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Creating a Shady Place to relax in our Urban Potager….

IMG_7045_edited-1I noticed today the johnny jump-ups are starting to look a bit like they need to be in the shade more since we are approaching the first day of summer. This year I decided to grow most of the johnny jump-ups in containers. I thought they would be easier to add to salads and not get trampled on in the garden.johnny jump ups
I have enjoyed having the johnny jumps-ups in the containers this year. They are easier to find and seem to be lasting longer since they are not getting trampled on by the critters in my yard(human ones to!).
This area was filled with weeds years ago. I decided to clear it out and put an eating area. We have a beautiful oak tree that provides shade until noon.It is a great place to sip tea and coffee while reading the newspaper. I’ve been working on it for several years.
I put these old whiskey barrels in years ago. They are still useful, so I decided to put my lovage in these containers. It is very happy this year, and we do use it in our homemade salad dressing,chicken salad or soups. People use it in place of celery.
My lemon balm has reseeded into this old whiskey barrel. I had johnny-jump-ups in this barrel,but today I noticed it was filling up with lemon balm.
I am slowly adding new flowers to this area. I started these Five Spots(Nemophila Maculata) from seed this past spring. My husband suggested we put these Fives Spots in with Johnny Jump-ups. They are very delicate and detailed.I have not seen too many bees around them, but they claim the bees do like these flowers.
This bee seems to be enjoying my Penstemon Digitalis ‘Husker Red’
I have had so many problems this year with all my stuff being eaten. I have 3 old whiskey barrels and this one was filled in May with trailing johnny jump-ups. I noticed one day a critter in my urban potager decided to eat every one of the flowers!I figure it will bloom again. This is the first year I grew this trailing vine johnny jump-ups. I grew all these from seed in January. We shall see if they survive!

6 replies »

  1. Beautiful set-up, that table space… trust it would be quite lovely to spend time there, gazing at how pretty your potager is while munching on freshly harvested veggies…

    • Thank you Lrong. I found I was unable to grow a lot of vegetables under that 70 + year old oak tree which takes up half of my backyard. I did find we could grow some herbs and cole crop veggies that tolerate some shade. A few years ago that tree was one of the few that was not damaged by a terrible wind ( they did not call it a tornado) that took out all the old trees in our area. My neighbor behind finally took out her two large trees this summer( they looked like “Vincent van Gogh Trees” from his paintings). It is the only place that is cool in our yard during hot humid summer days!

  2. A 70 + year old oak in your garden? Wow… We have a huge sakura tree (about 40 years old?) that occupies a bit too much space… we are keeping it as it is the biggest sakura tree in our whole neighborhood…

    • The area where they built our house use to be an apple orchard many years ago. We had an aborist check the tree out to find out if it was doing well. It is quite large and covers 4 properties( city lots are not too big!). She told us it was healthy and was at least 70 yrs old. When we had that storm about 5 yrs ago that took out most of the old trees out back, but the old oak tree was still standing. We also lost another tree on the other side from the storm it was split in half and they took it out the year of the storm. You really miss a tree when it is gone, they provide homes for animals and keep us cool in the warm weather. You can feel the difference when you walk under this large oak tree in the middle of summer, so nice and cool and a great place to beat the heat!

  3. Hi Robbie,

    We have several large oak trees keeping a fair bit of our garden in shade. Since you also have this issue, I was wondering if you could suggest any herbs, vegetables, perennial bushes or perennial groundcovers which would do well in a place shaded by an oak tree? I am not so keen on planting flowers as my main aim would be to get the garden looking green all year round, and I wouldn’t want to have to do a lot of work replacing annuals (unless they were vegetables).

    The climate where I live in Canberra, Australia is fairly hot and dry in summer, in winter we get many days below zero (celcius) and frosts, and our soil is probably not very good and mostly clay.

    Any suggestions?

    • Don’t get me started-lol.I may go on forever:-) Our trunk on this tree is so HUGE. It is one of the last old trees standing between 4 lots. My neighbor is always bugging me about my “old tree” and if I will cut it down. We had an arborist come by and look at it a few years ago and it is 70+ years old. This summer my neighbor behind just had her trees left from the storm taken out to the ground. Now I have more sun again! We have a lot of clay here, too..let me ponder this a bit and I’ll get a list of some that have worked for me under the old oak tree–I’ll leave it on your blog. I am enjoying reading your blog. Made me wish I would of blogged about it back in 2000!

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