July was still affording us moisture, but for some of us, it came in the form of sharp, sudden violent thunderstorms that were there one minute, gone the next! Throughout it all, July picked up where June left off – bringing with it an amazing parade of colour and texture here at Teza’s Garden! I am so thrilled to see more home gardeners seeking out the rare and unusual treasures that are available, if only you know where to find them! Spigelia marilandica literally flew off the sales benches this year – and its a native plant to boot!
The beguilingly beautiful Roscoea is late to emerge for me – usually not nuntil June, but then it spends the following four months in non-stop bloom! I have amassed a small collection of them, but keep coming back to R. cautleyoides ‘Kew Beauty’ as my personal favourite.
In my last post I mentioned that I was anxiously awaiting the unveiling of what appeared to be a plethora of Anemonopsis macrophylla flowers! With each passing day the buds seemed to swell more and more. Patience dear Prudence indeed!
When you’ve as much shade as I do, you quickly learn that texture and the various hues and shades of green are equally so, if not more important than sporadic bloom! I have always been enamored of the genus Arisaema – it was after all the very first plant I remember being able to identify on those long ago walks into the ‘Darkling Wood’ with my Grandparents. One of my favourite species is A.consanguineum, which offers a stunning starburst, whorled patterning to its foliage. This one in particular, A.c ‘Perfect Wave’ also offers a rippling to the edge of each leaflet, alluding to its wave inspired name! I love the silvery blue inlay to each leaflet as well. It is another one of those sleepy heads, not showing itself until mid June!
Gentiana will forever reside here at Teza’s Garden! Blue will forever reign as my penultimate flower colour choice. This genus offers some of the most amazing shades of what I refer to as the ‘real’ blues – not their insipid wannabes! Gentiana dahurica is a low growing species that covers itself with fingernail sized blooms that appear in clusters at the leaf’s axil. Gentiana makinoi ‘Royal Blue’ was new to the garden this year, with a decidedly more upright growth habit with clusters of enlongated trumpet shaped blooms that appeared at the end of each stem.
Clematis ‘Mrs. Harvey’ has actually usurped C. ‘Blue Boy’ as my favourite! Of course I am still rather enamored of my Boy, and plan on repositioning him to a trellis that covers the side of the garage, that until this past ice storm was home to a rather woody looking Vitis reparia. It [Blue Boy] and a two toned Wisteria are my current vision for my next garden project! But I digress. Mrs. H offers exquisite blooms that remind me of a flamenco dancer’s skirt tails swishing up at its edges as she glides across the dance floor.
I have long been an advocate for bold foliage when you’re planting in the shade, but find myself weary of the ubiquitous Hosta in general. Slug fodder means you have to be extra diligent throughout the garden season, and in years such as this. the abundance of moisture created a veritable breeding ground for the slug and snail populations! I love Veratrum! Equally generous, bold foliage but with a delightful rippled twist! Each leaf is generously pleated, giving it an opulence that Hosta can never rise to! And its flower spikes are a thousand times more aesthetically pleasing! This is the bloom spike [1.2m] of Veratrum nigrum! I have read where it sometimes takes up to seven years to produce a flower spike and for some, its blooming also leads to its demise! Fingers and toes are crossed that this doesn’t happen to me! I had to choose between a foliage or flower shot and you can see what won out!
Acanthus hungaricus is happiest in direct sun. BUT when placed in partial shade, it tends to remain smaller and more manageable. Just the way I like things in the border between two houses where space is an ever shrinking commodity!
Surely everyone heard the squeal of delight during the final week of July as the first of the Anemonopsis blooms finally opened! ‘Sweet baby Jesus!’ I exclaimed as the air leaked from my lungs and my legs turned to rubber!
But seriously people, do you not see where I’m coming from? He’s a hard one to track down – I know of two retailers who offer him in strictly limited quantities – they being Lost Horizons and Fraser’s Thimble Farms – one here in Ontario, the other on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia.
July was unlike any other July that preceded it here at Teza’s Garden. After five long years, my penultimate Japanese woodland beauty rewarded me with weeks of non-stop bloom after bloom, and I, its willing slave tried my best to capture its beauty time and time and time again. [These last photos are but four of close to one hundred that have their own folder! Silly Father!]
And now we await August, which for me, was the month of unwanted heat and lack of precipitation… but I am getting ahead of myself. Until next time…..