Random Notes From The Front Garden

Aside from the Jolly Yellow Giants, there are a few other goings on in the Front Garden.


It took a long time, but the Prairie Spurge (Euphorbia corollata – aka Prairie Baby’s Breath) is filling in and starting to self-sow. That’s fine with me, as long as it doesn’t overcome the Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) or the Wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis) in the Lamppost Bed.


Wild Petunia.

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Earlier this spring I transplanted a Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) from the back garden, where it had been just languishing – not blooming at all. I wonder why? Not enough sun? Anyhow, it’s now near the Clematis jackmanii, against the brick landing of the front door, facing west. It was slow to emerge, but tt must be happier now, because it thanked me with a few flowers. More to come next year, I hope.

Oh, and I just discovered that it’s a host plant for Spring Azure butterflies!


The Alliums are having an ok year. They got pounded down a bit by all the rain in May and June, then crisped a bit by the very dry July. This is a mix of Allium lusitanicum ‘Summer Beauty’ and the native Nodding Onion (Allium cernuum).


Both are loved by pollinators, though. I caught one Red Admiral and two honeybees in this picture.


You knew I’d have to slip in a Monarch Butterfly.

nodding onion

Here’s a clump of just the Nodding Onion.


Closer look at Nodding Onion flower.


Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) used to have a major presence in the Driveway Border, then it went into decline. A big reason must have been defoliation by Four-Lined Plant Bugs. Though I took no aggressive action, the FLPB numbers are now greatly reduced, and the Anise Hyssop is making a recovery. I like to the think that all the beneficial insects got the FLPBs under control.


Speaking of pests, I have aphids on my Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). Little yellow aphids. Just on one of the plants (the tallest one) along the stems just below the flowers. I’ve heard people complain about aphids on Milkweed, but this is the first time I’ve had that problem. A couple of times I put on gloves and just wiped the stems. Didn’t do much good, and made a mess. For now I’m just going to wait for the problem to fix itself.


After the ‘Conca d’Or’ Lilies were done, the ‘Casa Blanca’ started to bloom. Problem is you can’t see them from the sidewalk because they are hidden by Bee Balm (Monarda didyma). Unlike ‘Conca d’Or’, ‘Casa Blanca’ isn’t tall enough to tower above the Bee Balm.


Speaking of Bee Balm, the last of my Monardas to bloom is ‘Purple Rooster’, which I think is a hybrid of M. dydima and Wild Bergamot (M. fistulosa).


Oh, and we’ve come to the end of our Daylily season. ‘Aye-yi-yi’ is done. The one above is called ‘Egyptian Spice’.


And these were the last of ‘Chicago Apache’.

That’s all for now. Happy gardening!

38 Comments on “Random Notes From The Front Garden”

  1. I certainly hope all your neighbors — and even the passersby — appreciate the beauty that you’ve created there. It really is stunning, and the more I see, the more I appreciate how much work has to be involved: not just the labor, but the planning. it’s pretty impressive.

  2. What a reward for all your planning and planting! It is inspiring as we intend planting a new border in spring. Of course we will be looking at very different plants, here in our dry Canberra garden, but will keep the butterflies and birds in mind, as you have done. I’ll enjoy looking at this post a few times, as we get closer to planting time.

  3. Is that honeysuckle the same as scarlet or red honeysuckle? Also, is it native there? It is one that I considered trying, but did not because it is not fragrant. What is the point of honeysuckle if it is not fragrant?! Anyway there is one at work anyway. I did not plant it, but will get acquainted with it anyway.

    • Scarlet honeysuckle would be in a lot more gardens if it had the wonderful wafting scent of Japanese honeysuckle! But it provides early nectar for hummingbirds (starting into flower about a month earlier than J.h.), and is a great aphid trap, which in turn guarantees plentiful lady beetles. Hadn’t known before this post that the leaves are also food for spring azure caterpillars, but that makes three good reasons to give it a try. If grown up a fence or arbor, it takes up almost no ground space. Mine hasn’t self-sown in 20+ years, either.

    • I believe red or coral honeysuckle are different common names for the same plant. L. sempervirens is native here. It’s a pity this plant has no fragrance, but it is beautiful and very popular with hummingbirds. For fragrance I have various Lilies, Roses, Sweet Alyssum, and Korean Spice Viburnum.

      • Yes, I have seen the two names applied to the same species. I intend to grow it anyway, just because I want to see what it does. I already grow Japanese honeysuckle for fragrance, and it is more than good enough. Our native honeysuckles are not pretty at all

  4. You still have lots of color in your garden. Beautiful! My daylilies have been finished for some time. I miss them already. Those nodding onions are interesting. I like them in bud as well as in flower.

  5. I have a honeysuckle trumpet vine but my neighbors get to enjoy it more than me, as it is now blocked by a high bush cranberry that I didn’t realize would get so big. A few years ago, my milkweed had a terrible infestation; this year it is fleas (on the pets, not the plants). It’s always something.

  6. Some gorgeous blooms! I love the Prairie Spurge! I usually have aphids on my milkweed, and if they are too visible I hit them with a spray of water. I love all your alliums! I have a couple nodding onions, but they are still filling in. I keep hearing about how wonderful ‘Summer Beauty’ is. It surely is fabulous to attract monarchs and other pollinators!

    • ‘Summer Beauty’ and Nodding Onion are a good combo. Nodding Onion is less striking because the flowers face downwards, but I like how they contrast with the upright ‘Summer Beauty’. The Nodding Onion also extends the bloom season later into August.

  7. I need to add some nodding onions. My ‘Summer Beauty’ Alliums are sun-challenged, so I’m thinking the native ones would be, too, but it’s still nice to have a few here and there. I’m jealous of your Euphorbia. I planted some seeds of it, and I don’t see any sign of it–probably not enough sun. Re: the aphids…if your milkweed plants are in a place where you can reach them with a hose, you can blast the aphids off. I’ve done that before, but then I worry about blasting off monarch cats, too. I’ve never had a huge problem with aphids, but this year, I hand-picked the umbels that were especially inundated, washed them off in the sink, and fed them to the caterpillars.

  8. Hi there Jason .. You have so many treats for the pollinators .. love those nodding onions !
    I recently lost a long standing anise hyssop of over 15 years (I didn’t think they could last that long!) but bought a new one and it has taken so well it is a large clump now .. I love the scent of it. Even though the lily beetle really ANNOYED me this year I am hoping to find a large pack of Casa Blanca perhaps at Costco and refresh all my patches of it , you just can’t get enough of that gorgeous lily right ? Wonderful shots here !

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