Time With Thea Late Summer Garden Tour – Successes And Challenges ~ Sharing garden bed, garden décor and outdoor planter tips, ideas and inspiration!
First of all, I want to thank you for stopping by and visiting ‘Time With Thea’. I have had quite a few new followers in recent weeks and I want to welcome you. I also want to say a big thank you to those of you have been following me for a while now. Whether you are new to the blog or a regular visitor I really appreciate your visits! I love blogging for several reasons. The main one is that I love creating the ideas and sharing them with you. There are literally thousands upon thousands of wonderful blogs by oodles of talented bloggers and I am truly honoured and thrilled to have you join me.
Today I am taking you on a tour of my garden. I love to garden. It is a bit strange that I love to dig around in the dirt on my hands and knees. I find it quite therapeutic and relaxing. Let’s just say I will never have beautifully manicured nails.
I live in Western Canada where the climate can literally be all over the place. Our winters can be very cold with loads of snow or quite mild with hardly any snow. Our summers are equally interesting. We can have everything ranging from really hot day temperatures, very dry air, intense thunder and lightning storms with hail mixed in to make it interesting. It can be very windy at times and the evening temps can get quite chilly at night.
I also live in a part of Canada that is a Zone 3 gardening area. There are a lot of plants and flowers that grow very well with the long summer days. But there are a lot of plants and flowers I would love to grow that would die in no time. It isn’t warm enough for long enough for them to flourish.
Although I find gardening to be very relaxing and rewarding it can also be a heck of a lot of work and can be quite frustrating. The reward comes from the successes where the flowers are blooming beautifully. The challenges come from the weather and the bugs. This is definitely what happened this summer.
Time With Thea Late Summer Garden Tour – Challenges And Successes
Let’s start with the front porch area…
Front Porch Successes
I love to decorate the front porch area. I like to come up with different easy ideas that are not too expensive. If you have been following me for a while you will recognize DIY projects I have shared on the blog:
How To Make A Fabulous Wreath ~ I made the wreath hanging on the door several years ago. I love how the green foliage and white flowers make a bold summer statement on the black front door.
Spring Decorated Rain Boot Vases ~ I used to wear the rain boots when I worked in the garden but they became quite ugly looking and uncomfortable. So I converted them into outdoor vases and use them to display different flowers throughout the spring and summer season. I bought the white gladiolus at the grocery store. I see I need to replace them soon.
Gorgeous Spring Decorated Lantern ~ I bought this lantern several years ago and decorate it for the different seasons. It lights up the porch area with a battery operated candle at nighttime.
Make Your Own Beautiful House Number Flower Pots ~ For the summer season I planted one of my favourite flowers. I am really happy the sapphire lobelia thrives in this location.
Outdoor White Petunia Outdoor Planters: Sometimes I prefer to create a planter with one kind of flower in one colour. Then I like to add different coloured accessories like a purple ribbon grapevine wreath wrapped with purple ribbon and branches that I spray painted with purple paint. I created a similar type of outdoor planter last year with pansies. The how-tos are shared in How To Create A Gorgeous Pansy Outdoor Planter.
Spreading Juniper Garden Bed: I love this garden bed for several reasons. It looks like a carpet of green in front of the house. The green colour does not clash with the colours in the outdoor planters and porch décor. It is also perpetually green all year through the four seasons and it is very low maintenance to take care of.
Front Porch Challenges
The only challenge is the aphids started to enjoy my white pansy outdoor planters a few weeks ago. Fortunately, they have so far not killed off the petunias. I think they will last until fall gets here.
Now let’s visit the front yard garden bed and start with the challenges…
Front Garden Bed Challenges
This garden bed used to have two large trees and three large lilac bushes. It got to a point where all of the trees were competing for the nutrients they needed so something had to go. I hired an arborist to come this summer and take down one large tree and two of the large lilac bushes. This completely changed the look of the garden bed and created a big bare spot.
Front Garden Bed Successes
I dragged three pink petunia planters from a garden bed in the backyard and placed them in the new bare spot. I placed two of the medium planters in the front and the large one in the back. I had extra solar lights that no longer had a home so I placed one in each planter and three around the planters in the soil.
I raised the planter in the back with a couple of paving bricks just to give it some height.
I have to admit that this spur of the moment garden design idea really worked! The sea of fuchsia pink petunias in different heights look quite stunning during the day and at night. I may even create this idea again next summer!
Let’s head to the backyard but before I do I want to explain a bit about my gardening philosophy. My favourite painter is Monet. I love all of the flowers in his paintings. So I created a garden based on his style of art. I wanted to create a ‘symphony of colours’! Let’s go check it out…
Backyard Garden Bed Successes
When we first moved into this home ten years ago this entire garden bed was a vegetable garden. I slowly converted it to a flower garden over the years and filled it with different kinds of shrubs and perennials that bloom at different times during the growing season.
