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What Worked – My 2014 End of Summer Roundup

There is nothing like the official change of season (autumn equinox – I see you)  to inspire a look back over the summer.   I’ve done these posts for many years and I am always so grateful for them come spring – it is helpful to remind myself what was fresh in my mind the previous fall.  Do you do something similar?

I highly recommend it.

So, my vegetable garden was less than stellar (again) this year, but the bright star in the middle of the sickly, bunny ravaged, frustrating mess was my strawberry tower. Here is how the strawberry tower grew in.  Pretty right?  And so much better than the fleeing strawberries.  The Goldilocks Rocks Bidens Hybrid at the bottom was so happy, I am left wondering if doing the whole thing in just that one plant might be a good idea.  I will definitely play with this again.

Here is a look from the top – the Euphorbia Diamond Frost and the Sunsatia Coconut Nemesia were a white combo that I think I will try again too – perhaps in other containers.

My other big love this year was Dahlias – I’ve grown them before, but never as successfully as I did this year.  I’ll have to do a whole run down post of them separately – but check out this one… it is only the size of the palm of my hand and I found her face down in the dirt….and she still looks pretty great. Her friends are bigger than my face and you can literally admire them from 50 feet away.  In my big garden these ladies are really holding their own.

On the patio I have coleus of various sorts in pots.  I have fallen hard for two varieties, Sedona (which is clashing like crazy with the purple nemesia  that I paired it with  -so I am not sharing that eye bleeding shot – but loving both plants nonetheless – just need to separate) and this one Marooned.  These less variegated varieties were pretty luscious.  Those grassy bits in the shot are lemongrass (which was a great paring with the coleus) but next year I think I will try some of these great foliage plants near my dahlias for even more drama.

The grasses are really starting to come into their full beauty.  Fall is really the best reason to plant them.  My Pennisetum Red head is still an all time favorite and I have begun to use it profusely in flower arrangements – it pairs well with Golden Rod, huge Limelight hydrangeas, Sedum (Autumn Joy) and crazy face-sized dahlias to make ginormous-ly satisfying bouquets.

I will be so sad to see the end of the annual Pennisetum  Prince as it has been such a beauty and played so well with other dark plants (like the coleus). The dark plant thing was  interesting to me – I’ve avoided them as I have a very dark-colored house and generally thought that dark plants wouldn’t work that well.  Well, I was wrong….they are lovely and though they get a little lost when planted right up against a dark wall, they are perfect for bringing this sort of sophisticated color throughout the rest of garden.  It was relief from green that I didn’t even know I needed.

So what were your big winners?

images by rochelle greayer

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Proven Winners.  I am not an employee of Proven Winners and all opinions are my own. See the other posts in this series.

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