Wrong plant? Right place

Seedlings of ‘Espresso’ geranium would be considerably improved if foliage had been cut to the ground in late June. But, they weren’t. Ones in part shade have fared better, though flowering is improved with more sun. So, for part of the year the geranium’s placement is ideal, but less so at other times. Also in August, poorly planned placement of several hostas in too much sun is most evident, and even with constantly damp soil in this unusual summer, leaves are faded and brown along the edges.

Foliage of this seedling of Espresso geranium is faded in mid August. Cutting it back would rejuvenate foliage, but the garden’s decline is expected in summer.

But, that’s it. There’s nothing more to complain about. Well, nutgrass, but that’s every year in the usually damp lower garden. It will never be eliminated, so there is no sense in being overly worked up by it. Otherwise, better than expected for August, and while I’ve erred in placing several hostas, credit is earned for selecting many plants that flower and show wonderfully through late summer and autumn.

The decline and eventual loss of a favored Franklinia (Franklinia alatamaha, above) several years ago is still bothersome. How a mostly dormant spring that surfaces beside the garden shed became more active is beyond my understanding. The area in the lower garden turned from occasionally to perpetually damp, with the long established Franklinia, a large holly, and a witch hazel failing in the transition.

Gordlinia is a cross between Franklinia and Gordonia, with its shrubby form and foliage closer to Gordonia and the flowers more similar to Franklinia’s.

Certainly, no plant in the garden is expected to last forever, but the Franklinia’s premature demise is partially assuaged by nearly identical blooms of a shrubby Gordlinia (x Gordlinia grandiflora, above), which is perhaps as finicky as Franklinia, but better placed in dry ground. Any flower is welcomed in the heat of August, but large, white blooms are more obvious than most.

‘Sunshine Blue’ bluebeard (Caryopteris incana ‘Jason’) has suffered wilting stems in recent years, and again this summer significant portions must be pruned as it reaches flowering time. The foliage of an older yellow leafed bluebeard, ‘Worcester Gold’ (Caryopteris × clandonensis ‘Worcester Gold’, above) fades in summer, but it has been much sturdier than the newer introduction.

Two summersweets (Clethra alnifolia), ‘Sixteen Candles’ (above) and ‘Ruby Spice’ (below), tolerate dry shade, though ideally both would thrive in the damp area where the Franklinia failed to survive. Perhaps growth is slowed in dry ground, but both appear happy enough. 

One Comment Add yours

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Our zonal geraniums are already regenerating, which makes me want to cut them back now, but I don’t want them going into autumn like that. I don’t remember them doing it like that. I typically let them bloom through winter, and then cut them back at the last minute before spring. Those that I am working with now are completely off, or are doing it in two different phases.

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