Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My friend’s big fat show-off garden

I’ve had many an argument with my fellow gardeners about the value of subtlety in gardening. One of the things my mother-in-law said to me when I told her I would have mainly perennials in my garden was, “Well, you’ll have to have some annuals, if you want to have a show all summer.”

And she was right. I do want to have a “show”—all summer long. I like big flowers and huge, exotic foliage plants. Increasingly, I prefer bright colors, and have been moving toward red, orange, yellow, bright blue, and purple, forsaking pale pinks and quiet lavenders.

So imagine my delight when I was once again invited to my friend Gordon’s annual martini party last week. (Ok, the delight had more than one cause.) Gordon’s garden (one of the pond sections is shown above) is well worthy perusing in a leisurely manner, drink and camera in hand. All of his plants seem to be three times bigger than their manifestations in anyone else’s space. His Japanese anemones are a huge thicket, at least four feet tall. His musa bajoo (banana plant) which he over-winters in our zone 5 climate goes at least seven feet, as does the blood red variation on it. I also love his castor bean plant (don’t know the latin for this one) which I’ve only seen as large at the Botanical Gardens.

All that’s missing are some nice big-ass dahlias to make my joy complete.


Annie in Austin said...

Who would hesitate to accept that invitation! The red castor beans are really striking. [Ricus?? something like that. Wasn't someone poisoned with Ricin in an Agatha Christie book?] My aunt planted Castor beans to hide the ugly outside tank for her oil-fired furnace, but this usage is a lot more upscale.

My dahlias fried, but the Plumerias are still blooming - bet you'd appreciate that show-off plant!


Blackswamp_Girl said...

The thing is, annuals can look really bad once they get tired, too hot, not hot enough, etc. Foliage on the other hand looks good even with the plant isn't in flower.

I love that castor bean. Someone near my work has them planted in with ornamental grasses, Russian sage, and some other lovely things that set them off wonderfully.