It’s about this time of year when I have a sec to catch my breath and pen my “oops in the garden.” But 2023 has been a very different year, best summed up as the “B & Bs Summer… bunnies and beech leaf disease. One is eating everything in sight and the other is destroying our (and Newport’s) treasured beech trees (a weeping beech in the Feature image above). Not the makings for an uplifting blog.
So I am going to focus on happy images, those views and sights in my gardens that bring me instantaneous joy, and prompting a big smile, the minute I see them I see them. These are all blog worthy and the reasons vary. Some are a wonderful bit of serendipity…
Luscious Japanese painted ferns that happily self-seed whenever, wherever they choose — under the cobblestones in the Orangerie Parterres.
or peeking out from a chartreuse berberis pruned as a “chocolate kiss.”
On that whimsical note, I nominate a boxwood pruned in a shape that no one can guess its identity. I’ve received answers such as a Chinese ginger jar (Hint: it’s inspired by a French house and a French garden). It’s a BRIOCHE!
Others are trees and plants recovering from disease or conditions that were compromising their viability…
The four elegant ‘Hally Jolivette’ cherries (we battled their bad case of scale for years)
and the specimen variegated Zalkova (which recently recieved a gift of more light when a tree went down in the Woodland).
Every time I drive into the back courtyard, my eyes go directly to the rich green rose trellis. When it was erected, after a lot of discussion, it was clear that it added that extra touch of elegance to the Cutting Garden. It was an extravagant touch also, in its kiln-dried red cedar (which, given the price of wood today, would not have been approved).
Isn’t this adorable? For 25 years, the fountain garden’s Versailles boxes have been home to a rotating series of topiaries…but this miniature ginkgo is by far my favorite (‘Merika’).
We loved it so much that we added one to the cluster of clipped holly globes at the side door.
One takes their chances when they choose mercurial plants out of curiosity and passion. This year, the cimicifuga in the Green and White garden is “strutting its stuff”; how welcome it is! The tallest stem exceeds 6′ in height.
The pair of mother ferns in the Green and White garden are super lush… and look at all the babies on their fronds. What’s unique to this fern is that you can snip off each “baby”, secure it in the dirt, and have a seedling in no time (getting them to this mature stage is another matter).
After dealing with boxwood blight we’ve been “trialing” alternative shrub options that prune well! These examples of the Ilex ‘beehive’ get our vote. They grow quickly, and their small leaves make for a tight shrub after pruning.
Continuing on this note of plants used for different purposes than you’d traditionally see…dichondra and creeping Jenny are typically used in pots and containers for their cascading nature. But I love to use them as ground cover adding silver notes as a formal touch between cobblestone stepping stones.
Or chartreuse creeping Jenny mixing in with Lady’s Mantle.
Between this summer’s hot, muggy spells and heavy rains, one would have thought that the Dahlias would have succumbed. Instead, they thrived, blooming to their heart’s content. A sampling for your pleasure and a sight that brings me great joy at this time of year.