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.