Azalea, R. ‘Mother’s Day’, bears dark pink blossoms, but they unfurl earlier than mother’s day here in TN. The leaves will turn dark green as the temperatures rise. Again, the dusky foliage nearly blends in with the leaf litter.
One of the blackest of the black, besides the mondo grass is the sweet william ‘Sooty’, dianthus barbatus, ‘Sooty’. This was grown from Thompson and Morgan seeds several years ago and has self sown obligingly. It almost disappears by itself with the foliage as dark as the bloom, but contrasts nicely with a bicolor sweet william in the same area.
The same D. ‘Sooty’ in brighter light. Against the fence post is rosa ‘Cadenza’, shown in part one of this series of posts. A very sunny spot, both the rose and the sweet william flower profusely here. Not visible in the photo, the Sooty is planted in an old rusty wheelbarrow sitting next to the chain link fence. That explains the height of what is a normally twelve to eighteen inch plant.
Bergenia ‘Bressingham Ruby’, new to the garden, planted in late summer last year, holds great promise. It was chosen for the winter leaf interest, but the pink blooms are said to enhance the spring blooming bulbs. The yellow flowers of the nearby emerging daffodils in a duet with the bergenia, will delight the viewer, sitting happily in the addition, in the rocking recliner, sipping a warm beverage, looking out at the early spring festival which is soon to come.
Most of the concrete poured after our arrival at this abode has been imbedded with black river rock. All of the step stones we made ourselves have the corners sprinkled with the black pebbles. The professionally finished sidewalks and driveway had some of these same stones pushed in when the back of the workman was turned. This photo shows the step out to the gravel path from the covered vestibule at the back of the house. In the center, now tarnished but once shiny, is a Sacajawea dollar coin dated 2000, to mark the date of the transformation of this property from college party central to Faire Garden.
After seeing all these dark colors, a flash of sunshine is needed to help refocus those eyeballs. The black connection can be explained with the common name, black eyed susan, rudbeckia hirta.
Dahlia ‘Bishop’s Children’ seeds were ordered several years ago and have over wintered with only a few losses. More seeds were ordered from Thompson and Morgan again this winter to try and increase their numbers. In addition, seeds were saved from existin plants and have also been sown. Even one surviving seedling would be considered a huge success from those saved. The purchased seeds germinate fairly easily.
As you can see above, Faire Garden is an organic garden. Some flowers are more eaten up than others. Someone, a caterpillar, grasshopper, seventeen year locust, who knows, thouth that this maroon dahlia ‘Bishop’s Children’ was tasty indeed. We are still trying for the yellow flower of this variety shown in the picture in the catalog and on the seed packet along with the reds, oranges and wine hued types. Plants were purchased from White Flower Farm with yellow blooms, dahlia ‘Happy Single Party’, to ensure that color be present in the dahlia farm area, but the challenge is to get one from seed. Maybe this will be the year for that. Maybe this will be the year for many many happy surprises in Faire Garden.
The sweetest black of all, after Hazel, is the approach of rain clouds in the sky. Standing in the knot garden, looking out over the metal roof of the main house, a good view of the northern horizon lets us see the oncoming weather systems. We are still in desperate need of major rain to fill the reservoirs and quench the thirst of the trees and shrubs to keep our ecosystem healthy and happy. So far there has been occasional rain here this year. May the black clouds grace our garden and everyone’s still in need of water replenishment many, many more times.