I decide the exact form, shape and color needed to fill a particular spot or complete a design, then I make a list, and proceed to go around looking for exactly those items.
Frustration is my companion in this.
So, with the usual possibility of disappointment, I made a list this summer, and then I went around to the local garden centers.
And I scored. Big time.
First on my list
I wanted a red buckeye, Aesculus pavia, which is a tree that I saw on garden tours this spring. I saw it in May, in bloom, and knew that this small (to 20 feet tall) unusual tree would be in my yard soon.
But it was nowhere to be found, until I came across this specimen at Silver Spring Nursery right here in town. (A couple miles from my house, after looking out of state and everywhere.) Now this red buckeye, already coloring up for fall, is in my garden.
|Aesculus pavia will have red flowers in May, yellow foliage in fall, and |
it will remain a small and shapely tree in the gravel garden by the side of the house.
Second on my list
Hypericum inodorum 'Ignite Scarlet Red' is now filling the empty spot where tall grasses were inappropriately planted. I moved them, the area was then vacant and calling for a two foot high rounded shrub (with red berries if not too much to ask) and this cool St. Johnswort presented itself as the solution. I found it at a local nursery. Score.
|A small, tidy St. Johnswort. The flowers are sunshine yellow trumpets in summer, |
and then these fine red berries dress it up for fall.
My third find
Caryopteris divaricata, which is related to the woody bluebeard that I already have in my garden (and love, as do the bees), was a find at Natureworks near my home. Score again!
|Caryopteris divaricata 'Snow Fairy' has wonderfully clean, clear, white edged leaves, |
and the most incredible odor when touched!
A fourth score
Opuntia is the only cactus that grows in New England (who knew? A prickly pear cactus here?) Not a potted plant to be coddled over winter, it grows outdoors in our acid, wet, cold, rocky soil, and it is native. I had to have this, but it is not a commonly found plant.
Lee May has opuntia in his dry, rocky garden. And I found a nice one at a local nursery last week. It will go in my gravel garden. What a find.
|Opuntia humifusa growing in Lee's Connecticut garden.|
I also found sweet autumn clematis -- not rare, but out of fashion I think, as few nurseries carry it and it has a reputation for invasive or at least rampant growth further south. Here in northern Connecticut it is better behaved, but still a flashy, big, robust grower and I have a spot that could use an exclamation. Found a nice sized one, inexpensive.
|Even sitting in its pot waiting to be planted, this Clematis paniculata smells so sweet.|
I scored a lovely native wildflower anemone, called thimbleweed, or Anemone virginiana that I have wanted.
|Thimbleweed in my garden already. I moved and divided this tall anemone,|
and now with the addition of the one I just found, I'll have a stand of them.
And I found a wonderful glossy abelia with chartreuse foliage and pretty pink flowers, very mardi gras looking. I have 'Edward Goucher' already, but this is Abelia x grandiflora 'Francis Mason' and it was a find -- just what I was looking for to plant under a young smokebush and drape over a small berm.
|Abelia 'Francis Mason' fills an open spot under a smokebush Cotinus coggygria 'Grace'|
My list still has plants on it that I think I need. But I found several already, I found them locally, I found them reasonably priced at the end of the season, and I am really happy with that.