Do you remember 'the artist formerly known as Prince'? Well, that's a bit the way I am feeling about my garden these days. I mean 'the space formerly known as my garden'.
I have had my garden for 11 years and I have put an enormous amount of time and energy into designing, maintaining and constantly changing it. One of my relatives has referred to it in the past as 'the botanical garden'. I have flower beds everywhere and they are full of trees, shrubs, spring bulbs and perennials.
But, this past season, it has been suffering. It didn't help that our spring was miserable which made planting annuals in my normal early- to mid-May window foolish. So I waited. Then I got caught up in a huge, time-consuming volunteer project for my youngest daughter's school in June, designing and publishing the yearbook for the graduating Grade Six class. So I waited some more. We left for our holiday in London and Paris right after school ended. We returned to our house in July and a garden full of empty pots and bare annual beds. Weeds had taken full advantage of my absence and were towering over the perennials in the mixed beds. My vegetable bed, normally an organized, productive and beautiful corner, only sported the few brave herbs and flowers that had made it through the winter or reseeded themselves and, of course, a terrifying tangle of weeds.
There are still pockets of it that are beautiful. That's the advantage of using perennials, shrubs and trees. They can manage on their own for a certain amount of time without too much human intervention.
The hydrangeas in the top photo have been blooming beautifully. One particularly gorgeous shrub this year is a rose of sharon bush (hibiscus syriacus) that I planted 11 years ago. This year, it had a huge growth spurt (perhaps it's approaching adolescence?) and has been covered with masses of blooms. The past few days, it has been just stunning.
I went out this morning to take a picture to include in my blog and guess what I found? It toppled over during the night and is bent in two. It's not broken, just really, really bent. We had a thunderstorm last night and I guess that the wind coupled with the weight of the blooms were too much for it. I'm going to have to prune it sharply. I don't have the heart to do it while it is in bloom, so I think I will leave it the way it is for now, an archway for any elves or dwarves who care to visit the 'space formerly known as my garden'.