Close enough to perfection

There is a day, and if the gardener is fortunate enough, a week when the garden nears perfection, at least to the gardener’s mind. This does not imply that there is not a weed, or that pruning of the nandinas cannot wait another day or the paths will become impassable. That is an impossible standard in this garden, so I readily overlook these minor faults, and am able to find joy while paying little attention to maintenance chores that will wait for another day.Fringetree in mid May

Is today the garden’s peak? Perhaps, though ‘Venus’ dogwoods and fringetrees (Chionanthus virginicus) are not quite in full flower, and the dark leafed crapemyrtles are just beginning to leaf so that there are voids in the garden’s foliage. Next week might be it, but this depends on the azaleas persisting since there is a distinct drop in color and scent when the deciduous azaleas pass from bloom.

Autumn Encore Twist will have flowers that are solid purple scattered amongst bicolor blooms.

Autumn Encore Twist will have flowers that are solid purple scattered amongst bicolor blooms.

There is no doubt that evergreen azaleas are substantially more popular than deciduous types, and I will admit that with Encore azaleas that flower in spring and again in late summer, I have overcome a considerable bias against the common azalea. But, with Encores (Autumn Encore Twist, above) and deciduous azaleas scattered through the garden, all flowering in early May, I wonder how the tall and sweetly scented deciduous azaleas with bright yellow (below) and orange flowers cannot be more favored.

Many of the deciduous azaleas are brightly colored and very fragrant.

Many of the deciduous azaleas are brightly colored and very fragrant.

While fragrant viburnums passed out of flower weeks ago, ‘Maresi’ (Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Mariesii’, below) has no fragrance, but abundant pure white flowers. As shrubs are wont to do, they too often grow a bit larger than is expected. When planting, the gardener imagines a six foot, possibly an eight foot tall and spreading shrub, but after a decade ‘Maresi’ is several feet wider and a corner of the patio has disappeared beneath the wide spreading branches.Maresi viburnum

A neighbor solved this dilemma by hacking his unfortunate viburnum down to size (three feet tall and wide). I have made similar errors, but ‘Maresi’ has plenty of space in this garden. Unfortunately, the large viburnum is partially concealed behind a bushy serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis), but still,the flowers shine through, though the shade does inhibit the shrub’s splendid autumn foliage color.

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