Over the weekend, I took a break from tending my own garden to enjoy someone else's and to spend some time musing on matters horticultural and otherwise with my prairie-gardening pal, DK.
Tower Hill in Boylston, Massachusetts, was inspirational in its range. The curving beds of the cottage garden were filled with familiar plants like larkspur, sedums, and shasta daisies. In this setting, sweeping around a handsome specimen of witch hazel "Arnold Promise," these plants were unexpectedly dynamic.
In another area, plants were grouped systemically by scientific family. The didactic and aesthetic successes of this approach were generally, but not always, balanced. It may simply be impossible to make a border of pines interesting. However, here in the Saxifrage bed, the red stems of astilbe, maroon leaves of heuchera, and pink-flowering tiarella play off each other wonderfully. And how did they get those shade-loving plants to perform so robustly in the sun?
What else was there? Because of my on-going battle with its noxious cousin, an ornamental knotweed almost induced a fight-or-flee response. All I could see was a barbarian at the gate.
A more pleasant reaction was evoked by blue flag irises blooming along the edge of the pond.
In the woods was a Japanese milieu: stone lantern, ferns, and rhododendrons. Don't know whether the mosses covering these steps would be considered "Very Important" or merely "Interloper" in Japan.
After inspecting that exotic Arcadia, we emerged into the familiar New England landscape. Happy day!