Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Garden Diary: I think it's reached a peak

Here is the the Garden at Federal Twist on August 13--complexity, profusion, a fullness anticipating autumn, the first hints of the end of the garden year. Perhaps I'll add more words later ...

Looking across the pond, you wouldn't know a pond is there. One major chore awaits:  cleaning out about 80 percent of the pond vegetation, sometime in early fall, well before the cattails release their seed.

The value of the unexpected. The Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) and Partinia scabiosifolia self-seeded into what I intended to be a restrained, almost formal raised bed of boxwood and Bergenias. I'm so pleased with the riot of color and flowing shapes, I've considered making this permanent. But on second thought, order will prevail. I'll move them in the fall.

Note to self. That far edge is b-o-r-i-n-g. Too much short grass and not enough definition. Add interest with shape, color, repetition. Sesleria autumnalis, in other parts of the garden, is looking colorful and lively at this time of year--one possibility, perhaps mixed with other, bolder forms. Of course, all must survive three seasons of virtual saturation, and a possible summer of drought. I could remove the existing plants, improve drainage by adding four or five inches of soil, and plant into that. Sedums could give form and color through the winter, if they can take the wet.

The new void being created at the backside of the garden, a place to linger, sit, observe plants, insects and animals close up, if only for a few minutes. And most importantly, an emptiness, an absence, in the midst of profusion. A quite, still place, an island, amid the visual tumult of the garden.

The circle of red walnut logs is a significant focal point, drawing the eye toward an idea.


  1. James,

    Looks like peak to me. Beautiful. The three posts are wonderful.

  2. Phillip, Thanks for the visit. Must be really hot where you are.

  3. It's wonderful, James. Yes, peak sums it up nicely. :-)

  4. An absolute riot of life..well done!
    W.M. AU.

  5. Frances, thank you. It's a slow downhill roll from here. First the Joe Pye withdraws, losing color as it gradually turns brown.

    Garden Wandered, glad to hear from you.

  6. W.M., you got it. Now I'm making small islands of tranquility, refuges from the storm.

  7. I just revisited this post. You've a good eye James, I would so want to just walk through it.

  8. Me again, I would love to walk through the garden I mean.....

    Red wine can be a hazard here

  9. Rob,
    Walk through the eye of the gardener? Not a bad metaphor. Perhaps you should have more red wine.

  10. I would not wish on anyone to walk through my eye... wm au

  11. To say it looks stunning is an understatement...really, truly something straight out of Gardens Illustrated!

  12. Scott, thanks for the compliment. I wish!

  13. If any garden was worthy of G.I. it is this one.
    w.m. au (not that I buy it much!)



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