A Blank Canvas

magnolia in winter

To be carpeted with raspberry tinted hellebores

Hellebore

Hellebore Peppermint Ice

A buddhist monk friend of mine said “its best to love the weather as there’s nothing you can do about it”. Heeding his advice I’m readjusting my attitude and embracing this new round of snow as a possible last chance to view the new gardens as blank canvases. With orders for 60 daylilies, 20 hellebores and 10 peonies placed and confirmed this is a fine opportunity to do some painting with the minds’ eyes. This will, of course, be an abstract expressionist work since neither deer nor chickens appear in this painting. An important difference between this activity and actual painting is that one can’t simply create a plant that one needs as easily or spontaneously or cheaply as one can with paint and brushes.

I could, for instance, use about 25 more alchemilla mollis, 15 more geranium ‘Rozanne’, 25 hostas (preferably deer and chicken resistant artificial ones- I dream) 5 bergenia, 30 lavender ‘Munstead’, a dozen blue or pink or lime green hydrangeas (macrophylla), 5 or 9 spirea japonica ‘Goldmound’ and ‘Snowmound’, 25 or so buxus ‘Green Gem’, a few different colored lilacs, some philadelphus, a couple crabapples, a mulberry and a variety of evergreens, and that’s just for starters. It doesn’t include bulbs or three separate palettes of shade plants and bog plants and native woodland plants. Santa disappointed us this year;  either I was naughty  (more than likely) or he just couldn’t manage 25 mountain laurel, 10 rhododendron, a few flats of ivy and a measly couple dozen  primula japonica. Maybe he tried, maybe the reindeer ate his homework, at any rate, we’re still short a couple of hundred plants.

This east facing border was begun last year with a surplus of roses.

Paeonia Mrs. F.D.R. will be rooming with roses and lady's mantle.

One of the new gardens that we started last year is an east facing border that we populated with a surplus of roses, many that we’d struck from cuttings in the greenhouse and heeled into a nursery bed the previous year.  Most of these are David Austin roses and the pink and apricot shades predominate. The beautiful and fragrant Mrs. FDR peony will be hanging with her rosebuddies (and I mean that quite literally as I never get around to the peony guards in time) Crown Princess Margaretta, Abraham Darby and JFK, the hybrid tea.  Pink and lavender daylilies and some chartreuse alchemilla mollis (not enough, there’s never enough!) will fill out the picture, with some inky violet salvia ‘May Night’ thrown in for contrast, and since this is one of the few moderately deerproof and chickenproof garden areas we’ve got to work with we ought to incorporate some lime colored  hostas into this border. Even naming the colors that will  appearing in the garden is invigorating just when I was feeling numb from all this ‘snovacaine’ .

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