Now that almost all the veggies are happily in their beds, it was time to change our focus to our planters and getting some colour popping against all the greenery. Although we added marigolds to our garden beds this year, that was more out of hope that they will help deter some of the pests that can cause issues with our veggies. It is really nice to see pops of colour throughout the garden though. More colour will come once we start seeing more strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, squash, sunflowers, etc, etc, etc.
In the top portion of our backyard, we have 6 wine barrels that we always have overflowing with flowers. We also like to bring some height to the colour, so our go-to in those planters are always some canna lilies at the back. This year we did a mix of yellow and red, which should add a nice variety against the backdrop of the cedars. Around them, we have planted a variety of supertunias with lots of interesting colours. They go from standard solids like red and blue, to unique flowers that are a mix of green on the outside with a purple centre, or a purple outside with a yellow-green centre, to others that look like they are almost white with vibrant colour outlining the veins in the flower petals, to candy cane flowers. We have done these a few years in a row. They offer a lot of colour, grow fast and cover a lot of ground, and they don’t need to be deadheaded. By late summer, they are often just about touching the rocks that we have filled the old garden bed with. The contrasting colours and texture is one of my favourite areas to just sit and watch.
On the other side of the top part of the back yard, is where we have a cement patio area. In this area is our BBQ, our hot tub and a patio table and chairs. Beside it is where I built some planters to hide our air conditioner. Those planters have been taken over this year by herb gardens, so a little less flowers, but hopefully a little more variety to the lovely smells of the back yard. Also, maybe a little bug control as well! In front of our hot tub, I usually have 4-6 planters that help bring a splash of colour to that area. This year we went with 4 planters, lined up in front of the hot tub. The cedar planks around the tub, offer a nice backdrop once the flowers grow taller. In the two centre planters, I have purple heart in the front and a few leftover marigolds in the back. The two outer planters have snapdragons in the back and some marigolds in the front. The snapdragons are our favourite variety from last year. They are a salmon colour flower with orange and yellow as it approaches the stem. Very colourful and the bees seemed to love them last year.
Now onto our front yard. Last year one of our big projects was revitalizing the front garden beds by removing the junipers, creating a rock garden bed with large planters for our flowers. We tried out clematis last year, with the hopes that we could help them winter ok. That unfortunately, didn’t work out. So this year we decided to aim for some hardier vines that are going to be more likely to winter well. With some help from one of the staff at a local nursery, we went with white trumpet vine (Campsis radicans “flava”), chocolate vine (Akebia quinata) and kiwi grape vine (Actinidia arguta issai). The trumpet vine and chocolate vine are very similar with similar looking flowers, just in different colours, and slightly different leaves. All three are good for zones 4-9 and we are in zone 5, so we should be good. Because they are in planters and not in the ground, we do plan to do some extra insulation for the winter to help keep them going. They are all also aggressive growers, which is something else we were keen on. We want them to fill out the trellises for a nice lush look at the front of the house. Especially considering we plan to get rid of our front lawn eventually to make a little more room for guest parking. We live on a frontage road, so our front yard is loud with traffic and un-enjoyable. We will save the water for our backyard oasis instead.
Around the base of the vines in the front planters, we have added some more supertunias to overflow and provide event more colour. They will also help keep the roots of the vines shaded during the heat of the summer. Our front yard gets HOT during the summer, with the afternoon sun in full force like a laser beam. The supertunias did great last year out front, and these vines all like full sun and can handle the heat. The benefit of it all, is that they have irrigation run to each planter to ensure the soil gets a really good soak each night and the supertunia coverage (once grown a little bigger) makes sure the sun can’t suck that soil dry during the day.
As we always do, looking to the future when our yard is finished, we plan to have a few areas for flowers in the actual garden beds within the walls. Above the path that runs above our garden beds, there will be an area where we plan to plant a pollinator garden, hoping to attract more pollinators to the yard. Once our gazebo is done, we also plan to have hanging baskets as well as a few planters around that area as well. Along the back fence, we will have espaliered fruit trees which will help bring some delicious smells to our chill zone. Ah, dreaming of the day the major work is done and we just get to maintain our gardens…soon I hope.