Two weeks away from the garden

Drought or deluge, there is no doubt that the garden will change significantly while I travel on business for two weeks. Changes are likely not to be apparent to a visitor, but hours of weeding will be required to catch up, and more hours will be spent catching up on flowers that are opening (and ones that will be fading).

Flowers of Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) are fading. In two weeks the remaining flowers will be gone.

While bees are frequent visitors to Butterfly weed, butterflies are more rare, even with abundant numbers of Tiger swallowtails in the garden.

Before I leave, weeds have been plucked , and while I cannot claim that there are none, the garden is as weed-free as it will ever be in early summer. That will change, of course, with newly germinated seedlings lurking just below the surface, and after two weeks the result will be distressing.

I suspect that any gardener is disappointed to miss a single of the garden’s flowers, and as I prepare to leave there are emerging flowers that will have faded upon my return. Others, such as ‘Gilt Edge’ toad lilies (Tricyrtis formosana ‘Gilt Edge’, above), will be the first of many flowers to come.

I will miss the flowering of Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora, above) by a day or two, and while there is a bit of color showing, the short lived blooms are likely to be fading upon my return. A chance seedling growing at the far end of the garden in swampy ground beneath a river birch (Betula nigra) is more deeply shaded, so it is not likely to flower for weeks. This buckeye, planted in shade of the Bigleaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla), but with a bit more sun, has grown vigorously, and its flowering will put on a show that I am disappointed to miss.

The flowering stalks of Pineapple lilies have nearly reached their full height, so flowers will open in the next week.

Crocosmias are beginning to flower, and with luck will be in full bloom when I return.

Mountain mint (Pycnanthemum muticum) has just begun to bloom, so beetles and bees will continue to visit for many weeks.

Joe Pye weed is beginning to flower. Seedlings grow in gravel at the edge of the koi pond, attracting dozens of swallowtails.

Pistachio hydrangea started late after damage in a late freeze, so the first flowers will arrive in late JUly.