I am encouraged that the garden was not the disaster I feared when I returned after traveling on business for a few weeks. I was certain that weeds would be knee high, but instead, the worst of it was cleaned up in a few hours. Several large limbs fell in storms while I was gone, which is not unusual with the proximity of the garden to tall maples and tulip poplars, but conveniently these dropped between valued plants and no damage was done. I haven’t gotten around to chopping the branches into manageable pieces, but this should not be a big project.
Several blooms that promised to peak while I was traveling have persisted long enough that I can enjoy their last days. The wide spreading Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora, above) was showing the first bit of color before I left, and I figured that flowers would move quickly to their peak and past. Happily, these held on until I returned. An acquaintance recently described bottlebrush as a giant weed, and how could I argue, but with attractive foliage and blooms it is perfectly suited to this shady spot at the edge of the garden. Since I’ve planted it slightly outside the boundary of our property, there’s plenty of space for this large shrub to spread.
Though I am greatly handicapped in describing colors, the apricot flowers of ‘Boone’ gladiolus (Gladiolus x gandavensis ‘Boone’, above) are delightful, and the plant is tough as they come. The tall flowering stalks must be staked or they flop into the mud. Some years this is done early on, and other times (this year) the stalks must be supported by neighbors.
There are a handful of Pineapple lilies in the garden as well as offsets from a vigorous clump of ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ that is perilously close to a wide spreading Oakleaf hydrangea. I feared these would be past bloom when I returned, but I’m happy they’re at their peak.
The foliage of Canyon Creek abelia can fade in the summer sun, and it’s form is upright and leggy, so there are many superior cultivars of abelia. But, there are no better blooms.
Gold Dust was an early variegated abelia introduction that has long been surpassed by others with more striking variegation.
Clethra is best suited to damp soils, but this ‘Ruby Spires’ has done well enough in very dry shade.
There are few bees on butterflies visiting Joe Pye weed on this cloudy afternoon. On a sunny day there will be many.
Several panicled hydrangeas in the garden grow to ten feet and taller, but Little Lime is more appropriate for most garden spaces.
Tardiva hydrangea is rarely offered today. It’s blooms are not nearly as substantial as other panicled hydrangeas such as LImelight.