annabelle (and all the varieties that go with that one) as well as Oak Leaf Hydrangeas will produce blooms in Iowa without worrying about winter kill. I also talked about some other things with hydrangeas in a couple of previous posts. You can find them here and here: although the second is more on pruning them. If the links don’t work, just type a search into the option on the blog site. Sometimes if a plant is buried too deeply it will not bloom, but I’m not sure if that pertains to hydrangeas, as well as other plants like rhododendrons. Hopefully one of these items will help you enjoy your hydrangeas! Good luck!

  7. Michelle says:

    Eileen, I moved into my house 5 years ago, and my yard is a mess. I am finally at a point where I could get something going and then be able to maintain it… where is the best place to start? I’d like to fix up my front porch area and fix up the flower bed right by the house and would like to use perennials and shrubs… how do I prepare the beds, and when is the best time to do this?

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