clippings 7/24/23; new views

earlier in July, with view of garden from pergola/overhang obscured by pink-flowered anisodontea

Some recent small changes at home. This stock tank held that incredibly generous friend to bees, Anisodontea ‘Strybing Beauty,’ that I brought up from the zone 10 garden. In its second season here, the unexpected girth and height now completely blocked my view of the garden when sitting under the pergola. And in a small garden, every viewing vantage point matters, and most particularly in July.

today’s view after removing the anisodontea

The anisodontea lives on in the garden via a couple more cuttings now of blooming size. Immediate replacements for the stock tank were found of a less obstructive nature. Tall and slim Aristea major and low-growing rosette Beschorneria septentrionalis were in pots plunged in the garden, and I think their chances for surviving winter are possibly improved now that they’re planted in the stock tank, slightly sheltered under the overhang, than in the unheated garden shed. The zone 9 anisodontea flourished in this spot, so hopefully these zone 8 plants will find it to their liking as well. Fingers crossed they make it through winter without becoming too hideous.

First bloom on Dahlia ‘Bewitched,’ second summer in the garden

And a few more new things on view recently.

First bloom on Heliopsis ‘Bleeding Hearts,’ second summer in the garden — excellent dark foliage on this one
Cirsium rivulare ‘Trevor’s Blue Wonder,’ planted in spring. Not an easy thistle to locate in the U.S. You need to act quick when you find it on offer because it quickly sells out
Second year for echinaceas, possibly ‘Sombrero Granada Gold’
Kniphofia in the “Popsicle’ series seemingly shot up overnight, second summer — the slugs love to literally nip these in the bud

And then after all the work was done and plants settled in, we had some light but steady rainfall, the first real rain since May. I sat under the pergola to enjoy the show of unexpected rainfall through my new, unobstructed view of the garden.


I’ll close with a couple recent newspaper articles, one about the town-shaking experience of a blooming agave in Georgia. A reminder that many plants familiar to me are a rare and wondrous sight elsewhere.

captioned “The century plant has become a local landmark in Luthersville. (Doris Flournoy)”

Jackie Flournoy was leaving her home in Luthersville, Ga., one morning, when she spotted a strange-looking stalk poking out of one of her plants on her front lawn. She had never seen anything like it before.” This recent article in the Washington Post “After 36 years, her plant suddenly grew a towering 25-foot stalk” initially had me shaking my head at such persistent naivete about plants in the era of search engines. And then I came around after reading the comments to a new appreciation of the power of plants to inspire and renew wonder. (If the link is paywell-protected, you can search with the title of the article. Luthersville, Georgia is USDA zone 8a, but nevertheless agaves apparently are a rare sight there.)

Another article, this one from the Los Angeles Times, “‘All the neighbors know who she is’: How one woman built a flower farm across eight yards” brought me back decades ago to when I tried the same thing — in a community garden, a nearby neighbor’s backyard, and at my mother-in-law’s front yard. When I brought fresh horse manure in at my MIL’s to amend the soil for cut flowers, the arrangement turned somewhat dicey…So much fun for very little money providing cut flowers to restaurants. I love reading stories like this of how people somehow make it work.

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9 Responses to clippings 7/24/23; new views

  1. Gerhard Bock says:

    Every update from your garden is a sight for these sun-parched eyes. Your garden looks like an Annie’s Annuals catalog now!

  2. Wow, just like that big changes! I do have to admit it was a view blocker, but a lovely one. We enjoyed the weather change on Monday, as the blue sky ocean views changed to clouds and drizzle. I was hoping maybe the rain was also falling here at home, but alas no. Just enough mist to make a mess of my car, but no measurable rain.

  3. Kris P says:

    It’s remarkable how full your back garden looks! I’m sad to see the gigantic Anisodontea down-sized but I understand your reasoning. My own Aristea major in a large pot didn’t stay very slim and, over 3 years in, it’s yet to bloom so I’ll be interested to see how yours behaves. Rain in July sounds heavenly…

  4. Denise Maher says:

    @Gerhard, both aristea and beschorneria are regulars in Annie’s catalogue so I can see how you sense the familiarity! Both these came from Dancing Oaks up here in Oregon.
    @Loree, so fun to see you. Can’t believe Portland didn’t catch some of that rain!
    @Kris, I’m already thinning and moving plants. The herbaceous stuff bulks up faster than I expected. The growth of woody stuff like shrubs is much slower but still steady. Good to know about potential size of the aristea, thanks!

  5. Elaine says:

    It must have been hard to remove the Anisodontea as it was a stunner however, when something rankles it’s time to make a change. I am getting a little bolder about doing such things. So many people are oblivious of the wonder around them that anything that grabs their attention is wondrous indeed.

  6. hb says:

    It’s lovely with and without the Anisodontea–a good view of the garden is important, from indoors too.

    That chopped-at Georgia Agave–did they think the tips of the leaves would grow back?

    Thanks for the link to the SD flower “farmer” Win for her and win for her neighborhood. That’s a good thing.

  7. ks says:

    A good call to move the view blocker out of the way -so true the importance of keeping the view in mind in a small garden. Your garden has filled in beautifully . With all the temptations in Oregon nurseries I’m not surprised !

  8. Julie says:

    I’m glad to have found your blog. Will be subscribing. Not sure if the Luthersville story is the same one I saw on CNN that also referenced a blooming agave in the Atlanta area. National news! Annoyingly, it was referred to as a blooming cactus. Couldn’t believe CNN would make such an ignorant mistake. I tried to send in a complaint but of course they don’t make those links clearly accessible. Gave up.

  9. Jerry says:

    I initially thought that the Heliopsis was a Dahlia based on the photo. Now that I know, I’ll be looking into finding that and the Cirsium rivulare for some later summer color in the garden. I realize now that the lack of color and lushness is one of the reasons I dislike my garden so much this time of year. So, your post comes at an ideal time for me to start thinking about this.

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