It's high summer, August. Humid, noisy with cicadas and birds. I had a little visit a few days ago, before today's heavy rain, with the quieter plants that are spending the summer in my garden. The shy ones.
Such as the candy lilies. I had no success with them for the first few years, and thought I had lost them all. Well, hello!
They are popping up everywhere this year. The seedpods that formed in the first few years quietly settled into the soil, and these tiny little lily flowers on flat green scapes have established in places I did not plant them. The twisty wrapped petals you see above turn into the most interesting seedpods with glistening black berries in late summer.
They are shy, awkward plants, too tall, with flowers that are too small at the top. They must be staked, which I never get around to, so they get gawky and flop. But when I notice, as I did on this visit, I tie them upright and see their funny leopard spotted faces.
Candy lilies are X Pardancanda norrisii (X means two genera mixed: Belamcanda chinensis, which is blackberry lily, crossed with Pardanthopsis dichotoma, a kind of iris). I also planted a wine tipped gold color candy lily called 'Sangria', but it disappeared after the first winter and never came back.
But wait. Look. It's 'Sangria', returned this year to my garden all on its own. Where was this reclusive one for the past two years?
Coleus 'Chocolate Drop' quietly spreads under a Japanese maple. I took cuttings of this coleus and wintered them in pots in my living room all last season, pinching off the leggy tops. Pinch pinch pinch, all winter long. I put the scraggly cuttings under the maple in the very back of the garden in spring, and then forgot about them while I tended to spring bloomers and flashy flowers in the summer garden. Well, look at the coleus now. It has formed a wide patch of spreading foliage.
'Chocolate Drop' is a lacy, speckled coleus with small leaves, not so gaudy and bold as the big red cousins I recently plopped in among them. It plays well with others, spreading out rather than shooting up. I like the reserved shape and the coloration a lot; it is redder in a bit of shade, greener where there is more dappled sunlight.
Here's a shy, demure one: Anemone 'Robustissima'. I like the silvery fat buds almost better than the rose-like blush pink bloom. The bee disagrees with that opinion, however.
This whole plant is unassuming, just growing in a nice mound of grape-leaved green foliage at the corner of the patio as I pass it on the way to water the big summer bloomers and thirsty annuals. Then one day there she was, whispering a delicate sliver and pink "hi there".
And the small grasses want to say hello. Not the big tall panicums and miscanthus that have shouted and waved most of the summer, but the little ones like Feather Reed Grass 'Karl Foerster' with its sunlit reedy plumes, and a fuzzy headed pennisetum tucked under other plants along the walk (it's 'Little Bunny' I think). The small grasses aren't showy, but they add shine to things around them.
I enjoyed visiting with the shy ones, and taking notice of them among all the other rampant activity going on in the summer garden.