Tinkering in late summer

Despite recent dryness, I’ve been tinkering in the garden, probably too much, digging and moving seedlings and planting a few newcomers. No doubt, this would best be done two weeks from now with cooler and hopefully damper conditions, but some things can’t be helped. Today I’m motivated, who knows next week. Several deliveries have been set up for early in September, and hopefully the arrivals will coincide with a few drenching rains.

Blue Mist shrubs (Caryopteris) are at their peak in late summer.

Several hostas are disgraceful, with deer or sun damage, but otherwise there are few signs of the stress of summer heat. Yes, red leafed Japanese maples have faded, and for gardeners concerned by this I simply recommend that maples with colorful foliage (except green) be avoided. Leaves of green leafed Japanese maples are unblemished, as usual.

‘Sun King’ aralia is a superb perennial for shade with brightly colored foliage and interesting small blooms.

A part of the tinkering in a garden should involve editing, adding, but also subtracting plants that don’t work out for one reason or another. Today, my hands are pockmarked by tiny barbs of a columnar barberry (‘Helmond Pillar’) beside the koi pond that was chopped out yesterday. Branches of the barberry were splayed at the top, and I’ve long considered getting rid of this potential invasive. So, now it’s done with only a few minor injuries in the process despite wearing heavy gloves that provided no more than minor protection from the sharp spines. Several Oriental lilies that have been mostly hidden now have a bit more room, and there is some space to add something that will overhang the pond’s edge. Whatever, will be an improvement.

Most of the garden’s toad lilies (Tricyrtis) will reach peak bloom in September.

While September, and usually October, are splendid months for the garden, there is still a sense that the garden’s season is winding down. I remind myself that two months of bloom remain until our earliest frosts, and several blooms in the coming season are favorites.

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