Typically, I’m overjoyed by plants that seed about the garden, even Japanese maples, toad lilies, and hellebores that proliferate with such abundance that many must be discarded. While space for these has run short, room remains for sporelings of Japanese Painted and Sensitive ferns that thrive in deeper shade and regularly appear beneath shrubs and in cracks between path stones.
I am not so enthused by seedlings of Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium), though this grass is of moderate size, adapted to sun or shade, and with lovely dangling seedheads. New sprouts are devilishly difficult to extract without digging, and I stubbornly resist carrying tools along while strolling and weeding. Some perish as a result of my tugging, but other seedlings return with twice the vigor. Several clumps beneath low growing roses continually frustrate me.
For whatever reason, and without much consideration of the possible complications, several years ago the variegated ‘River Mist’ (Chasmanthium latifolium ‘River Mist’, above) was planted. Happily, I report not a single seedling, though the clump of three is hemmed in by long established woodies that are likely the reason. As the evergreens grow ever wider, transplanting the Sea Oats to give more space might put this to test.
Finally, several clumps of Indian Pinks (Spigelia marilandica, above) have caught on, growing vigorously, though another has faded in this summer’s constant dampness. Occasionally, there will be a few late summer flowers which are not as vibrantly colored as earlier blooms, I think, though possibly it is my eyesight that has faded in the summer sun. Regardless, the splendid flowers are welcomed.
Several of the garden’s reblooming Encore azaleas are flowering. The vagaries of late summer weather determines an unpredictable schedule for repeat flowering, but most in this garden are dependable for flowering within a several week period. While some Encores begin flowering in August, others will see first blooms in October.
Long ago, I determined to rid the garden of troublesome azaleas, with the exception of Delaware Valley White, that required no care, tolerated clay soil and tree roots in dry shade with hardly a trace of lace bugs. Somehow (with sample plants, free gets me every time), I was convinced to try Encores, with results over a few decades proving as successful as Delaware Valley, but with blooms in mid spring and then late summer into early autumn. Not all Encores are well suited to this garden, or this climate, but azaleas are again valued members of this garden.