2014 has been a successful gardening season. It brought the first flower of a young Eucryphia x intermedia, ‘Rostrevor’; a non-stop display of blooms from Monarda didyma ‘Raspberry Wine’; and so many ‘Top Hat’ Vaccinium corymbosum that even the birds were allowed to share the harvest. Astrantia major, Masterwort, took control of its garden early in the season and never let up.
This season saw the best color to date on Chamaecyparis obtusa, ‘Nana Gracilis Aurea’ and ‘Baldwin Variegata’, and almost no brown on C. pisifera squarrosa sulphurea ‘Sulfer Moss’ – a huge accomplishment for this little underdog of a tree! It brought a gold of Cryptomeria japonica ‘Sekkan-Sugi’ so stunning that passers-by stopped to admire it. And dwarf Ginkgo biloba so bright it looked like it had been painted a high-gloss yellow.
But the stars of the season were the grasses. Who could resist a cheer for a mature stand of Imperata cylindrica, ‘Japanese Blood Grass’ when seen against the background of a red/pink/purple sunset? Not me. Schizachyrium scoparium, ‘Little Bluestem’, Sporobolus heteropelis, Prairie Dropseed, and Sorghastrum nutans, ‘Indian Steel’, and Panicum virgatum ‘Ruby Ribbons’ took the field in such a dramatic show of color – blue, purple, bronze, red, orange, silver – that even red ‘Knock-out Rose’ fell behind.
As the season comes to a close and the riot of color fades, shades of quiet, subdued brown and tan will take a stand and remind me of what is yet to come. And that is one more win to cheer for.