Late summer & early fall are two of my favorite times in the garden. Plants have reached their full size and are blooming abundantly with bright, rich colors. I, also, enjoy watching all the beneficial insects collecting the pollen (bees, butterflies, wasps, and, one of my favorites-- hummingbird moths).My friends Jessica and Stephen, from AS&L, came to the farm the other evening, at dusk to take some photos of some of my favorite plants. I’ve been wanting to show what fully established plants will look like in your gardens—adding form, texture and color with blossoms and foliage.
Over the past few years my gardens have evolved becoming more simplified. I have a very busy schedule during the growing season, and I realized that I would be better served by low maintenance plants, and plants that require less water once they are established (like hosta, sedum, paniculata hydrangeas, etc.) I have several varieties of hosta and sedum because they look great even when they are not in bloom with foliage and texture—they also work very well together. My, all time, favorite (and AS&L hosta enthusiast, Shorty’s favorite) is Paradigm. Paradigm is sun tolerant and slug resistant and has amazing chartreuse foliage. But I must say I don’t think there is any hosta or sedum that I do not like.
I, also, really enjoy the paniculata hydrangeas in my garden because they start off white and change color throughout the season eventually turning a deep burgundy in the fall. One of the advantages of living on a large farm with open fields is the beautiful sunsets and I love to plant tall plants in the foreground between the finished landscape and the fields—i.e. Plume Poppy, Iron Weed, Joe Pye Weed, Cup Plant, Globe Thistle etc. Another plus of living on a large property is having gardens like the one in the front of the house that I let go natural, I call it the “wild” garden; it has a beautiful backdrop of forsythia, hydrangea and spirea, in front it’s planted with black-eyed susan, daisies, lupine, liatris, etc. I let these perennials seed themselves and do what they want to do –it is very low maintenance and these plants do very well along the roadside.
When planting a garden I like to incorporate trees & shrubs for form, structure and vertical interest. I really enjoy watching trees as they mature and take on their adult canopy. Most trees require little maintenance and add, so much, interest all year long. I like to say when you plant a tree you’re planting for posterity …for your grandchildren to enjoy! Keeping with the simplicity theme I like to incorporate evergreens for texture and winter interest, they are your true ‘anchors’ in the winter garden.
Containers are a great addition to any landscape they add color to a dead spot and interest to an area you cannot plant in the ground. I will oftentimes move my containers as the season progresses to give a little ‘pop’ where it’s needed. I, also, like to use a combination of perennials and shrubs in my containers. I, eventually, transplant containerized perennials and shrubs into the garden, or I give them to a gardening friend if I don’t have the room or the perfect spot. This allows me to enjoy plants I may not be able to get to survive in my yard. As the saying goes, folks, “take time to smell the roses”…enjoy your gardens at different times of the season and at different times of the day. There is beauty there—we just need to open our eyes to it!!