Roxanne Wells’ Gorgeous Garden

Turkey Tracks: July 24, 2020

Roxanne Wells’ Gorgeous Garden

Long-time friend Roxanne Wells is a master gardener and a master quilter who mostly designs her own astonishingly wonderful quilts. Unlike my wild gardens here on Howe Hill, on property that is on a hill, Roxanne’s gardens are meticulously planned and tended. I have been in awe of her garden and her quilts for many years now.

We email pretty much daily, and we send pics back and forth—pics mainly of gardens and quilts. The emails cover a wide range of our thinking, ideas, worries, and joys. She is a special friend in my life.

I thought that it would be fun to see pics of how Roxanne’s gardens develop over the summer and to hear how she thinks and plans for how the garden looks as each grouping of plants comes into bloom. Roxanne chooses each plant carefully for the statement it makes in its own blooming season. She thinks about how the garden will look during the WHOLE summer season.

So, I asked her if she would put together a series of pictures that show her garden’s changes over this season so far. The text is also hers from this point.

My Gardens Throughout the Season

Given this large bed is the focus from most of the rooms in the back of the house, it’s the largest of my gardens. I’ve included photos over a span of the growing season to see how this garden changes – sometimes only in a matter of a week or two.  There are no annuals in the gardens.  The closest I come to annuals are the violas which self-seed from year-to-year.

June 13th.  The larger bed with chives, violas, aquilegia (both pink and purple hybrids), and pinks in bloom.  


Three weeks later, on July 4, the pinks and purples on their way out and reds appearing. The reds are from astilbe and asiatic lilies (two different asiatic hybrids in differing heights).


A closer look at the red asiatic lilies: Tall, dark red is the hybrid “Montenegro” and the shorter orange/red is “Matrix.”


Another two weeks—on July 16th—and this is the same bed seen from the far end looking back at the house. Now the pink and purple colors are fading and being replaced by darker and hotter colors that are just beginning to color up. At this time, from this angle, the darker astilbes hold your attention and move your eye along the border of the bed where I have the same hybrid planted in several places.


July 22nd, and only a week later, from the same far end of this large bed. Day-lilies carry the bulk of the colors now, as well as the astilbe and some fuchsia-colored phlox (just beginning to open).

Far end large bed 3rd wk July

More photos below show closer looks at “vignettes” within the larger bed.

June 22, far end of above bed with Siberian iris (“Midnight Velvet” and “Ranman”), aquilegia (purple hybrid) and achillea “Moonshine.” Pinks are in the lower left.


On July 8th, in this same spot, the above blooms are replaced with pink astilbe and white daisies. The achillea’s yellow blooms remain for many weeks. I like this achillea hybrid (“Moonshine”) for its soft yellow, which compliments many other colors, and the length of its bloom time.

Daisies, Achillea Moonshine, Astilbe

July 4th. This is the center of this large bed. Once again I’ve used the achillea “Moonshine” to facilitate moving the eye from one area of the bed to another, but still maintaining the overall color scheme. However, here the pink color comes from a small, but prolific asiatic lily (“Lollypop”) and a dark pink astilbe—which mimics the darker pink on the edge of the asiatic lilies.

Birdbath, Lollypop asiatics, achillea Moonshine and astilbe

As you follow the center path and look thru this large bed vignette (above), there’s a wetter area where bog plants flourish.

July 8th: The “bog bed”: astilbe, Japanese iris and filipendula.

Bog bed. Queen of the Prairie, astilbe,

And behind this bed (just visible at the top right of the above photo) there’s a steep embankment along the back of the garage. This area is a challenge to garden. The area is steep, so needs plants that will hold the soil. And, it is dry, so needs plantings that will tolerate dryness as well. Here I’ve incorporated a mix of hosta (large leafed and with a varied color range to add interest to this otherwise non-blooming area) and a mix of evergreens. There are also barberry to add a touch of red.

back of garage hill

My yard has presented a challenge with its wide range of topographies, but also given me an opportunity to “garden with a bit of everything.”

Enjoy! Roxanne