Monday, July 8, 2013

Elaine and the Gnome

"Elaine and the Gnome" is not the name of a summer blockbuster movie. They are both stone statues in my backyard.
Elaine is my beautiful statue on the west side of the yard. I purchased her years ago at a lovely nursery near Kitchener. Her tag said ELAINE so I have always referred to her as that. Her head is bowed, as she feeds the birds seeds from her apron.
I leave Elaine out over the winter even though she is made of cement. She is on a slab of flagstone so has never suffered frost damage or cracks.

Over the years, the Elaine bed has filled in and is now lush and full. It contains some of my favourite combinations as well as 11 hostas.

When we moved here, my friend gave me a white gnome as a "joke" housewarming gift. She knew I didn't care for gnomes but I have kept him over the years (well hidden away!). Still, the garden bed he's  in bears his name: the Gnome Bed. It also contains a few lovely combinations.

Let me show you how the Elaine bed looks right now

We have had enough rain that everything is plump and lush and full. Most hostas are mature enough that they have reached their maximum height and spread. Some are 3-4 feet in diameter! And many have just started to bloom.

I am really enjoying a new type of plant I bought in the spring: Chinese Astilbe (Astilbe chinensis var. Pumila). The leaves are similar to regular Astilbe but the flower heads look puffy and soft. They are a gorgeous shade of fuschia.

The Brunnera 'Jack Frost' continues to look lovely and the annuals fill in the faded bulb areas.

The Bergenia cordifolia has put out fresh, glistening leaves.

And a wonderful dainty deep pink clematis (maybe "Princess Diana"? I have lost the tag) winds its way through the pussywillow branches.

The Gnome bed is just inside the gate as you enter the backyard. You'll notice the Gnome himself is tucked waaaay back into the foliage :) This bed consists of Japanese Painted Fern, a perennial geranium, phlox, a small leaf blue Hosta and some annuals. The bed is surrounded by junipers, climbing roses and euonymus.

I leave you with a few more parting shots of Elaine……..

Please check out my food blog - the latest recipe is for Peach Pie.


Nadezda said...

I love your Elaine bed, great combination of leaves and shapes, hostas and euonymus.
I've never seen Chinese Astilbe, will try to plant it in my garden as well, pretty color!

Astrid said...

Hi Nadezda
Isn't Chinese astilbe cool? My new favourite!

sharon said...

nise mixture of textures and colors!

Astrid said...

Welcome Sharon!
Thanks! I am really enjoying my garden right now.

HELENE said...

I must admit I don’t care much for garden gnomes but your little bird feeding girl is so lovely! And I think I have the same astilbe as you, although mine came without a proper name, it just said astilbe on the label. You can see it on my GBBD post for July last year, it is slightly more purple than yours. The reason why I haven’t got any pictures of my 2 astilbes this year is that none of them have flowered yet! Something has happened to them, they keep on producing flower stalks but then the stalks dry out long before they become flowers. The leaves don’t look too healthy either. It’s funny because the plants are on opposite sides of the gravel path and not in contact with each other at all, strange if they both had some sort of disease nothing else in that bed has! They are such lovely plants so I will give them another season as this last year has been so unusual, I hope they come back next year looking just as gorgeous as usual.

Your hostas look so great and healthy, I think I will include some in my redeveloped bed, but I will try to find some miniature ones as there isn’t that much space.

Astrid said...

Hi Helene
That's too bad about the 2 astilbes - who knows why some plants fail to thrive? It's annoying though.
There are SO many hostas to choose from, I'm sure you can find some little beauties - maybe even at the grocery store garden centre! That's where I've had a lot of luck.

Jennifer said...

I have always admired your Elaine statue any time you have shown it. The plantings around her are quite lovely and have a nice mix of foliage colors and textures. Some gnomes are cute and I think your little fellow is actually kind of sweet. Astilbe is doing great in my garden this summer. I think its all the rain. I was thrilled to have a bit of sunshine today.

Astrid said...

Hi Jennifer
I just hopped on Google to see if the little garden Centre near Kitchener still exists but I can't find it. That where I got Elaine, Blair rabbit and the fish. Elaine was actually on super sale because the little bird at her feet had broken off at one point and had been cemented back on. I didn't care and couldn't even see the crack so she was a bargain! Yes, we have had adequate rain - not like last summer!