If I had given the "My Five Gardens" series a little more thought, I would have named it "My Six Gardens." While the Backyard Garden exists in the backyard, qualifying it as one garden, there really are two gardens back there. The perennial borders have been a work in progress for about a decade. The vegetable patch, or the potager, was a new addition this year. The semi-shady border and potager (right next to the car) are visible in this bird's eye view. However, the giant balsam fir obscures the view of the full sun border. As much as I love that tree, it is terribly placed, offering no shade and blocking the walkway. I can't imagine getting rid of it though. Would removing some of the lower branches of a fir make it look too weird?
At this time of year, I let nature take its course in the full sun border. The purple coneflowers and cranesbill are still blooming profusely. A lack of weeding on my part has resulted in some grasses poking through the perennials giving the whole thing a bit of a meadow effect. I can't complain (if I do, I'll be forced to weed!) There's also some calamint and catmint in there, holding their own against the grasses.
One of the last things to bloom in the backyard garden is the Jerusalem Artichoke. The plants reached an astounding eight (maybe even nine) feet tall this year, the tallest they have ever been. I suspect that the wall of the neighbour's home expansion had something to do with it, creating a most hospitable micro-climate. I always feel that the incredibly cheery blooms are a most fitting way to end the summer: in a blaze of glory. Even so I have a deep, dark secret to share about my full sun border (please don't tell anyone): I'm a bit bored with it. Now don't get me wrong. I mean how could coneflowers and iris and globe thistle and delphinium and sedum and cotton lavender and english lavender and lilac ever be boring? They can't. They are and always will be beautiful. But as a gardener I find my interests are shifting. The first time I saw a purple coneflower I was in awe. Now I find myself in awe of shade plants and vegetables.
It took about six months to grow this red pepper from seed. My goodness what a journey. Buying the seed, starting it indoors, transplanting into larger pots, hardening off, transplanting into the garden, and all the while nurturing, nurturing and nurturing. In the end, the pepper was consumed in under a minute. Some garden magazines would have you believe that vegetable gardening is all the rage these days. Maybe so but I didn't simply latch on to a trend. I see my newfound interest in veggies as a natural evolution of my gardening. When I wanted more from my garden than perennials, I expanded it to include edibles. This year I enjoyed radishes, carrots, onions, leeks, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, serviceberries, potatoes, and beans with brussel sprouts still to come.
That is the beauty of gardening. There's always room for more. I found a spot for these beauties (garlic chives, I think) under the dappled shade of a Japanese Maple. And I can always carve up some more of my lawn (that's some prime garden real estate.) I'll always keep at least one purple coneflower in my garden, but I can give away the dozens of others to make room for something new and exciting. I can grow my own food. When the season is done I can plan to do it again so that all of next year's crops are new and exciting. There's always room to try something different or to squeeze in one more plant. And that's the beauty of my backyard garden.