03 August 2008

And now the dark garden

Once again life got in the way this week, but mostly in a good way. Except for the weather, that is. More fog, more heat, but now today it's actually raining. Rain is good. Despite the fog, things are dry, and we need a day of long, contemplative, soaking rain. Although since I'm putting in my request, let it clear off for the performances of my friend Ami McKay's play "Jerome-The Historical Spectacle" up at Ross Creek Centre for the Arts. We went to last night's opening performance and it was, in a word, joyously wonderful!

Okay, back to the garden. Last time, we focused on the whites in the garden. This time, we'll rejoice in the darker plants--both flowers and foliage. And in fact, we'll kick off with Ami's black hollyhocks. This plant appeared and grew like a mad maniac this spring--I remember throwing the seeds around with little expectation that they'd cooperate. I'll have a hollyhock tantrum post in a day or too, though.

My young purple/copper beech has just the best colour of foliage ever. I probably shouldn't have planted Actaea 'Pink Spike' quite so close because there's nothing between them for contrast, but as the beech grows that will correct itself. Perhaps a gold hosta or two nearby to set things off will do the trick.

Chocolate Joe Pye weed grows here but doesn't get any significant size, not like its native relatives, which I actually prefer because they are such butterfly magnets. However, it's a pretty plant and looks nice with the gold sambucus beside it.

I have mentioned in the past that clematis do really, really well here. I think it's the fog, which keeps roots cool, and when the sun is out, it's lovely here. The clematis perform like maniacs every year, but this is definitely the star of the show.

Japanese Parsley, or cryptotanea, is a neat plant with handsome foliage. However, you do need to watch its self seeding ability as it does get quite exuberant with seeding. It's easy to rogue out, though. I'm thinking of letting it go crazy up under the birches where the grass keeps getting ahead of me.

I have quite a few sedum, including a few with dark foliage. This is 'Voodoo', a particularly neat one. Others include 'Purple Emporer' and 'Vera Jameson'.

A little segue now to dark flower colours. I have numerous deep-wine daylilies, including 'Wayside King Royale', 'Ed Murray', and a host of others that are...ummmm...currently unnamed because I've lost their labels. But this beauty is 'Malaysian Monarch', a real star in my books.

And because I never get tired of them...my favourite annual poppies, the deep wine ones that rejoice throughout the front garden.

There's a really good sized 'Diabolo' ninebark in this lower garden, and not far from it is 'Black Lace' sambucus, which is doing very nicely despite the tendancy of that garden to run slightly amok. There are numerous giant perennials in it, including Macleaya (plume poppy), aconitum, 'Herbstsonne' rudbeckia, and a host of globe thistles that reach for the sky. So things sometimes feel a wee bit overwhelmed.

In the left background you can see Ami's giant hollyhock going for the sky. The foreground has another of my actaeas, this one 'Black Negligee'. The 'Raspberry Wine' monarda has deeper red-wine flowers than my camera would have you believe, and handsome dark bracts too.

I really like lychnis, although some of these are much shorter than I'd like. This goes by the delightful name of 'Molten Lava.' I've decided I'll have to relocate it and plant it beside the two plants in the following photos. Why is that?

Well...'Molten Lava' triggers a memory in my head of "molten hot lava bomb." And so it belongs with this phlox....

...and this geum. Those of you who know me and my sense of humour will get this perfectly. For the rest...I'll explain at the end of August.


  1. Your hollyhocks and poppies are out of this world! I am partial to both of those flowers. The poppies I've grown here in Texas (late April, early May) are coral colored, very pretty, but your dark ones are breathtaking. I think I actually gasped when I saw the photo!

  2. that clematis is about to eat the structure it is growing on! I have never seen anything quite like it. I was so happy when the Ernest Markham I planted this year offered up a dozen-or-so blooms. Your clematis must have hundreds of blooms. Wow! That sentiment applies to your garden as a whole. It looks great.

  3. I love the darlk poppies and wish they would grow here in the summer. We plant them in the fall for early spring blooms in the Gulf South. Everything in your garden looks so lovely and peaceful.

    Always Growing

  4. Oh I just love these darker colors, especially the burgundy foliage ones.Very nice!! I have two little royal purple smoke bushes that I am eager to see them take their more mature place in my garden in the years to come.
    Tonight I am just back from touring 4 private gardens in the Southern Berkshires and am chocked full of inspiration.... but....for another year!!
    Hope your summer is going well.
    Carol in Mass.

  5. Hello Jodi, Your dark colors are looking good. That Clematis is to die for. It has such a nice place to grow and get as large as it wants to.

    Despite your area needing rain your garden looks so lush. It is fun seeing some of the overviews.

  6. LOL at "hollyhock tantrum"! I can't wait to read more about that. I have a feeling that I probably have a lot of those. ;)

    Those dark poppies are JUST GORGEOUS! I've never seen any that dark before seeing yours. "WOW" and "I want some" are all I can say!

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  7. The clematis is absolutely gorgeous! Everything looks beautiful.

  8. Just look at how amazing your garden is doing!! I went in with a GPS system in fear I wouldn't know my way out. I'm only 5'4" and most of the plants towered over me. I didn't mind. It is a good place to reflect and dream. I'll come back to collect seeds;)

  9. Jodi,
    Your clematis is doing great. That made me remember, that I need to make my clematis more happy by adding better soil. I was little too 'optimistic' while planting :)
    White lychnis? I didn't know there is such one. Purple one is most popular.

  10. Hallo Jodi, a lot of nice photos as always, I find the Voodoo especially interesting such a nice and unusual color.

  11. Love that shade of poppy...I don't have poppies..they are on my list, though...beautiful garden!

  12. I am in love with your hollyhock! What a gorgeous color! And the poppies--stunning!

  13. I love them all! I hardly know where to start. I like the Bugbane with the Beech as their textures are so different, but you're right, a shot of gold or chartreuse would really make it sing. I'm going to have to try 'Purple Emperor' Sedum or 'Vera Jameson,' as I'm quite disappointed with the look of 'Black Jack's foliage. I would be envious of your beautiful Clematis, but I don't have a trellis large enough to accomodate that humongous plant!

  14. I love the dark plants. Do they show up well from a distance?

    Just realized that the dwarf hollyhock I planted last year did not come back. Very observant, huh, it is August.

    Heavy rain here today. I did stand at the window looking at the garden a lot, though.

  15. The clematis does take the cake! I love the 'fire and ice' combo.

  16. I live in Florida and creating a garden of such abundance would be such a challenge, so I come here and look at the beauty you have created. WOW.. color, foliage variety, it goes on and on.

  17. I'm hooked on the hollyhocks! I'm new to your blog and I immediately clicked you as a favorite. Your blog and your garden are GORGEOUS!!! Your cats are also pretty cool. The shot of the children looking for lunch is charming.

  18. I'm entranced by your lovely garden. I will definitely be looking for the Malaysian Monarch Day Lily.

  19. Drool - those burgundy colored annual poppies.

    The gardens look great and I'm a bit jealous of all the dark blooms. The dark burgundy bordering black has to be my favorite flower color yet I have not a one.


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