Tuesday, 19 June 2018

The Attention-Getters

During the East Van Garden Tour this Sunday, thirteen private gardens welcomed
around 300 visitors between 10 am and 4 pm.
Our garden was one of them. 
Early in the morning, we posted a few "before" images on our basement door. 


For most of the day, we had a steady stream of delightful people
carefully making their way from front to back along our narrow paths.

 Between us we fielded many questions, not just about plants but also our water feature, pergola, irrigation system (hand-watering!), paving and design. Still, most of the questions were to do with plant ID and, although there was interest in a wide variety, some plants drew more attention.

In the front garden, everyone noticed the scent of the two bushes of Daphne 'Eternal Fragrance' flanking the path ....


.... even the butterflies.


The tree hydrangea (Hydrangea aspera ssp. sargentiana) also attracted interest for its sheer size, despite not being in bloom yet.


At quite the opposite end of the scale, the delicate flowers and richly patterned leaves
of Saxifraga stolonifera drew many eyes down to ground level.


 A surprise for me was the number of people who commented on a single remaining Trillium leaf,
 that had turned lime green as the flower went to seed.


In the back garden, the most commented-on plant was Phlomis russeliana. I was surprised that more people didn't recognize this member of the Jerusalem sage family.


I tried to describe its additional virtue of winter structure, without realizing at the time that I could simply have directed them to one of the other gardens on the tour where its seedheads were decorating a shady fence.


Another big hit was Gillenia trifoliata, a not-well-known-but-ought-to-be plant for
shady spaces, where its delicate white petals on their long stems spangle the purples
and soft greens of surrounding foliage.


 Various Astrantia, also brightening the shade, drew a lot of attention ...


... particularly one vigorous seedling that I assume to be a hybrid of 'Shaggy' and 'Ruby Wedding' since it marries the white of one with the crimson of the other.


Two clovers were at their peak, puzzling quite a few visitors who couldn't quite believe
they belonged to the family of the common invader of lawns.

Trifolium rubens
Trifolium ochroleucum
Next to the latter, another Astrantia, pink-flowered 'Roma',
was appealing to a crowd of bees as well as humans. 



Hydrangea serrata 'Yae-no-Amacha' attracted the foliage-lovers. I'm a bit worried that
it's showing its dislike of too much sun, but the effect is certainly unusual. 
It will look even more spectacular when the flowers deepen to a more vivid blue.


Finally, the beautiful marking on a Hydrangea relative, Schizophragma hydrangeoides 'Moonlight', in the shade along the side of the house caused a few keen-eyed people to stop and admire.


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