From Both Sides Now

So you have to be careful about what you say to Judy. One day I casually mention that people really liked her overview shots of the garden and maybe she should do more of those. Next thing you know, she’s sitting on a windowsill on the second story of our house, both feet dangling over the side. Aside from the risk involved, it was a pretty good idea on her part, as we have never had pictures of the front garden from this perspective.

The view from on high: Sidewalk, Driveway Borders and Island Bed in the Front Garden.
The view from on high: Sidewalk, Driveway Borders and Island Bed in the Front Garden.

Anyhow, I think these are the first shots of our front garden ever taken from above. Here’s an overview of the whole front on the east side of the driveway.

Far end of the Driveway Border.
Far end of the Driveway Border.

At the far end of the driveway border, we’re all about orange and yellow right now. There’s the orange of the Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) and ‘Eye-yi-yi’ daylilies (Hemerocalis), though I’ve had to cut back the butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) in hopes of another flush of blooms. Then there’s the pale yellow of the ‘Italian White’ sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) and the golden yellow of the yellow coneflower (Ratibida pinnata).

Looking a bit closer.
Looking a bit closer.


The ‘Gateway’ Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum ssp. maculatum) is still forming its flowerheads. At the far end of the far end you can just make out the blue of the anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) and the first flower spike of my ‘Adonis Blue’ butterflybush (you can click on the pictures to make them bigger).

Driveway Border, closer to house.
Driveway Border, closer to house.

At the other end of the Driveway Border, the biggest drift of color is the lavender of wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa). The Monarda goes nicely with the yellow early sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides ‘Prairie Sunrise’). There is also a clump of purple tall ironweed (Vernonia altissima) that’s begun to bloom, but it’s not very visible from this vantage point.

The ‘Heavenly Blue’ morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor) is driving me insane by covering itself in flower buds that seem to have no interest in EVER blooming. I’m wondering if this is some new, more sophisticated variety where you just appreciate the subtle beauty of the flower buds without the distraction of any actual flowers.

Island Bed
Island Bed

The cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum) is now blooming in the Island Bed. So is the sweet Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum), but from here you can just barely see its dusty pink blooms between the cup plant stalks. Another thing you can’t see is that there really are grass paths between these beds, but they are obscured by all the tall plants.

The purple in front of the cup plant is ‘Purple Rooster’ bee balm (Monarda didyma). You can also make out a few clusters of pink swamp milkweed blooms (Asclepias incarnata).  The swamp milkweed blooms later than the butterflyweed.

Island Bed and Sidewalk Border
Island Bed and Sidewalk Border

This gives a pretty good view of both the Island Bed and the Sidewalk Border. You can see that the ‘Northwind’ switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) has bulked up nicely, and that there is still plenty of red from the ‘Raspberry Wine’ bee balm (M. didyma).  Orange Zinnias and yellow daylilies bloom on the parkway bed.

The Cutting and Edibles Bed.
The Cutting and Edibles Bed.

On the other side of the driveway, there’s the Cuttings and Edibles Bed. More ‘Italian White’ sunflowers, plus a few ‘Cut and Come Again’ Zinnias (Zinnia elegans). Also lots of parsley (Petroselinum crispum) and fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), plus three tomato plants trained on wooden trellises. Sadly, no caterpillars.

'Egyptian Spice' daylilies.
‘Egyptian Spice’ daylilies.

In the Crabapple Bed to the south, Asiatic lilies no longer bloom around the ‘Donald Wyman’. However, there are apricot-colored ‘Egyptian Spice’ daylilies, dark red ‘Chicago Apache’, as well as more ‘Eye-yi-yi’ facing west.

Actually, Judy took these pictures while I was away at a meeting in Urbana. If I had been there I would have 1) taken a picture of her sitting on the window sill, and 2) asked her if she had gone completely insane. But when I got home, all I could do was thank her for the photos, which I really like.

I’m joining in the End of Month View meme, sponsored by Helen at The Patient Gardener. Click on the link to see more long views and overviews of great gardens at the end of July.

60 Comments on “From Both Sides Now

  1. Fabulous views – everything looks so bright and lush. So much lovely texture going on as well.

    It’s a bit of a furnace here right now so “yellow and crispy” seems to be all the rage.

  2. Judy had a great idea there. Beautiful pictures and a great overview, Everything looks so fresh and colourful. A very nice borderbed and front garden. Love your monarda and Italian White.

  3. It’s nice to see these wider views and mentally map your garden further. (Casing the joint.) Don’t tell Judy but we got some great shots from our roof once.

