My favorite time of year is late summer through to the beginning of winter. The pace of work is slightly slower, gardens and plants don't need me quite as much, and this is the time when so many of my favorite plants are coming into their full glory. I particularly love the height and fullness of the plants, crashing into each other and filling all the available space. Gardens can start to look "tired" this time of year, due in part that you start to see some of the ratty parts, spent foliage and gaping holes left from a spring time beauty that couldn't pull through. This is where the Great Dixter succession planting ideas and bedding out techniques help keep the garden vibrant through till frost. This year I ran annuals, bienniels, and tender plants (Salvias and Dalhias) through many of the perennial plantings and I haven't seen much bare earth since June. At Deb's house, the two of us have dug sod, made new beds, re-worked old beds, and brought in lots of new plants all over the property. The gardens are putting on a good show, but something tells us this is just the beginning...
The above photo is of the front walk. This garden has something happening in it through every season. Here it is in mid July showing off burgundy heads of the Drumstick Allium (A. sphaerocephalon), the gentle spindles of Sidalcea malviflora 'Party Girl,' and the pink hats of the Echinecea flowers.
The great thing about this giant Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus' is seeing it from inside the house looking out. On a sunny day, the sunlight filters through the wispy grass, casting a limey green on the scene. It is such a beautiful vantage point to actually be inside the grass, looking out onto the world.
Eryngium 'Blaukappe,' Helenium autumnale 'Morhiem Beauty,' tall Agastache 'Black Adder,' Verbena bonariensis, and a Cotinus.
The same scene highlighting the bronze fennel, Foeniculum vulgare 'Purpureum.'
Nicotiana sylvestris is coming into its own. The manure and freshly dug beds contributed to the size of this specimen. Nicotiana langsdorfii pokes its head into the picture, with structural, cut leaves of the artichoke. Echium 'Blue Bedder' was a terrific plant this summer and something I started from seeds brought home from England.
This photo gives some sense of the flow of the Deb's gardens. At the far end you can see the Yew hedge recently planted and thriving. I have dreams of slowly shaving away more and more of Deb's lawn.
In the late light we can see the first red flower on the Salvia confertiflora. These plants were extremely beautiful in October in England and I was so moved by them I wanted to have them in Vermont. I spoke to a plant genius friend and she told me it just does not get hot enough for these plants to flower here in Vermont. I did what every obsessed gardener does when they find a plant they completely love and cannot grow- they order plants from far away and try to grow them! These came in a truck from California and we planted them once the danger of frost had passed. We had a very hot summer and I have buds on most of the plants I put in. I will try my hand at propagating these plants and dig a few to see if I can get them to overwinter. I do like this photo with the dark purple flower heads of Angelica gigas and the white moppy head of Nicotiana sylvestris.
I particularly like this photo, especially seeing the emerging flower heads of the Actaea/Cimicifuga arching over and framing the windows, while the flower heads of the bronze fennel stand out like exclamations against the bright wall.