Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Life is supposed to be a balance, isn't it, between the horizontal and the vertical? That's what keeps you centered, on an even keel, fifty-fifty, whatever.

Perhaps, but I love garden beds with verticality. Maybe I'm just too darned lazy to bend over for a closer look. Or maybe I appreciate that eye-lifting up-to-the-top line. Vertical elements are everywhere in my garden: here, the leaves of irises and the shafts of flowering foxglove.

In some beds, verticality may not be so obvious.

However, these tall stems of ladybells Adenophora confusa are slipped among the shasta daisies. Some years the ladybells create quite a stand of blue blossoms, but this summer they pop up, a stem here and a stem there, from a flat-topped sea of white and yellow daisies.

Early July brings masses of my favorite verticals: self-sowing larkspur in shades of blue and pink . . .

. . . and this biennial oh-so-mildly yellow foxglove Digitalis ambigua.

If I could, I would grow the pumped-up versions of larkspur and foxgloves, those huge stalks of Digitalis purpurea and the club-like cultivars of delphinium that beat you over the head for attention.

But I can't, so when looking for verticality with vigor, I have to settle for annual snapdragons. And I'm not complaining.

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