silver linings.

How about a mid-summer garden tour?  Everything is looking very green and lush right now, so it seems like a great time for an update.

You may remember that we had a horrendous hail storm back in May.

I was a tad upset by the damage done to my gardens, especially the hostas.

But let’s talk about silver linings!  As a result of the hail damage, Mr. Q and I are getting a new roof on both the house and the carriage house compliments of our insurance company.  What a blessing in disguise!

In addition, although the hostas were looking pretty rough after the storm, it was early enough in the season that most of them bounced back.

I trimmed away a lot of the really damaged leaves, and most of the hostas filled out with new ones.

There are a few that still look fairly sad, but for the most part we’re good.

Let me give you the technical details of my garden.  I garden in a suburb of the Twin Cities which is zone 4b.  I have a lot of shade, and in fact I don’t think any of my gardens qualify as ‘full sun’ since that means six to eight hours of sun per day.  There is a small portion of my yard that gets hot, full sun around noon, but really only for a few hours.  As a result, my flowering annuals do OK in that area, but they are never loaded with flowers like they would be with more sun.  So I mostly rely on foliage to provide interest in my gardens.

But playing around with different textures and colors of foliage has come a long way in the last 34 years (that’s how long we’ve been in this house, and that explains how well established my gardens are).  I can remember early days in my garden when all we had was one kind of variegated hosta, an Annabelle hydrangea, a couple of peonies that never bloomed, and lots of rocks!  Yep, originally the foundation gardens (garden beds installed along the house foundations) were all landscaping rock with a hosta popped in here and there.  We hauled all of those rocks out over time … well, OK, Mr. Q hauled all of those rocks out.

I’m really happy with how the front garden looks this year.  All of the hostas have filled in, the astilbe are looking fab and the dark purple huechera I added for contrast looks good too.  You may remember the rusty iron garden chair that I added earlier, it’s being swallowed up by plants now.

I forgot to give my sedum the chelsea chop this year and I’m kind of regretting that now.  If you aren’t familiar with the chelsea chop, you can read more about it in last year’s mid-season garden update.

We moved our fountain to this location in the front garden a few years back after trying it in a couple of other spots over the years.  So far, this spot is my favorite.  We can hear the water from our bedroom window which is lovely at night.

For the most part, I repeated last year’s plant selections in the front window box because they worked out so well  I’ve got several types of coleus, some lemon coral sedum, some dark purple oxalis, and a dark sweet potato vine.

And the fuchsia is doing especially well in there this year.

My favorite garden (although I suppose one shouldn’t play favorites) is the one that runs down the side between the house and the driveway.  This one is in full shade with the exception of some evening sun.  It’s filled with hostas, ferns, evening primrose, fairy candles, foam flower, heuchera, brunnera, lungwort and Cossetta, my statue.

I think it might be my favorite because it’s such a cool, shady spot to work in most of the time, so it tends to get the most attention from me.

You can just catch a glimpse of my Annabelle hydrandea in the background of that photo above.  This is the one that came with the house when we bought it, but it wasn’t in that spot.  It was originally in what is now my fern garden, we dug it up, divided it and planted half near the deck and half out behind the carriage house in the cutting garden.

Although it does look really lovely right now, I wouldn’t plant an Annabelle (Hydrangea arborescens) these days.  They tend to get floppy, so I much prefer the Hydrangea paniculata family of hydrangeas these days, although they aren’t blooming yet.  That’s the shrub that you can see behind my patio table and chairs in the photo above.

I’ve got 8 clematis, but not all of them bloom at the same time.  Currently the one on my arbor is in bloom …

and this one on an obelisk.

I planted an old galvanized sink with an herb garden and it sits up on the deck so we can easily grab some herbs when cooking.

I have to confess that I keep forgetting about the chives, even though I love fresh chives on a baked potato.  I’ve been adding the mint sprigs to my lemonade which is pretty refreshing.  I added the word ‘herbs.’ to the planter after cutting them out of adhesive vinyl on my Cricut machine.

I still have my chicken feeder turned planter hanging above the herb garden.

I have to be honest, it doesn’t hold much dirt so it’s a bit of a challenge to keep plants happy in it.  They dry out really quickly on hot summer days.  But I still enjoy having it out there.

