Thursday, September 17, 2015

Earning Their Keep

One of the many gayfeather (Liatris) plants in my front garden is beginning to show some color. It will not be long before the plants are in full bloom. Their bloom should coincide with the peak monarch butterfly migration. It is about time the gayfeather earned their keep.

When in bloom, the gayfeather plants are an asset to the appearance of the fall garden. They also provide a nectar source for a variety of pollinators, like bees and butterflies.

But I think it is a bit of a liability during the summer months before it blooms. The green spikes sprawl everywhere and in every direction. These are more upright, but others grow more horizontally. This picture makes it all look a little better than it really does. I guess I kind of worry that someone will complain about the looks.

Maybe memories of scenes like this one from the end of April help my neighbors get through the garden's rougher period from late July to early September.

Next spring's flowers are getting started now. A rainy day last week coaxed some bluebonnet seeds to sprout.

No complaints about the looks of this pine muhly.

For several years, I have thought about adding a path through the largest part of the front garden. Besides giving easier access to the middle of the garden, it will break up the garden into segments that should be easier to design around. Of course, it will mean some plants will have to go. This is the view from the sidewalk. My thought is to curve up the slope and then curve around to join the pathway that runs lengthwise across the garden. 

This is the view from the opposite direction. Another thought for my pathway is to turn left and curve it back around to the decomposed granite pathway, instead of going to the sidewalk. I am also thinking of sectioning off an area for growing the gayfeather. Right now, the gayfeather is everywhere and it creates a wild and weedy look when not in bloom. If I do add a pathway, it will not be until after the fall blooming season. 


  1. I'm excited for you! Those are both great options for your path's, well...path! As much work as it will be to install a walkway (and yup, plants are always sacrificed to the spaces opened up) I'm sure you won't be sorry. Somehow putting a path in puts everything into the semblance of order visually. It might even make the resulting beds look larger for having defined edges, which sounds contradictory but wait and see for yourself. As to a defined area for your liatris - also a winning idea. Perhaps you could even put in some sort of plant restraints to keep them more upright if they were contained.

  2. TexasDeb, time will tell if I actually do the work. I have become lazy lately. I am thinking the path may take the right turn shown in the last picture, as well as the left turn.

  3. Great idea. I'm with Deb: paths help create order, plus they draw the feet and the eye through the garden. Anytime you have another way to stroll through a garden it's a good thing.

    1. I think I may try adding some order through plant organization first. The more I think about the work that goes into creating a path, the more disinterested I become.


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