Tag Archives: southern side path

Surprises Along The Southern Side Path

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

I have not shown the garden along the southern side of the house in a long time. The Southern Side Path is a narrow border with a winding stone walkway, that provides access from the driveway down to the main garden in the back yard. If you walk down the path, turn around and look back up toward the street, this is the view you will see.

Clematis 'Jackmanii' In Southern Side Garden

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ In Southern Side Garden

(Be careful not to turn your head to the right or you’ll see the neighbors’ house looming large.)

Standing in the distance near the street and not really part of the border, a Betula nigra (River Birch) is visible. This tree began losing lots of its leaves several weeks ago, but after some heavy rains came it decided to hold on to the rest of its foliage a while longer.

In the foreground, Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ usually has a few flowers this time of year, but the weather has been especially encouraging to it this autumn. Behind and underneath the clematis is Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass). In front (not visible) are planted Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris).

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

In between the clematis and the river birch are a host of odds and ends. A few are:

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)
Lavender
Iris germanica (Bearded iris)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)
Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)
Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Amazingly, these and other plants that grow here are all ignored by the deer which make their way between the two houses quite often.

Sitting along the path just in front of the dark green Wintergreen boxwood shrub, (Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’), is the current star of the Southern Side Garden. It is the fragrant Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily) .

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Last winter was exceedingly cold so when spring arrived I was concerned whether the Ginger lily had even survived. Fortunately by mid-May a few stalks had emerged. Through summer it never grew as full nor tall as it had during the previous two years, but finally today a flower opened.

I had been eagerly watching this tender perennial for quite a few weeks, hoping it would bloom before a frost could wilt it back to the ground. I was curious when it bloomed last year. In checking my photo records I noticed the set of dates when I took pictures of the flowering ginger lily. An unscientific but interesting observation is that for the previous two years the ginger lily had flowered much earlier than usual and for an extended period of time.

Dates Of Photographing Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily) Blooms In My Garden
October 18, 2008
September 24, 2009 – October 25, 2009
2010 – ?
October 13, 2011
September 2 – November 2, 2012
August 10 – November 7, 2013
October 17, 2014

Leaving the Southern Side Path, turn around and come inside the main garden. Here yesterday, I again attempted to capture the elusive monarchs. This time a couple of the butterflies were nectaring on the Zinnias, which made it easier for me to get close and get a picture from the back with the wings open.

Monarch Nectaring On Zinnia

Monarch Nectaring On Zinnia

I particularly liked this image which not only captured the eyes clearly, but recorded pink reflections cast from the flower onto the underside of the wing and thorax of the butterfly.

Pink Reflections On Monarch Wings

Pink Reflections On Monarch Wings

A Little Garden On The Side

There is a narrow strip between the southern side of our house and the neighboring house with just enough room on our property for a winding walkway and a few plants. The blue slate path leads gently downhill from the driveway and with a sharp turn toward the house, it guides visitors through a gate and into the main garden.

Just before the gate sits a trellis supporting a Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ that bloomed profusely between late March and May. It is left now covered with foliage and seed heads. On the opposite side of the path, flowering cleomes guard a ceramic bird bath. At the corner of the house Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ is reaching 5 feet tall.

Cleome bloom in front of a ceramic bird bath near the southern entrance gate.

Cleome bloom in front of a ceramic bird bath near the southern entrance gate.

At the driveway end of the walk, a large grouping of fragrant lavender and a few Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) are blooming. There are a lot of silvery-leaved plants here. Recently I trimmed back dozens of Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) and Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) which dominated a large portion of this garden in spring. Now bright red blooms of Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) dot the walkway, toned down a bit by silvery foliage of a nearby Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood).

Last year hummingbirds zipped through here occasionally, startling me when I was taking pictures.

Southern Side Path

Southern Side Path

The outside of this stone pathway was once lined with Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’ (Sky Pencil Japanese Holly), but now only a couple survive.

Between the river birch near the street and the large round shrub, Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’ (Wintergreen boxwood), is another little garden full of daffodils and Phlox subulata in spring. Now it is pink with Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower). A garden designer/landscaper who lives in my community told me recently he has begun having trouble with deer eating Echinacea. Deer travel between these two houses regularly and except for a baptisia, they have not bothered these plants this year. I try not to tempt them but it can be hard to know what they will suddenly find delicious.

I have been gathering some notes on the garden so this is an inventory of plants along the southern side path.

Front Drive
Betula nigra (River Birch)

Southern Side Path- Left Side Nearest Neighbor’s House
Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Blue’ (Emerald Blue Phlox)
Canna
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Daffodils
Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)
Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’ (Wintergreen boxwood)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)
Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)
Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)
Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)
Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)
Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)
Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’
Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’ (Sky Pencil Japanese Holly)
Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Southern Path-Right Side Next To House
Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)
Lavender
Iris germanica (Bearded iris)
Creeping Lemon Thyme
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)
Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
Tradescantia (Spiderwort)
Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)
Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Down The Southern Side Path

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)-8

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) Along The Southern Path May 21, 2013

A small blue slate path hugs the left side of my house, guiding visitors as they walk toward the main garden in back. Irregularly-shaped stones are laid to create a gently curving meander. By necessity, the path slopes downward slightly before turning right and leading through a white picket gate.

I like to think the spacing, curving and sloping of the narrow pathway give reason not only to watch one’s step, but also to slow one’s pace and to look around. In this way garden guests are invited to make a calming transition from public space to private sanctuary.

Plantings Near The Southern Side

Plantings Near The Southern Side

Marking the spot just before the path begins are a few shrubs (winterberry holly, juniper and sky pencil holly) that are interplanted with creeping moss phlox, daffodil bulbs and muscari, echinacea and canna.

The path exists in the narrow strip between my house and another, with the neighbors’ air conditioning units and utility boxes all plainly visible.

These unwanted borrowed views crop up frustratingly often when I photograph plants along the path, but they are less obtrusive than one might think when actually using the path. That is because one’s eyes tend to gaze downward and be held just a few steps ahead. Traveling down the path one is invited to explore and and enjoy the plants on either side.

As visitors step from the grass onto the first blue stone they may notice ginger lily on the left, lavender on the right.

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Continuing down the path they may pause briefly before stepping around the plants spilling out into the path. Some years the walkway is dominated by Lamb’s Ears. In other years cleome or zinnia are featured. Usually the plants themselves choose.

Cleome has self-seeded and is growing along the path and in-between stones. but for now this is the year of Rose Campion, both white and red.

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Midway down on the right is a large clump of yellow iris that bloomed magnificently early this spring.

On the same side further down the path beebalm, Russian sage, black and blue salvia and a rather cramped pink muhly grass are all growing. On the left is artemisia, flax and baptisia. Follow the path down.

At the end on the right just before the path turns to go into the garden a Jackmanii clematis stands as sentinel. This view was taken a few weeks ago and now Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ has grown to fill the corner behind the clematis.

Southern Side Path

Jackmanii Clematis

The garden is open…