I returned home this past weekend after 10 days away from my garden. Things faired far better this year than previous years, thanks in part to the crazy, ongoing rain we've had. I'm not sure I've ever seen lawns so green in mid-July before.

There's always a lot of weeding and cutting back that happens after more than a few days away from the garden, but I also find it to be one of the best times for analyzing things. There's nothing better than a bit of time away from the garden to help you see it in a different way. And with many plants at their peak, the garden is about as close as it gets to completely filled out.

I've not yet cracked the design code of the area off the patio. I gutted a large portion of it the fall before last and that helped quite a bit, but there are still areas I'm not quite happy with. Sunday, as I was taking a break from a weed-pulling frenzy, I looked up and I saw a change that seems so obvious.

I love the texture that the Amsonia hubrectii I planted two summers ago adds to the garden, and although I found its flowering to be a little disappointing this year, its fall color cannot be beat. I'd be happy to add more of it to the garden. I also have some Siberian irises that have been in that garden since the beginning. They are pretty, but have a pitifully short bloom period and then the rest of the summer all that's left is their strappy leaves. That's not the worst, but it's not the best use of a high-profile spot in the garden.

Moving the iris on the left of the urn and adding more Amsonia whould help unify the space and add some great texture.

What I saw Sunday was the solution: nix the iris and add more Amsonia. Not only will it add some texture, but it will add a bit of continuity as well. This is not rocket science, but for whatever reason I couldn't see that until I had some time away from the garden.

Maybe a break from the familiarity of our own gardens can be a good thing, even if it means there's a lot of weeding that comes with it.


  1. A good idea. I think it definitely helps to get away from the garden, especially during the growing season. You see it with fresh and sometimes inspired eyes.

  2. I have one garden that drives me nuts, and I've been thinking a lot about it recently. It has good spring color, but there's not much going on now besides some phlox and Joe Pye Weed. I was thinking I needed some Rudbeckia and, and...shoot, it's gone right now, but I think Amsonia would be a great addition! