Texture in the Summer Garden

A relaxing garden has both restful places for your eyes and focal points to enjoy. Green is restful, but it can get monotonous if it’s all identical, as in a yard with a well-kept lawn, but nothing else. Texture is a good way to add interest without losing the restfulness of green. Massing, an application of the design principles of repetition and proximity, is a great way to develop texture that is sufficiently interesting to lead your eyes to an interesting larger plant or something in bloom. Continue reading “Texture in the Summer Garden”

Solomon’s Seal, True and False

I never thought of Solomon’s seal as a garden plant—it was a plant from botany field trips into the woods in college, so I was struck by a neighbor’s planting of dwarf Japanese Solomon’s seal, Polygonatum humile, several years ago. They had planted it in a shady little patch of earth on a street corner with road on one curved side, and sidewalk on the other two sides. At about 6 inches tall, it is a very nice orderly little plant for such a small space. They stand sturdily upright, about a leaf-and-a-half’s distance from stem to stem—with a great texture, and serve as a very nice ground cover.

Dwarf Japanese Solomon’s seal, a terrific ground cover that blooms in May. Photographed on May 26, 2019.

Continue reading “Solomon’s Seal, True and False”

Chipmunks as Farmers

Chipmunks are certainly cute, and they are entertaining—to the right crowd—but they can also be real nuisances digging, chewing holes in garage doors, and swiping low-lying fruit.

Three cats are lined up shoulder-to shoulder, sitting on a doormat, staring very alertly out of a storm door that has a full glass panel.
One of the chipmunk runs is right across the steps outside this door. The cats are transfixed by a chipmunk on the steps, out of our view. Photographed June 24, 2018.

Then there’s the ambivalent in-between state: the cute nuisance. Did you know that chipmunks farm? They regularly cache safflower seeds, which come up like odd little green bouquets in spots along their various runs—in flowerpots, along the north side of the house, and around my garden bench. Continue reading “Chipmunks as Farmers”

November’s Gloom Has Its Bright Spots

The weather people are starting to make breathless prognostications about sleet and snow flurries—Novemberish weather, in other words—however, the sun came out for a little while shortly after lunch today, so I zoomed outside to capture some more color. Continue reading “November’s Gloom Has Its Bright Spots”

Fireflies Spotted!

How could I pass up passing this on? If the parade of ice cream going up and down the street didn’t prove it was summer—the cool temperatures the last few days certainly didn’t—these surely do.

Fireflies resting on Solomon’s seal (Heronswood). Photographed June 28, 2017.

Fireflies used to be a mid-July treat, but they are moving into June. These are the only non-botanical fireworks I have.

A Cool Respite: Solomon’s Seal

It is not yet 9:30 a.m., but it is 81°F. Ugh. The heat index is 84°. Many plants are taking on the faintly blue cast of water stress; we have not had enough rain to thoroughly wet the sidewalk under the honey locust so far this June.

Time to look at a lovely, well-hydrated green. There is something singularly cooling about those flowers.

This is a Japanese Solomon’s seal, Polygonatum latifolium ‘Heronswood’ in full bloom. Photographed May 20, 2017.

[Corrected on August 17, 2020. I incorrectly passed on the erroneous information I received at the nursery when I purchased this lovely plant. It remains one of my favorites.]