A year ago I could see considerable progress in what is today a garden begun thirty-two years ago. Of course, this sounds absurd, but with yearly changes, long established evergreens that decline and perish, and some that overgrow and must be chopped out, regular additions are required. Yes, the standard changes also. The fullness of the garden a decade earlier would be less satisfactory today.

Korean wax bells (Kirengshoma koreana) grows above a yellow leafed periwinkle along the path that follows the stream.

Still, there is much room for improvement, so I look ahead. Next year must be better. A new planting along a path from the driveway to the rear garden needs a year to grow in. When the Wheel Tree (Trochodendron aralioides) below the kitchen window gains some size, perhaps after five years but possibly in another decade, my vision for this area once dominated by an Alaskan cedar will be close to complete. Except, the standard will certainly change again.

Seedling coneflowers grow along the driveway with a wide spreading sedges.

This should not be construed as complaining, and in fact I have many fewer complaints every year as newer plantings fill to minimize weeding. There are more blooms, more pleasing contrasts of foliage colors and textures, more must have plants. The gardener must look forward to next year, and the next, not for the same scene he enjoys today, but with another year’s growth, to witness the euphorbias just planted as they fill beneath the Yellowbird magnolia that replaced an aged, declining Blue Atlas cedar removed in late winter.

A Silver Edge rhododendron and Eternal Fragrance daphne are joined by Sensitive fern sporelings and heuchera seedlings.

I suppose that changes to the garden will slow, but never stop. There is much less open space today than ten years, or a year ago, and while my wife wonders where loads of new arrivals can possibly be planted, I see gaps that desperately must be filled. So, the garden is almost there, but not quite.

The bluestone path to the deck passes a tall Dorothy Wycoff pieris and Ostrich ferns.
The path along the stream is lined with hostas, saxifraga, and sweetbox.
Oakleaf hydrangeas are underplanted with Robb’s spurge, seedling poppies, and ferns.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Valerie says:

    Love these photos. I can see what I aspire to, along my paths!

    1. Dave says:

      While many garden borders are primarily herbaceous, these are mixed with evergreens and shrubs, with Japanese maples and dogwoods interspersed. I didn’t begin with a plan to do this, but these are the plants that interested me.

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