This is hardly surprising, or disturbing, but very little seems to go exactly as planned in the garden. Perhaps this is why the gardener is so pleased when one thing or another goes right, which fortunately occurs with some regularity. On occasion, a perennial or bulb disappears from one year to the next, and I’m clueless about its absence until my memory is jogged by an old photo, or sometimes when I look at some spot and wonder “what’s missing?” Last evening, this was the case with the double flowered Autumn crocus ‘Waterlily’ (Colchicum ‘Waterlily’, below) that should be as sturdy as any plant in the garden, but mysteriously disappeared, probably a few years ago though I had not given it a thought until yesterday.
The reminder this time was another Autumn crocus (below) that has spread to fill the space on each side of the vigorous, low growing ‘Allan P. McConnell’ hosta, so that the gap was never noticed. As is usual, I haven’t a clue why ‘Waterlily’ failed, but this has ended well enough that there are no regrets, except that I must plant the delightful ‘Waterlily’ again in some other spot. Of course, the time is past to plant Autumn crocus for this year since these are ordered and planted in the spring to flower in late summer. So, that will have to wait, and certainly it would be worthwhile if I could develop a system to remind of such things since this is likely to be the last I think of it until this time next year.
Recently, once the late summer flowering Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia uvaria ‘Ember Glow’, below) began to bloom, it occurred to me that one large clump that typically flowers in spring has been lost beneath an Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) that has grown this year with exceptional vigor. When reminded, I looked to see if the clump could be salvaged to move to a sunny spot, but the thick foliage of the hydrangea has shaded the Red Hot Poker so that it’s too weak to expect to save. Fortunately, in prior years this clump had been split and transplanted, so it’s not a complete loss. In the short while since the new Kniphofia cultivars have been planted, I’ve been pleased that new flowers appear continuously over a few months, and hummingbirds (below) have become much more regular visitors.
In any case, something must be done about the Oakleafs since it is not only the Red Hot Poker that has been lost. On the far side of the koi pond, branches of another hydrangea have grown to cover Japanese irises (Iris ensata) planted between boulders in shallow water. The hydrangea was pruned once earlier in the summer, but this will need to be done again, and probably a few times each year for ever more. When the pruning is managed correctly, the upright foliage of the iris looks marvelous jutting up through the large hydrangea leaves, but I’m troubled that when I’m overextended in the spring this could be one more thing that gets neglected, and the iris might also be lost.