First, the good news: the potted garden on the gravelled area outside the back door has gone from this, at the end of September:
You can see I haven't cleaned the gravel yet or spread it out evenly, but the area is looking much better with more pots and plants. I'm not sure about the watering can (this is the one I use for these pots, so it's handy to keep it there) but I think I like it providing a contrast to the terracotta pots.
Here is a plan of the plants I've used:
Some still need to fill out a lot more, but I think they'll look great in a few months. I need to replace the Violas as they have mildew. I have never had this problem before and I think they must have been infected at the nursery, as those I planted in a pot on the front porch have it too, whereas others in the garden, from a different nursery, do not. Violas won't last here in this sunny spot once the hot weather comes in about a month anyway, so it doesn't really matter. If the Oleander is not filling the pot by then, I'll plant a yellow or orange summer annual.
As for the other area I'm trying to improve, the eastern end of the front garden, there hasn't been much progress, although there has been a lot of thought. I wanted to wait until all the Vinca had re-sprouted so it could be dug out properly. This has been done three times now, and hopefully we have it all, so the area has been watered, fed and mulched with Sugar Cane Mulch.
I've called this the "Honeysuckle Bed" because there is a Honeysuckle on the arch at the back of it. I hope to start planting next week. I've bought the first few plants to create my colourful "tapestry" here:
There are two plants of Salvia "Wendy's Wish" that starts flowering earlier than any other I have, and keeps on going into autumn like the others. It has unusual flowers - magenta with a prominent plum-coloured calyx that lasts after the flowers finish. The dark stems echo the colour of the Honeysuckle stems. There are also three plants of Calibranchoa Million Bells "Coral Chimes". You can see they're more pink than coral, although they become more coral in hotter weather. I want the plants in this area to be really vibrant, but they will need some cooler contrast to tone them down, and I noticed that the Convolvulus growing near where I put the pots looks good with the Calibranchoa:
Same flower shape, same kind of low foliage, but a contrasting colour. Maybe just one plant of this would be good. I'll need a lot more plants, but this is a start, and once I've planted them I'll decide what else I need here.
The bed behind the front steps has had nothing done to it this month because the soil is very poor here and needs building up.
We're going to replace the slate edging with taller blocks to match the edging of the front garden and then dig in lots of manure. Hopefully this will be started by the end of next month. I still want a climbing rose on this wall, but now I can't decide between red and pink, so I may wait until the Honeysuckle garden is planted up and then decide what will look best as a background.
I think I'm going to put wooden lattice in front of the steps, but I need to see what's available locally and what it will cost.
So that's my End of Month View. If you'd like to see posts from other bloggers who participate in this meme, or would like to join in next month, visit Helen at The Patient Gardener's Weblog.