Leaves are swirling, more on the ground then the trees…but autumn glory is still all around! Barberry and burning bush berries are plumping. Rosehips are ripening. Sedum and calendula display glorious bloom despite hard frosts. Darkened bark, and frost-killed leaves offer sharp contrast. Some brave and hardy perennials, like sedum angelina, still glow green.
Celebrating foliage that can be every bit as satisfying as blooms: heart shaped brunnera in lacy sterling, ajuga’s brocade of bronze-green, lamium from lime to silver, jagged hellebore in deep glossy green, coral bells and nasturtium in creamy swirls, chameleon plant with vivacious pink accent, painted fern's feathery mauve, dramatic elephant ears…more than can fit in one post!
And so spring has handed off to summer. While many blooms have nodded off, the parade of summer is quickly preparing! A wander in the garden holds a fresh wave of pending pageantry: spiky green rosettes of coneflower bud, clematis on the verge, delphinium arching and stretching for its forthcoming flex of beauty. Lacy hydrangea holds the promise of puffy pom-poms. Each day chubby domes swell larger atop the milkweed. Campanula puckers with un-burst cups. Yarrow, daisies and daylilies have an ample spattering of buds with a bounty of blooms to come. Welcome summer!
Blue comes in many forms in the garden, adding calm, cool elegance wherever it blooms. Wee clusters of grape hyacinth have inverted blue bells, with just a touch of lacy white edging. Watery blue iris makes you pause and appreciate. Forget-me-nots and bugloss (Brunnera) add their sprinkling of blue sparkle. And bugleweed (Ajuga) serves up mini spires of frothy, fluffy blue over its green-bronze carpet.
Sometimes (okay, often!) a particular bloom will capture me. I appreciated every detail of this elegant tulip: the stately, slim stem, the curl and flare of its petals, the snow white centers with a splash of lemon yellow, the curvy, matte green leaves. I am romanced by its graceful form blushing rosy pink. On a sunny day it reaches to the sky and the blossoms softly splay to the warmth of the sun. These were new bulbs, called ‘Tender Whisper’, planted last fall. I am reminded why, even though I have many, many bulbs in the garden, it is so worth planting a few new ones for delight in the spring! See more tulips by clicking here.
Magnificent and miraculous spring has arrived! It is amazing what a few warm days can do. The early tulip above embraced the spring sunshine to go from elegant and expectant bud, to rosy and romantic bloom. Buttery yellow daffodils are popping up everywhere. Glistening green is erupting and stretching to the sky. The forest floor is turning green – mottled blades of dog tooth violets are licking through the brown leaves, and trilliums shine with their fragile new leaves. Lovely lettuce, ruffled rhubarb and gorgeous garlic have sprouted in the veggie garden. From these humble beginnings glorious things will grow!
After the snow of winter, we should crave colour, colour and more colour. But there is something pure, fresh, crystalline, soothing about white blooms. Add a few raindrops to make them glisten, and I can’t resist!
Read more about white blooms by clicking here.
As warm spring rains refresh the sweet earth, our gardens start to percolate. We watch excitedly for snowdrops, crocus and the early shoots of daffodils, hyacinth, tulips and more. It is this excitement we need to remember at bulb planting time in the fall!
It’s not enough that our generous plants provide bloom, foliage, scent – many also offer enchanting seed heads to extend their show. Seed heads add drama and detail to augment the tapestry of the garden. They often parade into winter capturing snow, feeding birds and offering interest for our winter garden souls. Above are four of my most cherished and enjoyed seed heads: the ‘Dr.Seuss hair-do’ from clematis, the whirly fluff from pasque flower, the exquisite detail from poppies, and the riotous spheres from allium. And my favourite seed head list is long, also including: coneflowers, money plant, false lupine, chinese lanterns, astilbe, grasses, the platters of sedum and yarrow, and beloved milkweed. (Read more about clematis by clicking here, about pasque flower by clicking here, poppy seed heads by clicking here, and alliums by clicking here.)
Teakettles are yet another wonderful collectible for the garden. Teakettles and gardens go together like tea parties and tea roses. They make playful and charming containers to splash a few vibrant annuals around the garden (just hammer a couple of nail holes in the bottom). I also display them as is near pots that need regular watering, where they dual purpose as watering cans.