I have several planters filled with annuals tucked in amongst the perennials. I never plant annuals directly in the ground. I explain why in Tips For Controlling Weeds In The Garden. I have four outdoor planters filled with red petunias in different locations in this garden bed.
They add quite a pop of colour!
I also like to what I call accessorize the garden with different kinds of garden décor. Most of these were purchased at the thrift store. I share more ideas in Decorating The Garden With Thrift Store Finds.
I also made a few DIY projects for the garden too.
The black plant stand, planter decorated with glass gems and the blue garden gazing ball are all detailed in:
Backyard Garden Bed Challenges
I do confess the backyard garden does look like it is thriving beautifully but there were a lot of challenges this year.
Too Much Rain ~ The first was that it was a very rainy stormy summer where it rained pretty well every day. That made it difficult to actually work in the garden when I had the time. At least I did not have to water it very much.
Too Little Rain ~ We did have a few very hot dry days but that was when I went out of town to visit family for a week. When I came back several of the annuals planted in the plant pots were dead. I just thought some rain would fall while I was away. Clearly I did not plan things very well.
Red Lily Beetle ~ The red lily beetle moved into my garden this year and devoured all of the buds of my Asiatic Lilies so they did not bloom. This was so disappointing because I received these lily bulbs from my father’s garden who also was an avid gardener. He now 90 years old and lives in a senior home. I am pretty sure that all of these lilies will not come back this year because they did not bloom this summer.
Aphids: Crews of aphids have been coming to the same Dogwood shrub for the past couple of years. I have tried insecticide soap, hosing them down, keeping the Dogwood watered and fertilized, putting bananas around the plant and nothing has worked. In the fall I am going to dig it up, throw it out and try a different plant in that location.
Ants: Generally, when there are aphids present the ants come marching in and they sure did this summer. I am sure my garden had several colonies of hundreds, maybe thousands of ants. The ant workers were very busy tending to all of the larvae the queen ant was producing what must have been at warp speed. This is what it looked like in several locations between all of the garden pavers that create the garden border. It was really gross.
I was concerned with so many ants in the garden they would start to move into the house. I spent a lot of time this summer trying different things to get rid of them. I tried pouring boiling water on the colonies which worked for a few days. But in no time they were back at it. I tried the chemical approach which was not my first choice but things were out of control. I even tried expensive nematodes that were recommended by the garden shop. I know that unless you get the queen ant or probably in my garden the queen ants they will not disappear. They did not create anthills so I had no idea where the queen ant was living.
I did try two organic products and it did seem to work. The ant population has greatly reduced. But I am hesitant to share what I did until I am sure it really worked. If so, I’ll be sharing that in a blog next summer so stay tuned. Also since I tried so many things I have to admit I am not sure which method was the most effective one.
I am going to take you to the west side of the property now…
West Side Garden Successes
Along the west side of the property are several trees including an Evans Cherry tree. It was very happy this summer and produced a lot of cherries!
The property is quite sloped on the west side making it tricky to landscape. We landscaped this area with some large garden pavers and spreading junipers like we have in the front of the house. We also covered the soil with bark mulch to control the weeds.
I picked up several decorated stones for a dollar each at a clearance sale and placed them next to the solar lights to add a bit of garden décor on this pathway.
It looks really pretty at night too!
When you leave the garden pathway you come to another area that was tricky to landscape. We covered it with black shale rock and created a stream of blue glass gems down the middle. This project was created three years ago and it still looks great. Detail for this landscape project are described in Landscaping With Shale Rock And Glass Gems.
West Side Garden Challenges
Phew! There was none this summer! I just had to trim the spreading junipers a bit because they were starting to cover the pathway.
I have one more stop and it is in front of the garages at the front of the house where I have three outdoor garden planters…
Outdoor Garden Planter Successes
I created these outdoor planters filled with red geraniums, blue lobelia and lime green coleus and a millet annual plant. I love the colour combination!
Outdoor Garden Planter Challenges
I have three outdoor planters exactly the same placed between the garage doors. Remember the hot dry spell I mentioned while I was away for a week? The lobelia died while I was away in two of the planters. Oh dear. At least one planter still had everything growing so I could photograph it!
These planters are also the second try. They used to be filled with pretty purple petunias that I was going to blog about. But in July those darn aphids moved in and killed off the plants. So I pulled them out and filled them with annuals aphids do not invade this time. Fortunately the garden shop was starting to clear out their summer annuals so I got the new plants for half price.
Final Comments: I hope you enjoyed my Time With Thea Late Summer Garden Tour! I could have just shared the pretty pictures but I wanted to keep it real and share the challenges that come with being a gardener too! I also hope you are inspired with some ideas that you might like to try in your garden!
Your Turn: What was your favourite feature in this garden tour? What are your garden successes? What are your garden challenges?
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Have an inspired day!