This is Joseph, your GPOD editor, welcoming you to my new garden in South Bend, Indiana. I moved here almost exactly a year ago. When I moved in, the garden had been abandoned for two years and had turned into a mass of invasive weeds.
This area along the back fence was lined with invasive shrubby honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii, Zones 3–8). Cutting it all out was quite a task.
And here’s what the same bed looks like today. Long-term, I think it’ll be mostly perennials, but I wanted to get it filled in fast, so there are lots of annuals mixed in, like this wonderful red Salvia microphylla (Zones 7–9 or as an annual). The hummingbirds come by a few times every day and visit each flower.
Here’s looking down the bed in the other direction. I’m fairly happy with it, but I will do some moving around and replacing this fall. Dahlias (Dahlia variablis, Zones 8–11 or as a tender bulb) in the back are just coming into bloom.
This is one of my favorite plants of the year, something I’d not grown before: Penstemon × mexicale (Zones 5–8). It is a complex hybrid of several North American native speces and has bloomed nonstop all summer. The bees love it. Penstemon generally prefers well-drained soils, and mine is sandy, so I hope it’ll be long-lived.
Another favorite plant this year is Iris dichotoma. I’m not sure this will be hardy for me; most sites list it as Zone 6, and I’m on the edge of Zones 5 and 6. But even if it doesn’t come back, I’m enjoying it as an annual. These beautiful flowers are sometimes called “vespers iris” because they open up in the late afternoon each day.
In the front of the house I added window boxes. They have grown a little out of hand! I might try a simpler planting next year.
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