May 18, 2011

Garden Love

While living in Denver, I worked for an incredible interior designer. Our shoppe was based out of the charming greenhouse on her grounds, overlooking her amazing gardens. Melinda introduced me to midnight gardens. Designed for twilight, or a full moon, such gardens features all white flowers and variegated foliage, which seem to glow after the sun sets itself. Illuminated by the stars themselves, these gardens are magical.

Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I have imitated her midnight gardens. And her signature pony-tail. And a classic watch, worn daily. But back to the great outdoors . . .

A new favorite of mine is this lime green coleus. There are over one hundred varieties of coleus, but I think this is exhibition limelight. It is full, happy and seems to thrive on neglect. It has been growing steadily since early March, and while it should fade with the first frost, I'll gladly replace it next year. I don't mind container-gardening with annuals.

Coffee. Garden. Coffee. Does a good morning need anything else? -Betsy Garmon

These limelight licorice plants are new to the garden. They are a mixture of pale grey-green and milky chartreuse. They survived a serious trampling by the tree-man who came and ground up our thirty-two stumps. The squirrels love to bury their treasures amidst these velvety leaves. Hardy to twenty degrees, I hope these endure. Arbor Gate is a long drive for more!

This is peacock ginger, a perennial, one of few plants here when we moved in. Self-spreading, but not obtrusive, these 10" leaves uncurl themselves to reveal tiny lavender flowers in the summer.

My sweet roses! They're giving me a hard time. Lost one a few weeks ago, and two more are looking questionable, but I love them. The sweet white blooms are breathtaking. Early spring and late fall weather bring out their best.

God made rainy days so that gardeners could get the housework done. -Author unknown

The happiest potato vine I've seen! It just grows and grows, meandering about, trailing over the rock edge. The lavender blooms are completely hidden, preferring the cool shade of the large gothic-hued leaves. Normally an annual, these returned this spring, a pleasant surprise!

Admittedly, it's hard to have a favorite in the garden, but this may be it. Escapade White Plumbago. These grow and grow, lasting well into the winter months. I had white blooms for Christmas last year!

Whirling Butterfly {Guara} also called Apple Blossom Grass . . . Aren't they darling? Guara is a sunlover, happy even in hot Texas sun. It's actually a Texas wildflower that has been propagated. There are multiple varieties, but I'm sucker for the white.

Be still my heart. I love these so. Agupanthus, or Lilies of the Nile, are simply delicious. These are about to explode, and I can hardly wait to see the enormous blossoms unfold!

The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there. -George Bernard Shaw

Fox tail ferns are a staple in my book. I love them in mass plantings. They just get prettier and prettier, filling out over the years. Seems I grab about three more every time I visit Lowes!

I cannot recall the name of this tender plant. It was given to me by my mother, which makes me love it even more. Doesn't it look like a flower? It's a shrub, but all new growth on it is white. It then turns a pale green before maturing to dark kelly-green. I may have to go pick up one more {Arbor Gate, of course} just so I can figure out it's name!

So this is the small beginning of my midnight garden. I haven't heard any nightingales yet, but I'm just getting started!

I have reached the end of the woodland path. The overhead breeze returns, clearing the sky of clouds and revealing the bright July moon once more. The white flowers glow again, illuminating my way back towards the house. The garden has taken me in, subdued and seduced me for a moment of midnight, and as I leave it to its secret nocturnal activities, I am ready to sleep. The leaves close in behind me, the flowers nodding in whispered acquiescence, and the moon smiles sleepily on all. -Alan Ilagen

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