Balance and Focal Point

Yesterday’s 2 hour garden activity involved the movement of one tree, Albizia ‘Summer Chocolate’, and several columnar conifers: 2 Chamaecyparis ‘Wissel’s Saguaro’ and 2 Alberta Spruces (Picea glauca var. albertiana ‘Conica’. The tree is being located to spread its lovely branches and shield the view of a less-than-charming storage shed. The re-arrangement of the conifers involves creating garden punctuation. One spruce now accents the end view of a curvaceous path and the other balances a view towards the pebble mosaic. ‘Wissel’s Saguaro’ now sits on either side of the front walkway. This conifer’s unique penchant for looking a bit like a Saguaro Cactus adds an element of whimsy to a garden. This is entirely appropriate to the front walk with its refocused emphasis on the peacock topiary as the primary focal point of the entry garden, ‘Peacock Walk’.

PeacockTopiary2Note that the peacock is still flanked on the right by the Summer Chocolate Albizia. With the Albizia removed, that distraction is gone.The photo shows a drain channel at the ready to become a rill from the downspout. The downspout will be replaced by a rain chain, which will allow water to flow into the large copper pot. Through holes at the bottom of the pot, stormwater will flow into a catch basin, then into the rill, and finally out to a rain garden. Note the copious use of Carex ‘Toffee Twist’ in front of the topiary. This allows the peacock to take center stage. More photos to follow as this project continues into completion.

Ruthless Garden Editing

It’s hard to believe that today begins the month of November, but it’s undeniably here. In my own garden I am busily moving plants around that either did not perform well in their current sites or would look better somewhere else. This fall I am doing what I wanted to do last fall and spring, a major editing job of my garden. Rapidly disappearing is the busy-ness of plants. That just means that my single-plant massing days are over. While I will still collect new plants, they might replace an existing plant or live in a container as a specimen. I will be ruthless about which plants I allow into my garden, because if there is even a remote possibility that it will cause things to look too busy again, their entry ticket is invalid.

What has been particularly interesting (many gardeners can relate to this) is that while I am digging up plants to be relocated to another area I have discovered new stunning combinations. For the damp, shady area I call Jo’s garden, one key criteria is to have a massive display of purple flowers and leaves. My friend, Jo, loved purple. So in her honor, around her namesake sculpture I plan to complete before next July, will be things like purple-leafed clover, white-with-purple toadlilies, purple Siberian and Japanese iris, short & lavender Astilbe, dark purple primroses, and purple monkshood. I have no fewer that 3 of any of these. In most cases I have 5 or more plants. Contrasting with the purple will be splashes of chartreuse from nearby hostas, a rambling yellow-flowered clematis, and golden Japanese forest grass (a large one to be divided). The variety should provide some purple in that garden all season long. A couple of border backup plants for this area are golden ninebark and Annabelle hydrangea. One new plant will be added: Incrediball Hydrangea gifted from Proven Winners. If this proves to be a better plant than Annabelle, then I will probably replace my Annabelle with Incrediball. Stay tuned for whether this happens. I’ll probably have a good idea either next year or the following, when the new plant will have had 3 years in my garden.

Photo of Hydrangea ‘Incrediball’ from