When I find myself relegated to trying to make pots of Chrysanthemums look appealing, I know that the gardening season has entered its waning days. The garden is preparing itself, and is sending gardeners those first signs of its gentle decline. Its the time of year when I like to do a quick backward glance - to look back at some of my most favourite moments of the gardening season. Got to admit that four precocious Arisaema candidissimum spathes are better than one! And it looks like my serpentine Prince has seeded itself next to his cousin A.consanguineum 'Perfect Wave,' which will hopefully result in a stunning display next year! While we're on the subject of serpents in the garden, both A. thunbergii var 'Urashima' and A.consanguineum var. liubaense put forth stellar performances this year - largely in part thanks to the cooler, damp conditions that prevailed for most of the summer. This gardener was most grateful! And one must not forget the tender hearted A.griffithii [last photo in my serpent series] which I was able to watch grow in a pot during the early days of April here in my room. Grew me a serpent. [Wow! If ever I was misquoted it was that posting! LOL!]
I was thrilled to discover that once a Veratrum nigrum flowers, [sometimes they can take between five and seven years!] it seems to continue to do so with each successive year! I bought this sublime plant solely for its enchanting deeply pleated light green foliage, hoping it would create a foil for the more ubiquitous, boring Hosta specimens that were planted the year I started the garden. When it flowered for the first time last Summer, I was immediately smitten with its long, wand-like stems that are topped with deep wine infused flowers that resemble miniature stars. This year, the second of my plants bloomed most prolifically. I even managed to rescue some seed!
I try not to show favouritism when it comes to the 'children,' but I would be my most prized and beloved Anemonopsis to bloom. I spent five long, tortuous years for him to bloom, and now, he continues to blindside me with his stunning beauty! I am not sure who is enjoying this annual love affair more, me or my trusted camera. I can spend hours creating a visual montage of this plant alone!
Truly, I could continue showing photos from this year alone, but I sense the other kids are getting a tad jealous of my obsession! Moving right along....
Epimedium x 'Windfire,' the latest addition of yet another obsession of mine caused his fair share of 'stir' with visitors this year! It had everything to do with the deep wine wiry stems that were topped with bright yellow spidery looking flowers, each with what appeared to be a droplet of blood where the flower meets the stem. He is a diminutive wee guy, but believe you me, he sure knows how to bring conversation to a screeching halt, followed by, 'whatever is that?'
My Bletilla striata, a sublime Japanese terrestrial orchid, outperformed itself this year! He can be notoriously petulant, disappearing if the soil does not meet his exacting specifications - high in organic content, slightly acidic, and never allowed to dry out. Seems like everything was to his liking this year. He was literally everywhere I turned, and trust me, I am not complaining in the least!
It was a stunning year for foliage, especially in the shaded and protected section between my and the neighbouring house. I'd relegated my Acer shirasawamum 'Aureum' to this section last Fall - confident that he would have a better chance of surviving the winter in the ground and not the pot where he had resided for the season on my veranda. I had intentions of repotting him this Spring, but noticed what a wonderful contrast his foliage made against the wine coloured siding on the house. He also created a beacon of fabulous chartreuseness that beckoned people forth from the walkway.
The same can be said of Acer campestre 'Carnival' - my super sweet dwarf variegated hedge Maple that was my very first indulgent purchase. I was shocked that so small a shrub could cause such a hefty dent to the pocketbook, but five years later I find myself loving him even more!
A whirlwind trip to Whistling Gardens in May netted me my third prized Acer. I have been enamoured of Acer pseudoplatanus 'Eskimo Sunset' since I first laid eyes on it four years ago, and when I spotted a lonely single specimen in a three gallon pot, well lets just say I'm now contemplating where I will plant him for the winter. Uh huh! Another pot head during the season. The stunning foliage, cream with green veining on one side, and a deep claret colour on the reverse..... its a hortgasm waiting to happen!
These are but a few of the highlights of the year. What were some of the moments in your garden that brought you to your knees?