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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Reboot Thursday

Bilowz Associates INC. & Annie's Gardening Corner

Mid-August, as our gardens start to do their own thing, a helpful task is to clear the gunk out and start clean. Reboot your garden machine and see your beds and borders from a different perspective. One of the biggest challenges to keeping the garden fresh is to shoot for more than just blossoms but texture, form and seasonal interest as well.

As we power down and do a reboot to the garden, sit back to look past the summer deadheading and overgrown weeds.  August is the perfect time to evaluate from the ground up. Look at your foundation - your structure plantings that keep your borders and beds from looking bland. Do not underestimate the value of a sculptured tree that offers living architecture to your garden while providing shade, form and whenever possible, seasonal interest. 

Need some ideas? Try a Stewartia. It’s one of my favorites; here’s why. It’s an ideal small to medium-sized flowering ornamental tree. One of its best features is its stunning exfoliating bark, which offers four-season interest. Searching for summertime flowers and fall color to boot? Try the Stewartia pseudocamellia (Japanese Stewartia). This sought after specimen is the caviar of the ornamentals.

Let’s not forget the perennials that sport stunning fall foliage. A couple of all-time favorites: Geranium ‘Nimbus’ and Amsonia hubrichtii. Geranium ‘Nimbus’ is a perennial geranium with a fine-textured leaf and soft lavender blossoms but its stunning fall foliage rivals the color of most sugar maples. This versatile perennial can be planted in masses as an edger or as a specimen by itself. This must-have staple is a vigorous grower. But onto the next favorite, Amsonia hubrichtii, sporting more than its beautiful blossoms. In early summer, this versatile plant displays delicate blue star-shaped flowers and soft, feathery foliage. This phenomenal plant-lover’s plant continues to put on a show late into the season with its yellow and soft orange hues. Both of these perennials are sun-lovers and can be layered in nicely to your border.

And don’t forget your woody plant materials. Hydrangeas, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Viburnum – the list goes on and on. So let’s stop here with a quick reminder - September is the second half of the planting season, making August the perfect month to reboot your garden thoughts. Look at your landscape from the mid-summer perspective. Get into the nurseries for fantastic deals. As always, inspect what is on the bargain table but you can usually find some steals.

That’s it for reboot Thursday. It’s a wrap with a quote for the day. In celebration of the 151st anniversary of Claude Debussy’s birth, his words resonate still, maybe more so today. “Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” While some rules apply to rebooting, let your garden be your own work of art. And don’t forget to designate a garden seat to collect your mid-summer thoughts.

© Image by Ann Bilowz

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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)