The downside of going away in May and June is not being at home. As much as I loved touring some amazing gardens in England and seeing some inspiring outdoor art, I missed being at Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, during the peak time for planting and transplanting.
Not to worry, though, I’ve made up for it — my arms, legs, back and shoulders will attest to that. For the last week or more, I’ve been practically living outdoors, cleaning up, pruning, planting and transplanting, dividing and moving plants from one spot to another. It’s late in the season to be doing this but luckily the weather has cooperated. Although some days have been unseasonably hot, we’ve also had several cool mornings. And thankfully, everything we divided and moved has survived without wilting or being set back.
The reward for these hours of work is a sense of satisfaction. The job is far from finished — it never is — but today I’m ready to exchange the trowel for the computer. There’s nothing deep or thoughtful about this week’s blog post — which is almost five days later than usual, due to the back-breaking activity mentioned above — simply some photos of beautiful flowers and some vignettes in the Lower Garden that I find appealing.
When I first began work on the garden, about 15 years ago, the slope consisted mainly of a perennial geranium, several clumps of bearded iris and some tired evergreen shrubs. I removed most of the plants, refreshed the soil and began again.
It’s no surprise that the geranium survived. It continues to spread, adding a flash of colour that brings its surroundings to life.
In those fifteen years I’ve added plants, of course — like these Siberian iris ‘Tycoon’ that are blooming so beautifully now beside the old poplar tree.
I added lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) for its citrus froth, and as much as I love it, annually I pull out huge bunches — which seems not to bother the plant at all.
I added allium, now past their peak.
I added Astilbe ‘Fanal’, not yet in bloom, next to a teenaged Aralia ‘Sun King.
I added a lovely single white peony with a frilly skirt …
and a cherry peony that is not yet in full bloom.
But the best plants in the Lower Garden are the peonies I inherited. Right now, they are the stars of the show.
These old favourites are stunning from a distance and even more stunning when viewed up close.
Peonies take a few years to establish themselves but they live almost forever. And thank goodness for that.
Do you grow peonies in your garden? Do you have favourites to recommend?