When I posted in the late spring about some of our exterior upgrades, I got some nice compliments on the beautiful bushy green flower strip along our foundation. I wanted to give you a little update on those beauties.

When I moved in, there were 6 or 7 rosebushes planted there and they managed to struggle along by themselves in the mostly-shade on that side of the house.  Now one of my pet peeves from years of growing roses in Michigan is naked rose legs. I believe that roses are made to live with other plants growing around them, particularly herbaceous perennials!  Ahem, I may have strong feelings on this topic.  My garden in Michigan looked like this.

SO in my newlywed brokeness I bought a single $2 packet of nasturtium seeds, sowed them, and watered them into life.  And they looked great for a year and a half!  Well, mostly.  Well, at least in the cooler months of the year.

See, it turns out that nasturtiums (which I had never grown before, neither here not in MI) thrive in cool weather but sulk themselves to shreds in the heat… even in the shade.

Here’s a closer look at how they were doing about three weeks after the pretty shot at the top of the post.

But wait, let’s move in even closer…

And closer…


NASTY nasturtiums!

Yes, those plants were all bug eaten and half wilted by mid-May, and they weren’t going to perk up again until about October.

So we pulled them all out.

Right now we’re going to leave it that way to make it easier to paint the front of the house.  After we get that done, we might plant it, or we might wait and pave part of it in as we redo the porch.  We’re not sure yet!

I’d say it was a successful temporary garden to add some green while we were doing other things, and I liked the red, orange and yellow colors of the nasturtiums and roses enough to continue that with whatever we plant next.

Has anyone else had a garden where they had to make do for a while until the real thing comes along?  Anyone else like Billie Holiday songs like the one I just quoted?  How about some good ideas for things to plant super close to the house in Southern California? (Hint: junipers and cypresses are NOT in that category!)