Ends and Beginnings

I head to England today, where I’ll be hosting my final garden tour. I’m sad about this ending, but at the same time, I’m happy to remember the people and places that have formed such a rewarding part of my life.

And as I keep reminding myself, ends are also beginning. Before leaving for England, I took a walk around  the garden at Glen Villa to see what’s in bloom and to assess what needs to be done when I return.

Generally, things are looking pretty good.


The hydrangea by the front steps always blooms well.
The deer have left the Sum and Substance hosta alone and the hydrangea by the front steps is blooming well. The sculpture is by our friends Louise Doucet and Satoshi Saito.


A spirea by the steps to the Lower Garden is re-blooming now, after a bigger bloom earlier in the summer. It would bloom more profusely if it got more sun, but I like it where it is, mainly because the colour blends so well with the coneflowers nearby. (They have passed their best before date so I’m not picturing them.)


Spirea japonica 'Crispa'
Spirea japonica ‘Crispa’ has wonderful cut leaves as well as soft cherry blossoms.


The white roses by the road are also enjoying a second bloom.


The deer seem to have ignored the rose buds this year. Thank you, deer.
The deer seem to have ignored the rose buds this year. Thank you, deer.


Surprisingly, despite the heat we’ve experienced all summer, the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is still coming into its own. Probably by the time I return, it will be finished.


In full bloom, the sedum is covered with happy bees.
In full bloom, the sedum is covered with happy bees.


The Lower Garden is looking peaceful and serene. There’s not much colour there, mostly green and white, and while I like the serenity that green and white bring, I’d like it even better with a touch of colour.  Adding some pink-toned Japanese Anemone and New England asters would do that without disturbing the atmosphere.


The Lower Garden is now mostly green and white.
I’ve been meaning to add the Anemones for several years now. Will I remember this year? I hope so.


The Gravel Garden was looking good a few weeks ago …


Dead wood frames a poodle-shaped pine.
Dead wood frames a poodle-shaped pine.


… but was looking better once the Sedum ‘Dazzleberry’ came into bloom — and once we’d cut off the dead wood on the poodle pine.


The Sedum is a variety called Dazzleberry. I like the colour very much.
The pine dies back a bit every year, unfortunately. Shaking off the dead needles in the spring isn’t fun.


The variegated butterbur (Petasites japonicus) lining the steps that lead up the hill is particularly lush at this time of year. I only wish it didn’t look so moth-eaten…


A variegated Petasites lines these steps through a section of woods.
Help! Someone tell me — is there some way to stop whatever is eating the leaves?


And speaking of holes…


How much longer do you think this cedar tree will survive?
How much longer do you think this cedar tree will survive?


At the Skating Pond, the ornamental grasses are in full flourish, with their reflection allowing them to do double time.


I like the way the infloresence is reflected in the pond.
You can’t see it here (or maybe you can) but there are two types of miscanthus in the group. One is ‘Malepartus,’ the other is ‘Morning Light.’ Combining them was a mistake. Note to self: think before planting!


Nearby, in a wet area above the pond, mint is threatening to take over the world. I don’t mind, though — brushing against the leaves releases a wonderful fragrance.


Which shall this become -- mint jelly or flowers in a vase?
Which shall this become — mint jelly or flowers in a vase?


The giant fleeceflower (Persicaria polymorpha) that grows in many places at Glen Villa looks good even after the blossoms have faded. I particularly like it at this time of year, when it is back-lit. But I need more New York Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis ) to set it off.


persicaria polymorpha (1 of 1)
There used to be more Ironweed. Did I kill it off or did it die on its own?


Tours aren’t the only thing coming to an end. Everywhere I look I see  signs that autumn is about to begin. There’s a hint of colour in the horse chestnut tree.


A touch of colour on the horse chestnut tree is a sure sign of approaching fall.
This touch of colour is a sure sign of approaching fall.


The Joy Pye weed trail is looking decidedly autumnal — or to say it more directly, dead.


A touch of autumn?
The dead heads of Joe Pye are enlivened by the exuberance of the white asters. The asters are having a bumper blooming year. Is this because of high temperatures or the rain that finally fell a few weeks ago, or is it a combination?


Bright lights are shining. About ten years ago, I started some Lobelia cardinalis from seed. It grew well, bloomed once, and gave up the ghost. Or so it seemed. But here it is again, shining in the sunlight.


The red is like a stop light.
The red is brighter as any cardinal I’ve seen. I’m hoping this patch will grow. Or at least will bloom again.


As I prepare to leave, I’m feeling good about the garden. There’s lots to be done, but what else is autumn for?