IT IS EASY for the garden to develop a hot, bothered look about this time of year, and I am rather sorry to see that mine has starling little blobs of red and orange all over it.
This comes of stashing a few dozen gladlolas her and there, and a good many daylilies where the irises will not quite make it, and dahlias stuck wherever they seemed to fit between the peonies (I am too lazy to disbud them this year; they can go on and bloom their heads off and then give up in August if they wish).
So it is with no sense of pride that I mention a couple of things - largely accidental - that have turned out less disappointing than usual.
For reasons best known to itself, the hybid hosta called 'Royal Standard' has quite surpassed itself and makes a fat clump near a black glossy wwod post that supports chains on which a grape grows. It also supports a later than-usual violet clematis. Just in front of this clump is a common yucca and in front of that a green hosta edged white, called 'Thomas Hogg,' named for a nurseryman who must have been a good one since the hosta is handsome.
Just beyond is a small patch of caperspurge that I inadvertently planted atop some blue platycodons. The platycodons come up quite late in the spring, as you know, and I stuck the spurge in one March before they were up. I also, at some point I do not fully recall, plopped in a little heuchera on coral bells, pried off a larger clump elsewhere where it was getting too big and encroaching on something else. So the little offset wound up where it is, to be forgotten for a year or two. podocarpus or asparagus with thicker, fleshier leaves than ordinary. A couple of platycodons rise up in it, weakly, and a few sprigs of the rose-colored coral bells do, too.
Just beyond is what is virtually a thicket of a white-gray artemisia that behaved itself well in a small clump for two years, but spread to four or five feet this past year, overwhelming several things including a pink soapwart and a blackberry lily - both of which I mean to retrieve, when there is time.
The artmeisia looks far better in a big patch than it ever did in a clump. It is curious that plants often understand garden effects better than gardeners do.
This space of a few feet, while nothing to write home about, does not look bad, which is more than I can say for the rest. Possibly later, when more dahlias and daylilies are in bloom, they will look better.
Another thing I do not deplore occurs at the northeast corner of the lily pool - it would be wrong to bore you with my private litany of complaints against the shade of a maple - where not everything will grow.
There are a few lead pots on the raised pool rim, and the pool is faced with Italian tiles of buff and blue in a fairly mad Renaissance design - the inside of the pool is plain unpainted concrete, since I feel that only sinners ever paint concrete, and when you look at it, you persume the inside walls are painted black. Nature tends to the insides of concrete pools, along with much else, and this is one of many cases where it is foolish to tamper with her admirable arrangements.
Just beyond the pots on the rim, planted up against the pool wall are a few stalks of open-faced lilies, the tangerine-orange 'Enchantment' which I believe will grow inside either volcanoes or icebergs - very easy to please, in other words - and the yellow 'Hornbeck's Gold' and 'Connecticut Yankee.' Back of them are a couple of spikes of fiery yellow Lingularia przewalskii, an awesome name for an easily managed plant.
Of course to get the effect I admire, you have to crouch a bit so your eye is level with the water of the pool and you can see the pink and buff water lilies floating about with the yellow and orange lilies in the back.
If I get the angle just right, it looks very good.
Another small patch I like involves the rather huge-flowered rose, 'Medallion,' with coral bells and the intense magneta rose campion, 'Abbottswood Rose.'
There are times any garden annoys its gardener, but usually one or two things can be found less dismal than others.