It’s a quiet Sunday evening. It’s cooling down after a hot day during which we discovered the air conditioning in my car no longer works. Grab a glass of your favourite beverage and let’s see what the garden has been up to.
It rained quite a bit late Saturday afternoon. Most of the peonies have bowed their heads and cast their petals to the wind.
Mid-June to early July is an amazing time in this garden. It’s not overloaded with flowers, but everywhere you look you find delicate beauty, vibrant colours and an eager exuberance for growth keening towards maturity. Most of the flowers out now will be gone in only a few very short weeks. Sometimes days. They are precious, and truly a reason to celebrate. The scents are soothing and so intoxicating you get dizzy by breathing them in too deeply, too long.
Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor) is a beautiful native plant that usually grows in wet areas and prefers full sun. I give it neither of those things (it gets soil that doesn’t dry out and part sun), but it still proliferates, with more and more flowers every spring. Last year I planted a few more. This year I created a bit of a rain garden behind the garage and added even more.
The Decline of an Old Garden Friend
The Mock Orange was one of the first additions to the garden and joined us shortly after we moved in. We’d recently been to Vancouver, and while touring VanDusen Botanical Garden a most amazing scent drifted past my nose while I ate lunch. While the sandwich was delicious, it wasn’t the food I was smelling. Across the patio stood a tall stranger overflowing with velvety white blooms. I fell in love.
When we returned home, we moved into our house and only a few short weeks later I found a young Mock Orange at a local nursery, and it agreed to move in.
Sadly, the last couple of years have been hard on my friend. Mites have been a problem, and other unknown things. More old, sturdy growth has been dying back each year. This year we only have two weak branches supporting blooms. While the shrub may not be as attractive any longer, the scent from the flowers is still divine.
Coming Up Roses
The Rosa blanda came home only a day or two after the Mock Orange. I had picked out a few things during that trip to the nursery, but after I got home I discovered that one of my new friends was quietly planning an invasion of epic proportions. While I’m sure it’s lovely in some other parts of the world, buddleia (Butterfly Bush, what a nice name) will have no home in this yard. So I took it back.
If you ever want to garner some strange looks, return a plant to the local garden centre and demand an exchange on account of invasive species. The staff looked at me like I had six heads, but there was no way that sucker was staying at my place.
In exchange, I brought home Rosa blanda, a native. We’ve been good, solid friends since. Late each June, delicate light pink flowers emerge quietly. They also have a remarkable scent, and it’s worth getting up close to get to know it.
Beardtongue is another plant that has been a long-time staple in the garden. I culled quite a bit of it a couple of years ago and moved some of it to other parts of the garden, as it had spread too much in one area. Now the delicate spikes of trumpets rise above the striking foliage, scattered throughout the garden.