I hope you enjoyed this brief tour of my garden.  Gardens are always a work in progress, and mine is no exception.  I have a couple of projects still in the works for this year, and I’m already planning ahead on what I may do next year.  How about you?  Do you have a green thumb, or do you prefer to let others do the gardening?  Leave a comment and let me know.

30 thoughts on “silver linings.

  1. Your garden is beautiful. I love all the different shade varieties you use, including the annuals. Is your Royal Standard hosta growing?


    1. Yes it is! I meant to include a photo of where I put it in the post, but ran out of time. I extended a garden bed in the back and added it there. It’s not blooming yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing the blooms 🙂


  2. I love your garden! I live in the neighborhood so I see it in person and it is really beautiful! I have a couple raised bed flower gardens and two big raised bed vegetable gardens. I just retired in May and have loved the time I can now spend on my garden. If you ever drive by the lil Red Gate Garden a couple of blocks away that is me!


    1. I’m betting I have seen it. Are you between me and Oakdale Park? We go walking there on a regular basis, so next time I’ll keep an out on the route. I’m assuming you have a red gate, right?


      1. Sounds like a garden photo shoot at Red Gate Garden would be nice! At least a shot of the red gate!😊


  3. I retired recently too and am now spending a lot more time in the yard. Like you, am already planning projects for next year! I love using thrifted items in my garden, and garden statues. Yours is magnificent! Thanks for sharing it all.


  4. Love this garden tour and it’s so lush! I have grown to leave foliage so much the last couple years. These up close shots of hosta and ferns are so beautiful and the rusty chair is just perfect! This is why I love your blog. It’s like a box of chocolates ( thank you Forrest G) and each post is different.


    1. Thank you so much Sheri. I have to admit, this morning I told Mr. Q that I felt like my blog post today might be a little lame. So I’m happy to hear that some of you enjoy the garden posts 🙂


  5. I so enjoyed seeing all your gardens! Hosta now comes in so many variations and you have used them beautifully! Spending time out there (vs. calling it working out there!) must be very peaceful. Having lots of plants help keep the weeds at bay, too! Thanks for sharing!!


    1. Yep, I have found that keeping my gardens jam packed really cuts down on weeding chores! I’m trying to spend as much time relaxing in the garden while summer lasts. I need to store up those good vibes for the long winter 😉


  6. Your garden is so beautiful! Here in DFW we are burning up! Triple digits !
    I so enjoy your posts!
    Smiles, alice


  7. Absolutely beautiful. I can really appreciate what a shade garden can look like after seeing yours, I have a similar situation and your garden really inspires me, already planning for next year.


  8. How lovely your yard is, and it is amazing how everything recovered. Storm damage is always so scary and damaging. Lovely photos and you make me want drag my own camera out, soon. Sandi


  9. I just love your yard and this post Miss Quandie……..everything looks so LUSH and moist, a real Merlin garden! I never imagined, before you started really describing all your plants, that a shady yard could look so vibrant and pretty with so much color…….I had always considered the shady parts of my yard problem areas and that hostas etc. were boring! I don’t think that any more……the mix of foliage is just so pretty! And will you get your silver lining before this winter comes? Winter is coming!!! Lol…….


    1. LOL, yep, we’ll definitely have our new roofs on before any snow falls! As for the shady gardens, absolutely, there are so many options for colorful foliage with lots of different textures. The sky is the limit 🙂


  10. Oh, your gardens are so lovely! I like the way that you use the foliage color, texture, and shape. Thank you so much for sharing your gardens with us. My plantings and patio pots evolve a little each year, keeping something that I liked and that worked and tweaking something that didn’t work so well or that I’ve tired of. And there are always new plants or varieties to try out! Love how you have used your garden art to enhance the plants.


    1. Thanks so much Cheryl. I totally agree, patio pots evolve over time. And then sometimes you forget that Lobelia never does well for you, and you try it again, and it all turns crispy again, and you have to replace it … but maybe that’s just me 😉


  11. Love to tour your gardens! Thanks so much for sharing. A video walking tour would be very nice! Hope you are having a wonderful summer!🌹


  12. Love your garden, you have done a beautiful job! I have a sun/shade mixture depending on the area of the house, so it can be challenging, especially since I love flowers – hollyhocks, peonies, hydrangeas, plus annuals.


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