Four of the garden’s five ponds are too shaded for waterlilies, and several waterlilies in the sunny, shallow bog area of the deeper koi pond were long ago crowded out by irises, pickerel weeds, and dwarf variegated cattails. Once, waterlilies flowered in all the ponds, but increasing areas of shade are the progression (not a regression) that this thirty-one year old garden has followed. I am quite happy with this mostly shaded garden despite the disappointment of missing out on the waterlilies’ blooms.
In the small half circle pond along the shaded front walk, the last remaining waterlily struggles. By some turn of nature there is an occasional flower, and again this year a single white bloom (above), perhaps the only one in several years.
I notice that browning of leaves of the purple smoketree (Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’, above) continues, even as affected branches have been pruned. The tree forks into two trunks near the ground, and since browning is progressing, I’m figuring that half will soon perish. Fortunately, the shrubby tree is behind tall shrubs and between a large serviceberry (Amelanchier) and Chinese dogwood (Cornus kousa), but if the soon to be contorted, single trunk smoketree appears too awkward, or it continues to decline, it will have to come out.
Certainly, I am disappointed any time a tree is lost, though often the loss could be an opportunity to try something new. A Seven Son tree (Heptacodium miconiodes, above) that snapped in a storm several years ago was replaced by by a Red Horse chestnut (Aesculus x carnea, below), a delightful tree that I am thrilled to have, though I still regret the loss of the Seven Son. I continually watch for another, of good size or possibly smaller, as I become increasingly desperate.
If the smoketree cannot be saved, and if I’m able to find a Seven Son of reasonable size, this could be a good spot for it, though some further adjustments could be necessary to open up more sunlight. Several shrubs would be moved, but this is often necessary as the garden progresses.