It's August and it's hot, hot, hot. Most of my gardens are looking very tired and thirsty, and not very floriferous. The front-yard garden is probably the only presentable one right now. I pulled out most of the annual black-eyed Susans because they were beginning to look very ratty.
The gardener should probably be estivating now. But I needed a garden fix after working for several weeks on a huge stressful project at work, so I actually went and bought new plants to fill in some of the spaces. Am I crazy? I muddied them in well and have watered them several times. In the first two days after I planted them, I shaded them with thin row cover material pinned to stakes (the stakes are still there, just in case). So far they are still doing OK. The new ones in this bed include a dahlia at the lower edge of the photo that is supposed to have burgundy leaves but already looks very green to me, compared to the neighboring canna; and the Stipa ornamental grass next to the rock. I also had to move the coreopsis (behind the grass) since I misjudged the girth of the pineapple sage (to the right of the grass) when I planted it in the spring. It seems like every year I'm buying new plants for this bed which I think looks great just after I put them in... and then it doesn't look too good again the next year. Two years ago I put in several clumps of Autumn Joy sedum. They're still there somewhere, believe it or not, but they look like Brussels sprouts, post harvest. The local wildlife (deer or bunnies?) seems to enjoy sedum, much to my surprise. I also had a lot more lambs ears (some still visible at the right edge) but they alternate between huge lush clumps and sudden death. I'm beginning to think they really like more shade and moisture than the gray hairy leaves would suggest. The bed looked a lot more gray then, but the yellow-green leaves of the crocosmia that I added in several places last year seemed to clash, so this year's replacements were picked with a warmer palette in mind. I think the big clump of pink/white/yellow multicolored four o'clocks tie the different colors together pretty well (when they're open!)
There are still some lamb's ears present in the bed to the left of the gate. Along with the catmint, that gives this bed a much bluer feel than the yellow-green feel of the bed to the right. Even more so now that I swapped in the blue bird bath that used to be in the butterfly garden for the cement bird bath that used to be just behind the fence. The bed behind the fence is a little too small to hold the bird bath comfortably. Also, I'm thinking of putting some herbs in that bed and I don't think edible herbs and a bird bath are great company. But I'm still trying to decide if I like the changes. I think I do.