Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Pleasant and not-so-pleasant surprises

I have been in Boston at a conference the last four days or so, so of course as soon as I got back I was knee-deep in plants: snipping, deadheading, rearranging, and checking out the activity. Things are getting busy—busting out all over, as they say, though my garden is mainly planned for July. And I must hastily add that I will never, ever be able to show a photo of a huge backyard border packed with structure, texture, and color. A courtyard garden simply does not lend itself.

But we do have:

Martagon lilies (shown above): These actually do very well in dappled shade, never need staking regardless of how tall they get, don’t seem to care about drainage, and have an interesting whorled leaf form that keeps its appeal throughout the summer. Most of my orientals look like crap after they’re done and I cut off as much stem as I dare. The martagons smell kind of…odd. Not unpleasant, but not the usual rich lily fragrance.

Unknown ramber: I thought this was dead, but it’s making a very interesting comeback, more as a climber than its original bush form. I love the peppery fragrance, and there is rebloom. The blooms also fade to shades of pink as they age. I have no idea what it is.

On to the bad news: gloire de Dijon? I think not. What I got were some very pleasant buff/light peach roses, but clearly of modern derivation. Damn them! (I mean the nursery; you shouldn't really blame the plant.) They do leave rather attractive little seed heads—almost like a clematis. Sorry, no pics on this one.

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