Undeniably, I’m an addict. The first step towards a cure must be admitting the problem, but I’ll proudly fess up and continue planting with no hope for rehabilitation. Knowing that I will not stop, my wife suggests planting on the neighbor’s property, but still I can find plenty of places to plant in the garden, even after thirty-three years.
Long ago, she put a halt to removing any more areas of lawn, but in late autumn a small section of damp, weedy lawn in the lower, rear garden had to go. This was once our family’s ballfield, then a badminton court, but the kids are grown and gone and today it’s the newest addition to the garden. Earlier in spring this small planting area applied a temporary salve to my anxiousness, but in recent weeks I’ve been inspired to begin a collection of aeoniums (cold tender succulents) and now redbuds.
There have been redbuds in the garden from its start, though two variegated leaf ‘Silver Cloud’ redbuds were removed over the past year as the top heavy trees leaned from the garden’s edge to the sun, then nearly leaned out of the ground. Happily, one of the two has sprouted from the roots, with a dozen root suckers now trimmed to three. With a mature tree’s roots it should not be long before it grows again into a substantial tree, and the still exposed trunk that leans at a forty-five degree angle is well hidden behind a wide spreading oakleaf hydrangea.
The challenge I have is planting so that the garden is pleasing to the eye, not only a series of collections. There are nearly forty Japanese maples, many dogwoods, hydrangeas, evergreen and deciduous azaleas, forty or more fern varieties, and on and on, but I don’t think the collections are evident touring the garden. The garden does stand out as chock full of plants, I think, but there’s room for more, and today I planted a yellow leafed ‘Golden Falls’ redbud (above) to join the red leafed ‘Ruby Falls’ (below) planted a few weeks earlier. At least fifty Verbena bonariensis seedlings were trampled while digging, but there are still another thousand (at least), and it’s likely that several terrestrial orchids will need to be moved in another year or two as the redbud grows.
The two weeping redbuds are not side by side, and I think that both fit wonderfully into their new positions. ‘Ruby Falls is planted close to the unnamed redbud (below) discovered in a North Carolina nursery that is a mutation of the yellow leafed ‘Rising Sun’. I doubt that this prize is worthy of introduction into commerce, but a one-of-a-kind is most treasured in a collection. ‘Golden Falls’ is planted near a ‘Scarlet Fire’ dogwood that was added this year to fill the space vacated when the last of the two ‘Silver Cloud’ redbuds was chopped out.
Two small redbuds, a seedling with red leaves that fade to green (below), and the multicolored leafed ‘Flamethrower’ will someday be treasured additions to the expanded lower, rear garden. No matter that I occasionally think my wife is correct, there is more space to plant, but with very limited space for trees, and still a few Japanese maples I must add, so these could be the last of the redbuds.