This is my fourth spring in this garden. For three years I have been creating garden beds, but this year I have been editing them: rearranging the furniture, so to speak. I have been having a lot of fun. It is my art; it engages my creative juices, as I seek the most aesthetically pleasing spot for each plant. It is mentally challenging, putting together a puzzle as I consider not only what will look good in a certain spot, but what will thrive there. And of course it involves lots of wandering around the garden in a musing kind of state.
Scenes from the garden, in the order I see them on my usual tour:The variegated shrub is Ivory Halo dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Bailhalo’ IVORY HALO). The dark blue spikes leaning every which way are Delphinium x belladonna ‘Bellamosa’. My sister grew several from seed and gave me a seedling. They had gotten pounded by rain the day before this photo was taken, but are pretty much upright again. In the upper right corner you can see a bit of the next bed we will visit. I intended for this bed to be predominantly white, but it seems too congested and needs a contrasting color to punch it up. There was one lone foxglove trying to fulfill that function, and I just added some red astilbe, but I am thinking those ‘Bobo’ hydrangeas are too close together, and perhaps I should have thinned out the white rose campion (Lychnis coronaria ‘Alba’). I am still mulling this over. I am pretty happy with the parking pad bed, but am puzzled about the colchicums growing at the base of the wall. The ones I planted in 2011 at the further end of the wall have filled in nicely. The ones I planted the following year, well, a lot of them never showed back up. I have replanted that end of the wall and we will see how they fare in the coming years. Not sure why one side has thrived and the other has not. And maybe it’s about time I removed the fake flowers, left by the previous owner, from that windowbox. The Slope Garden is my nemesis. The only garden created by the previous owner, it is infested with weeds and semi-weeds (sundrops, I’m looking at you), has heavy clay soil, plenty of rocks, and duh, it’s on a slope. It’s no fun to weed a slope. But I keep chipping away at it, adding more shrubs and well-behaved ground cover. This is probably the best looking corner, with a variegated grass that was already here, Invincibelle Spirit hydrangea, a dwarf Montgomery spruce, and two rhodos whose flowers match the rose campion in color–and this year at least, the two overlapped in bloom. The bedraggled coneflower leaning into the spruce was just moved there. I probably should have cut it back by half, but I never have the heart to do that, and I’ve never seen a scientific study that proves it actually helps. So there. Potager or kitchen garden–whatever you call it, it’s a pleasing combination of food plants and ornamental plants. My daughter Talitha grew the bee balm from seed, and at this point they’re the main feature of this garden. Skipping around the whole back of the house, which still needs a lot of tweaking, we come to this combination at the base of an established lilac: The ‘Grape Expectations’ coral bells were sent by Walters Gardens for me to trial. They are a H. villosa hybrid which means they are more tolerant of heat and humidity. I am patting myself on the back for realizing they were the perfect companions for the Japanese painted fern. That green ferny foliage is a gazillion first-year seedlings of mountain fringe. They look pretty right now but all but one of them must go before they turn into vines next year. Actaea simplex ‘Black Negligee’ is in back,and you can see a bit of vining mountain fringe clambering over it. ‘Amber Moon’ Astilbe chinensis fills out the center, and Ringsabell Mulberry Rose campanula carpets the ground. And I do mean carpets. Despite what you may have read, this bellflower is not a clumper. You need to set the boundaries for this plant, otherwise it has none.
Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.