  4. So that’s what people mean by ‘a bird’s eye view’!
    It helps one to appreciate your wonderful relaxed style of planting

  5. Lovely to see your garden from a new perspective, you have so many beautiful flowers, it is all looking very lush! Many thanks to Judy for risking life and limb, she has certainly taken some unusual photos!

  6. What a great variety of color, texture, etc. I admire (envy) the familiarity you have with your plants. My garden interests were late in coming. Sometimes I despair of ever attaining and RETAINING the level of knowledge so many of you have – but my appreciation runs deep 🙂

  7. It pays to change perspective now and then – well done, Judy! Your beds look splendid and very lush. You have a great idea for combining flowers. What is the name of the yellow perennial next to the road? Is it a hemerocallis too? I love the heliopsis and must try to get vernonia, bet insects love it.

  8. If I was on your side of the pond I’d grow cup plant – both for the name and the kind bowl of water for thirsty wildlife.

  9. Beautiful! I have the Cup Plant on my list of plants to get but I just do not have the space. I looks so wonderful and lush! How does the Purple Rooster Bee Balm do for you? I bought it once and it died out for me.

    • Purple Rooster seems slow to establish. I planted it three years ago and this is the first time it really has made a presence in the garden.

  10. What a fantastic garden you have! I know lots of your plants from previous posts, but seeing everything in perspective is great! Thanks Judy for risking life and limb! 😉 Lovely photos!

  11. Great pix! Inspiring to see how jam-packed your yard is. Northwest Edible Life used Google Maps to show a bird’s eye view of her yard, then surrounded it with photos of what was where. More inspiration.

  12. You clearly work hard on your garden, it looks lovely and its nice to share a view with us you are fortunate to see every day. Your neighbours are very lucky too!

    • Thanks. I rarely actually see this birds eye view (the window is in a room we use mostly for storage), so I especially enjoyed these pictures.

  13. How brave of Judy! I dislike heights so wouldn’t have my legs dangling for love nor money. It all looks fantastic, but then it always does. My garden is withering in this heatwave, do you water regularly to keep it all looking so lush?xxx

    • I’m actually afraid of heights myself. In general I only water new plants and containers. I rarely water beyond that unless things have gotten extremely dry. Many of my plants are very good at tolerating hot summers and lack of rain. This year, though, rain has been plentiful until recently.

  14. Clearly Judy has no fear of heights. It is great having an overview of the front garden and if is all so colourful whilst mine seems more frazzled and tired. Thanks for joining in with the meme but I hope Judys new photography habits don’t push your insurance premiums up!

  15. Nice job, Judy! And you, too, Jason, for all your hard work in creating such a lovely garden. Those trellises you use for the Tomatoes are nice! I think I’m going to have to chuck Tomato cages next year and try something more decorative. Beautiful post!

    • Thanks. Tomato cages have never worked well for me, the always end of falling over. The trellises fall over too, but not so soon.

  16. It is like seeing the garden in plan view. Do tell Judy to be careful, leaning out of windows is not to be recommended. Lots of blooms still Jason, it looks lovely.

  17. Wonderful photos! Be careful, Judy! How does the Monarda fistulosa cope with mildew? That’s a fantastic color but my Monardas always look awful by midsummer. I’m always on the lookout for something more resilient.

    • M. fistulosa always succumbs to mildew sooner or later – usually in August. I just pretend not to see it and concentrate on the asters and goldenrods. I think it is more mildew resistant than many bee balms but resistance is not total. The same is true of ‘Raspberry Wine’ – good resistance, but you still see some mildew by late summer.

  18. How interesting! Thanks Judy. Now I want to go on my roof and photograph my gardens.

  19. Just incredible – both the photos and the garden! You really have a lot of WOW going on there. 🙂 I’d rip out the grass paths pronto and just pop in some cool pavers and a fun groundcover. Fabulous!! My cup plants are in too much shade. They’re tall but not as lush as yours. What beauties. 🙂

    • Replacing the grass paths with pavers is a thought that has occurred to me. First we need a patio in the back garden – now our outside table and chairs are on the grass.

    • Thanks, I also found it a little unnerving, especially I have a mild fear of heights. Probably a good thing she did it when I wasn’t there.

  20. Haha I love the image of Judy perched on the windowsill, she’s a brave one!
    It looks remarkably lush, thanks for pointing out that there were grass paths in there, I was wondering where all the paths disappeared to!

  21. Hi Jason, I like the new perspective on the garden. I’ve been up the ladder a lot recently but never have my camera with me to take pictures, which is a shame as the view is good.

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