African Garden + things

Truth and Beauty in the Late August Garden

While we all know that Truth is subjective, and, as Saxon Holt has shown, the camera lies, I want to present the unvarnished truth about the Woodland Garden. My August Bloom Day post gave a misleading impression that all was perfect and beautiful, when that is not the case. The Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum) in the above photo are not my idea of attractive. They look particularly pathetic because their shade tree has been cut down. (It was a huge, greedy Cottonwood that was too close to the house.) Its replacement is a baby hybrid Oak (Quercus x bebbiana) that is enjoying the sun. Until it gets large enough to provide the shade these Mayapples need, they will continue to suffer. Even if they had shade, however, Mayapples will eventually look ratty before they die down.
Many plants that have bloomed all summer are tired and just want to lie down with a cold compress to the head (such as this Campanula persicifolia).

Or do they?

Celadine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)
This is standard operating procedure for Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisamea triphyllum).

The reward for putting up with this temporary unsightliness is the shot of bright red-orange from the ripening fruit. Thalictrum thalictroides/Anemonella thalictroides is a Spring Ephemeral, which means that by the end of August, its foliage looks like this:

or has disappeared entirely.

The beauty of autumn in the Woodland Garden is first shown in the colorful berries of several plants, before they too fade and disappear.

Spikenard (Aralia racemosa)

Smilacina racemosa

Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)


But all is not dying down and fading away. There are things just coming into full flower,

Tricyrtis 'Gilty Pleasure'

things reviving after the heat of summer,

Clematis 'Evipo023' (Cezanne)

and things getting ready to start blooming.

Aster species in bud

Actaea simplex 'James Compton'

Hosta species

Anemone x hybrida 'Andrea Atkinson'

With all this going on, plus all the things still blooming (the Lobelias, Phlox and Geranium Rozanne), I can easily over look the less than perfect parts of the garden.

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Truth and Beauty in the Late August Garden + things