Back And Sides
Most of the horticultural drama around here is in the front garden. But we shouldn’t forget that on either side of the house there are narrow strips within our property lines. And then there’s the back garden. Let’s take a look at what’s going on in those relatively neglected areas.
The east side of the house has my biggest and best concentration of Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), especially where the East Side Bed meets the Front Foundation Bed. Right now they are at peak bloom.
Columbine flowers remind me either of chandeliers or of a whole host of skydivers descending to earth in red and yellow parachutes.
It’s a shame that this part of the garden doesn’t get more attention. You don’t pass through on the way to anywhere – you only see it if you make a deliberate point of visiting.
OK, now let’s head over to the west side of the house. On the way we’ll pass a spot where at this time of year you’ll see a combination of Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica), Ostrich Ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris), and Wild Columbine. I really should have planted the Bluebells closer to the front of the border.
We’ll also pass a tuteur planted with two kinds Clematis, including ‘Guernsey Cream’, which was planted just last fall. Though less than 3 feet tall, it’s the first Clematis to bloom this year. It’s supposed to grow 6-8 feet, but I suppose that will come with time.
The route to the Back Garden lies along the shady west side of the house. It’s planted with Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis), Great Merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora – no longer blooming), Lady Ferns (Athyrium filix-femina), Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense), and ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens).
Click this link if you want to know why I used to call Athyrium filix-femina the Cat Lady Fern.
OK, here we are at the entrance to the Back Garden.
There’s another patch of ‘Purple Sensation’ Alliums. I’m surprised that it has prospered and multiplied in the dappled shade.
There’s also a Bluestar cultivar called ‘Blue Ice’. Not to be confused with another cultivar called ‘Ice Blue’, which is a Clematis.
‘Blue Ice’ flowers are a bit darker than those of the straight species Amsonia tabernaemontana, and the petals are not as elongated.
I didn’t get our little fountain-birdbath set up this year until the middle of May, which is late for me.
Last fall I tried planting Common Camas (Camassia quamash) for the first time. I placed the bulbs in a concrete container (it used to be a birdbath) with no protection to speak of. Happily, most of them made it through the winter. Common Camas is supposed to be pretty tolerant of wet soils.
I filled in with some white Nicotiana, but the container does not look as full as I had wanted. I may add a few more bulbs in the fall, or I could wait for them to multiply.
Are there parts of your garden that you feel aren’t visited enough?