Clothesline flower garden a success

I spent the better part of this week taking photos of my flower garden and trying to figure out which perennial flowers actually came up this summer. No easy task given that flowers are not my thing. I can identify everything that comes up in my vegetable garden, whether it’s peas, beans, lettuce, carrots. Once I plant, I have no problem telling the difference between a vegetable and a weed.

Flowers, however, are different. When I started plotting out the flower garden, I cut out photos and placed them on a dry-erase board to get an idea of what I needed to buy. I kept the board to use for the actual planting and at some point realized I probably should keep it around to help remind me what flowers were planted where in the garden.

Even so, for the first month I didn’t weed the garden where I thought a flower might be coming up for fear that I’d end up pulling a bulb instead of a weed. My knowledge of what perennials looked like coming out of the ground was limited to salvia and irises. I had no idea what the leaves looked like for bee balm or lupines, sweet William or Marshall’s Delight. And I didn’t want to take any chances. Now that I think about it though, I should have put markers where I planted the bulbs, right? I did it for the veggie garden – not sure why I didn’t in the flower garden.

Pretty much the entire summer, when a bud erupted on a plant, I’d take a picture of it, and compare it to the dry-erase board chart. When a plant did flower, it was pretty easy to figure out what it was even when my chart didn’t quite match where the bulbs were actually planted. Call me chart-challenged I guess, but I probably should have been a little more careful to make sure plants were where my chart said they should be. The problem identifying all the flowers happened when the plants didn’t actually flower. So the past week or so I’ve been taking photos of the plants’ leaves to compare them to online photos as well as the chart. It took me awhile, but I think I finally figured them all out. At least all that sprouted this year. The only total no-shows were the purple lovegrass, the crimson Coral Bells and Marshall’s Delights. I’m hoping I’ll see them next spring/summer. Some or all of the following came up: Liatris, Bee Balm, lupines, salvia, Iris, Helenium Red Jewel, Sweet William, columbine and carnations. Like with the no-shows, I hope more will pop up next year.

You’ll also notice a lot of red in the photos. That’s celosia. When I was sure as I could be that all the bulbs that were going to come up had, I planted a few begonias and a lot of celosia to fill in the blank spots and add a bit of color. During a previous summer, I planted celosia in a couple of pots, but with little luck. Not this year. Early on during the extreme heat and dry weather, both the celosia and the begonias struggled, but by mid-July, they bloomed beautifully.

Another late bloomer was the clematis I planted on mesh wrapped around the clothesline poles. All four of the plants looked pretty bleak in early July, but the late rain really helped them to start climbing and even a few flowers to open. It gives me hope for next summer, that, as long as the weather co-operates a bit more, I can get them climbing even higher up the poles. What a picture that would be!

Even though the season is far from over, I’m going to consider my first flower garden a success. My perennial repertoire has expanded considerably, and I can actually follow a conversation about flowers and have some clue what people are talking about. With fall right around the corner, I want to look at what other flowers I can add before winter that will give me a head start on next summer. I’m ready to hit the gardening centers to see what’s out there. Anyone care to join me?

4 responses to this post.

  1. Lovely! Is there ample walking space, so as not to step on the lovely flowers? My Jennifer-inspired clothesline garden is on the fall planning “radar.” Stay tuned! It will flank my newly relocated and expanded veggie garden ( and the flowers will help invite bees and butterflies to the area.

    Such a great idea.

    • There’s ample room right now, but I’m not sure there will be once everything really starts growing. I may have to rethink where some of the flowers go so I can walk through it.

      I also had a ton of bees and butterflies with the new flower garden, although right now, there are a lot of bumble bees in the raspberries, too. Love ’em!

  2. Posted by Libby Keane on August 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    It’s beautiful. I’d say it was a success too. What a wonderful idea. Could the white flower be Queen Anne’s Lace? Your yard is beautiful. Look at all the flat, open growing space!

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