…. for the Summertime blues.
I beg to differ. I have a Virginia garden full of plants that stand up to drought, heat and humidity, that withstand torrential rains and hurricane gusts.
And for the poor, heat-stricken gardener? Plop down on that mossy boulder beside the pond. Dangle your toes in the cool water as koi frolic about, anxious for their afternoon feeding.
If you’re as fortunate as I, launch your floating chaise lounge into the big swimming pond with a cool beverage at your side, half submerged. The koi are splashing about you, frogs sun on a warm stone, water bugs scurry to and fro, and on the far side by the waterfall a squirrel has stopped for a drink.
The Japanese iris are nearly past bloom, but the acorus and variegated cattail are filling the shallow bog filtration area. Elephant ears are just beginning to grow now that the heat of Summer has arrived, and abundant blossoms of perennials cascade over the pond’s edge. As near to paradise as I can hope for.
An abundance of rainfall has turned the garden into a lush jungle of hostas with huge leaves arching over the stone paths, prickly mahonias that have grown larger than the reference books expect, and tall nandinas tilting askew from the weight of last night’s rainstorm.
Too soon there will be days when the midday sun will test the garden’s resolve, and the gardeners’. But then, the tropical elephant ears, cannas, and bananas will spring to life, a monstrous new leaf unfurling each day. Tired perennials, and gardeners, will be shaded as the garden transforms to an island paradise.
On this day in mid June the garden is filled with blooms of hydrangeas, roses (though the Red Knockout is in a short resting period), and daylilies. The stewartia is covered in white, camellia-like flowers, and perennials are blooming everywhere.
Kalimeris incisa ‘Blue Star’ has proven to be a long blooming, carefree addition to the garden with nonstop small light blue flowers through early Fall. One of three planted a year ago didn’t survive the Winter, but the others look great.
Most of the hostas have rebounded nicely from serious problems with deer the past two years. Leaves are still a bit small, but the deer repellent spray is doing the trick. Next year they’ll be grand.
The hostas inaccessible to deer are thriving with the continuing rainfall, and seedlings of unknown origin are popping up in the oddest places, in gravel in the island between two waterfalls, and squeezing out from under a boulder at the edge of a stone patio. Though the seedlings are often rather plain, and a hinderance to traversing the garden paths, I can’t bring myself to transplant or root them out. They’ve endured enough struggle for the foothold they’ve gained.
Spiderwort (Tradescantia) has preservered despite a horrid location shaded under a large nandina which is under the large tree lilac with a large stepping rock that crosses a pond to one side, a boulder to the other. With nowhere to grow but sideways, and despite preferring sun and being sentenced to a life without, my poor spiderwort thrives without complaint.
For willingness to adjust to abuse and neglect the varieties of Lysimachia must earn a prize of some sort. They’ve been planted on the driest clay hillside in the garden, baking in the sun, in wet, and shade, and happily creeping beneath its neighbors. Some members of this large family are less than wholesome, spreading themselves about with abandon, but mine are nicely behaved, though not well treated.
I fear I have tested your patience enough for the day. There are far too many bloomers in the garden today, so whether we discuss abused plants or blooming delights, the conversation could last well into the night.
I’ll end today’s journal with my wife’s personal favorite, Houttuynia. If plant torture was legal, she’d have it on the rack. I tell her that every plant has its place, and she does her best to send it elsewhere.
But its will is strong, with an aggressive habit that grows under, around, and over anything in its way. Particularly distressing is the smell when my wife stomps on it, pulls it, or any of the other nasty deeds she contrives to end Houttuynia’s reign over that corner of the garden. But what a lovely flower.