I'm so happy to be a part of the Garden Party that Brenda at Cozy Little House is hosting. After you have a chance to read my post, please visit these other ladies who share a love in all things that grow and enhance a garden. So many of you, my besties, have seen some of these pictures, but nature is ever changing, perhaps that's why I love to be in my gardens as much as possible. And I try to make it a welcoming place to visit. So grab your coffee or a cool drink and come along!
Welcome! I adore pots, the more old and chippy and unique, the better. I have a fairly large patio in my backyard so I love to be surrounded by pots that I make up differently from year to year. And a little whimsy like this stake can be found around every corner to make you smile!
One of the unique things about living in a neighborhood of a very large city is that each and every home is so different. One of my favorite things to do is to take long walks and get landscaping and gardening ideas One common thread in our neighborhood is that the front yards of homes are very much 'manicured'. People like a uniform feel and enhancing curb appeal. I like to go a bit more crazy in my backyard. In front I have pretty shrubbery that I keep closely trimmed, tons of ivy and some perennials (Elephant Ear and Joe Pye Weed) that bloom later in the summer. I added some red geraniums this summer along the border and an urn bursting with color on the porch.
I have a large bay window in front and every year I fill flower boxes. This year I used a lot of Dianthus, Lobelia and Nicotiana for a blowsy look. It's taking it's own sweet time filling in but is oh so colorful.
Walking around to the back gate we have this odd little concrete patio and an ancient park bench. I jazz it up with pots of flowers every spring. People pushing babies in strollers or walking dogs sometimes pause and smile.
I'm always on the lookout for the oddball pieces to use in my gardenscapes. Every spring it all gets moved around. This old iron chair belonged to the original owners of our home, which is now 80 years old. It's missing a leg so I always prop it against something! Ha!
I found this iron basket in Michigan where we have our lakehouse. I find the most unique pieces up there in the country as well as plants and flowers I can't find here in Chicago. How lucky can you get shopping 100 miles apart?
This wood framed 'window' was found at a junk shop a few years ago. I'd love some ideas on how to give it more personality. I thought of stenciling something on the front of the box. Have we gotten over French script yet? Maybe some sort of applique? A mini wreath hanging in the center? It's a little blah in spite of the pretty flowers.
Re~using anything I can makes me smile. An old galvanized feed bucket found in the garage of our lake home in the country held a mini evergreen/Christmas tree 6 months ago and now it's filled with Million Bell petunias. It sits on an old weathered picnic bench.
I'm really late in the game but I have been coveting perennial flowers, brighter colors, and feeding the birds after many years of not having the time or inclination to do more than plant some annuals, a few pots of herbs and a small vegetable garden. Dividing our time between Chicago and our house in Michigan has always been difficult in the summer months so I've had to keep everything very low maintenance (at both homes). If you are new to my blog, we had serious water damage there from a broken pipe in February. We are hoping, on a wing and a prayer, that we will be back in our home in the early fall. And that's a whole different garden party in itself! :) So---I have had more time to baby my gardens here. I've always had a lot of birdhouses, but I never actively fed the birds because I would sometimes spend 3-4 days in Michigan and the back and forth situation might have been a little cruel to the poor feathered creatures who were expecting a meal when I wasn't here (or there).
So I'm spending so much more time in my little backyard paradise here in the city. To my surprise you wouldn't believe what I spotted recently. Something that loves the color red...
Hummingbirds! Yes! All my hard work in establishing perennials over the past few years is paying off. I ran out and bought a feeder and I've done a ton of research. I'm so excited sitting on my patio, looking for anything that moves that I can hardly read a page of my book! And the butterflies...everywhere it seems. Yesterday I was weeding the herb garden and came upon this:
I froze in amazement. I've seen the fuzzy little yellow caterpillars on the sidewalk, but a Monarch-- Wow. Funny how it matches this pot of dill.
Then this morning I spotted this guy on the plant as well (do they like dill?). He looks a bit different from the Monarch critter. If you look closely straight through the middle of the plant you can see the first caterpillar. I don't know that I have any milkweed in my yard but I have a ton at the lake. I wonder if I inadvertently brought some seed home?
This is my wee little herb garden and I think it's just perfect. Although I really love to cook, this is the perfect size and I don't have to 'give it away' due to to a bumper crop. Every year I have my favorite Italian herbs; basil, oregano, parsley and rosemary. This year I added lemon and German thyme. Chives, dill, parsley and cilantro are a mainstay. Most of the time I go out and snip as I need it. Sometimes when it looks a little overgrown, I cut bunches of everything, put them in a glass container with water and keep them in my fridge to use in various recipes. Ah...such inspiration for meals.
I have several garden beds along the perimeters of my house and fences. I wish this one was in full bloom. I'm in Zone 5 and I usually see major blooms around mid June with the plants I have. But this year we have had an abundance of rain and although the grass and foliage is lush, the blooms are few and far between. In this bed I have hydrangeas, lupines, delphinium (larkspur), Russian sage, Asiatic lilies and daylilies. In between I mix in annuals but they are losing their space every summer when I add more perennial plants that catch my eye (especially when they go on sale in August!).
I fell in love with lupine (that tall pink sort of plant) when I saw a picture of it on a well known gardening blog (Hi, Beth!). I searched and couldn't find it in my area of Illinois. Ah Ha! We found it at our local nursery at the lake. I also found Spiderwort there and some varieties of plants that I have yet to purchase. I'm like a kid in a candy store sometimes.
I have daylilies all over, they are so easy to grow and maintain and I divide them every few years and start them elsewhere. Depending on the sun and shade, they bloom at different times over the summer- got to love that. The very original plants came from my sister Chrissy's yard---they were taking over. She gave my sisters and I divisions. I still have mine 20 years later. Thanks, Chris.
My love of clematis started when The Husband built an arbor leading from our dock to the lake. He planted a white clematis vine that was just stunning. This 'trellis' here at my house in the city was snagged by my daughter, Emily, when she saw a neighbor put it with his trash at the curb. It's actually a wrought iron headboard. I love it...it's perfect for the clematis and you can see it very well against a brick wall of our home.
I'm winding up the Garden Party here. I hope you've enjoyed a little bit of time here in Chicago. When I walk around my garden I think of how everything old is new again. Some things continue to be a part of our lives here, the huge old walnut trees, the old white lattice chair, the cracked concrete patio that I have no desire to replace. I have old rickety wood birdhouses that may once have sheltered little feathered families in Michigan, they are now homes to robins and cardinals and sparrows here in Illinois. My daylilies from sister's home far away (to me), and lupines and spiderwort from a nursery 100 miles away where they all know my name. The whimsical, the odd, the unique...that's my first love and maybe it describes me as well.
Come visit. We'll take a little tour and smell the flowers, stand back so as not to scare the families in the birdhouses. Watch the birds flit back and forth to the feeders with sunflower seeds and millet. I'll divide some of my flowers for you if you'll do the same for me. We can have coffee and scones in the morning, or a glass of wine and a plate of cheese in the evening. You are all welcome!
Please stop by again...there will be much more in bloom as this gorgeous summer goes on! :)
Thank you, Brenda for inviting me and a big thanks to my loyal followers. If you are new...welcome!! I hope you come back for a visit!
Please visit the other ladies in Brenda's party~~~
Jen at The Cottage Nest
Kris at Junk Chic Cottage
Carolyn at Aiken House And Garden
Rue at An Old Fashioned World
Su at Butterfly and Bungalow
Cathy at My 1929 Charmer
Courtney at Golden Boys and Me
Carol at Art And Sand