I am not inclined to get out into the garden to provide an inventory count of the various collections. There are better things to be done in the garden, like doing nothing, and counting serves no purpose that I see. But today, I am certain of one number. I regret there is but a single Carolina silverbell (Halesia carolina, below), placed at the forest’s edge so that it is tall and lanky, but fortunately with one of the many branches flowering today that arches beside the stone path so it can be observed close up.
Thankfully, an excellent top to bottom view of the silverbell is available through the kitchen window as the pendulous blooms follow close behind fading flowers of the neighboring serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) that flutter down to cover the path.
While the branching of the silverbell is more open in this shaded spot, flowering is not diminished, though I have thought many times I would love to have another in a sunnier location. But, there are no open or sunny spots available. My wife suggests planting on the neighbor’s property, and apparently all parties agreed (except me) sometime in the past that this would be a splendid idea.
By mid-April, as dozens of barrenworts (Epimedium, above) come into leaf as flowers begin to fade, these join many dozens of hostas unfurling to cover what was bare ground a few weeks earlier. While I recall the names of several barrenworts and perhaps a third of the hostas, the number is too great to recall without keeping extensive written records. I’d rather enjoy than keep records.
In a concession to a memory that was never good, the various Japanese maples and new-to-me rock plants have been logged into a notebook. I realized I must track the maples after failing to recall several that should have been hard to forget. Again, there are dozens, and without my guide I can name all but a few, so I am not completely hopeless.
While the number is not important, maples, dogwoods, and redbuds are the focus of the garden, with several to be seen from any point in the garden. Most assuredly, I will not forget the silverbell or other favorites that are planted in smaller numbers (Red buckeye, Aesculus pavia, below).
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Thank you for your lovely postings. I find your ease with your garden’s ups & down quite inspiring especially as I begin work on gardens in a new house, my 3rd in the last decade.
My wife would have moved to a smaller place ten years ago, but she understands that I’ll be here until I can’t do it any longer. Not everything works for the best, but when I stroll the garden this evening there will be nothing wrong in my world.
My colleague down south and I are in completely different industries. He is a landscape designer and I am a nurseryman. Consequently, there were more species on his small urban parcel in western Los Angeles than we had on many acres on the farm. Even the home garden is not as diverse. There is plenty of space for so much more, but no need for it. I can not imagine what my colleague would do with more space.
I’m afraid that given more space I would plant until no space remained. Possibly if I had five acres I’d have to leave some open space.
or a bit more space between individual specimens. Some gardens are so crowded that it is difficult to appreciate some of the individual plants that are competing for attention.