Over the past few weeks I’ve spent far more time in the garden tearing things up rather than enjoying, and its become wearisome. First, a grove of bamboo that had been a nuisance for the past decade was removed, then two dead hornbeams and a damaged spruce were cut down. When this was finished and I supposed that there would be some quiet time from the chainsaw, a summer storm knocked over and broke a number of trees so that I spent the weekend chopping the debris into manageable pieces. The clean up is far from complete, but I’m ready to sit back and enjoy for a while before I get back to work.
The blooms on the hydrangeas have been marvelous this year, but in the heat of July they’re fading quickly. The rebloomers (Penny Mac, Endless Summer …) will rest for a while then bud again, but today the variegated ‘Maresi’ hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Maresii’, above) tucked beneath a dogwood in the front garden is in full bloom. This hydrangea flowers only one time in early summer, but its white edged foliage is attractive through the summer. There are two ‘Maresi’ in the garden, and the one in the front garden has grown a number of stems this year with green leaves that must be cut out after flowering. The green leafed branches will grow more vigorously if left, and can overtake the variegated, so they must be pruned out.
With warm winter temperatures the gold leafed blue mist shrubs (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Worcester Gold’, above) required a bit less pruning in the spring, so they started the season a little larger than usual. These are sub-shrubs with partially woody stems that die back every winter, but flower on new spring’s growth. The August flowering, variegated leafed ‘Snow Fairy’ is less woody, and must be cut to the ground each spring. While many supposed blue flowering plants are more purple, the blue mist is true blue, and very cooling in the heat of summer.
I’ve planted single blue mist shrubs in various spots through the garden, but these are most splendid planted in mass with flowers for a month or longer. Recent introductions ‘White Surprise’ (above) and ‘Hint of Gold’ are a few weeks later blooming than ‘Worcester Gold’ and other yellow leafed blue mist shrubs, but their foliage is colored more brightly and flowering is heavier than ‘Snow Fairy’. I’ve been pleased with their growth, foliage, and flowers since I planted them a year ago.
Daylilies are among the toughest of perennials, but over the years several have faded and disappeared as the garden has become more shaded. The red ‘Pardon Me’ (Hemerocallis ‘Pardon Me’, above) reblooms only sporadically for me, but it readily endures a difficult spot in the garden that is alternately wet and bone dry. At one time there were a dozen or more varieties of daylily in the garden, but I’m ashamed to admit that shade has killed many off so that today there are only a handful. The daylily is so easy to transplant that it is hard to imagine that a gardener would allow them to perish due to encroaching shade, but I’ll admit to laziness at times and far greater sins.