Early spring in the Halcyon Garden
Enter via the East Gate:
Here, morning sun filters through a light Forest Pansy redbud canopy. There’s lots of color, but not from blooms. It’s the foliage, stupid: brilliant purple Forest Pansy leaves, creamy green and white variegated Cornus kousa “Wolf Eyes” leaves, green and gold flecked Aucuba japonica leaves, watercolor striped hostas, and the many greens, golds, and purples of countless Japanese maple cultivars.
Turn west and follow Otis:
The flagstones curve towards a circular brick patio and a profusion of purple and gold foliage—more Japanese maples and Forest Pansies, a redbud with striking gold new-growth leaves, and a host of purple, peach, gold, and lime-green cultivars of heuchera (coral bells) along the path. (I have a slight heuchera addiction.)
Head towards the brick patio:
We gave up long ago on keeping the fountain running. Hal was thrilled when Mom and I dumped the water, filled the cursed thing with garden soil, and planted an assortment of sedum—the most carefree, sun-loving plant imaginable. Sedum never whines or wilts. Beyond, Mom and I are slowly converting a sun bed to a part-shade bed, digging out blooming sun-lovers like garden phlox and planting hostas and ferns under the redbud and Carolina silverbell. Sedum “Autumn Joy” fills the dappled-sun space between shade and full sun, just behind the old millstone from Hal’s family farm. Also, more heuchera. Of course.
Turn back east and north to a small stone patio: (This bench is one of Otis’s favorite snooze zones.)
This shady bed gets all its color from foliage—brilliant lime heuchera, coral-red Japanese maple leaves, golden hakone grasses, and (see the bottom left corner), a tiny Cornus controversa tree, newly planted, with gorgeous creamy variegated leaves. It’s a graceful, lovely thing, and it’s fortunately becoming slightly less rare in American gardens; because full grown, at 30 feet of delicately tiered, creamy-white perfection, this plant is a heart-stopper. To me, worth the decades-long wait.
Sure, it’s an investment. But look at it this way: ten years ago, the garden you see here was nothing but a bare expanse of weeds, stacked high with trash. A gardener’s sense of time is old-school.
Related post: Last year’s garden tour…Note the date. (Seems we’re about 2 weeks ahead of schedule this year.)
Related post: A compendium of my favorite small garden trees
Related post: Coral Bells Ring True