I thought I would take you on a tour of the gardens to show you what is either blooming now or looking great and giving the gardens color at this time of the summer when it seems like the gardens are really winding down and not looking all that inspiring. Fruit & foliage can take on brighter colors and beter texture now as they mature so don’t forget those.Lycoris squamigera or Nekkid Ladies is a hardy bulb to zone 5. It pops up seemingly out of nowhere and overnight! The long strap-like leaves emerge in the spring and die back by mid-summer.
Cyclamen hederifolium flowers are just popping up now. This one I brought back from my trip last year to Portland Oregon and the Seattle area. The flowers are pure white and the leaves will emerge soon with the prettiest silver markings and they will last through the winter! Hopefully I will get some seed to collect next year.
In the foreground is Gentiana septemfida, a fabulous late blooming Gentian and this is the best it has ever looked! The rains of spring & summer have really helped bring on blooms to many plants this year. In the background is a Talinum calycinum and pretty succulent-like plant that seeds gently around and flowers for a long time.
This is Campanula barbata that I grew from seed last year and it’s blooming for the third time this summer. Campanulas are so easy from seed and bloom very quickly after sowing…sometimes in the same year! The seed came from the NARGS annual seed exchange which I donate seed to every year and the selection on the list is fantastic! I look forward to ordering every year. I highly recommend all gardeners join the North American Rock Garden Society for the seed exchange alone…but go to local chapter meetings too where you’ll learn so much and not just about rock gardening. Find out more about it here…https://www.nargs.org/
Another Cyclamen this time it’s C. purpurescens. A summer blooming specie that I bought from friend John Lonsdale a few years ago when he was a speaker at the Berkshire NARGS chapter in Stockbridge, MA. He’s an excellent grower with a fantastic web site full of the best photos. Check it out here http://www.edgewoodgardens.net/
Anemonopsis macrophylla is one of the most beautiful late summer blooming perennials. The tall willowy stems hold blooms that are delicate looking but have lots of substance. They love good rich composty soil and I really should move them to a moister spot instead of under the large pine where the soil goes very dry. But they are doing well there and give me lots of seed every year.
The garden doesn’t just have to be about flowers! Here are the beautiful berries of the native wildflower Smilacina racemosa or False Solomon’s Seal. This great plant is all over the woods here and these were growing in this garden when I started gardening here so I left them in place and cleared all the other weeds, brambles & nettles out around them.
Here is my favorite Astilbe! A. chinensis ‘Pumila’, a small groundcover type that blooms so late in the season, well after all other Astilbes have given up. It spreads slowly and blends with so many other plants in the garden that I’ve divided it many times and have it all over for that welcome color so late.
Most Aconitums are in bloom now or will be soon. This Monkshood is A. X cammarum ‘Bicolor’. I moved it from a spot that was way too dry for it and now it’s doing so well! Aconitums are another perennial that is easy from seed. It just needs a bit of a winter chill for germination.
What is redder than Cardinal Flower?? Lobelia cardinalis has got to be the reddest flower out there! I have this one planted next to the stream so it gets plenty of moisture all summer and winters a little on the drier side which it likes. I have two more plants waiting in the wings for a spot along the stream.
Native shrub Clethra alnifolia ‘Ruby Spice’ is a fragrant late blooming addition to the woodland garden. If it got a little more sun it would probably flower more heavily, but I enjoy what flowers it gives me.
While most ferns are taking a back seat at this time of year, this fern Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’ is still front and center with the bright orangey fronds and the shinyness of the entire plant. It is a beauty and not very well known yet. All summer it keeps sending out new fronds with this coloration that fades to all green after a few weeks.
Well that’s what is still looking great in the gardens now. There are other things I haven’t shown like the Agastache foeniculum ‘Golden Jubilee’ that brightens up my small sunny border, or the many Hostas that dot the gardens and are in bloom now. But I hope this selection gives some ideas to what is still possible for the shady woodland garden to keep it colorful and pretty.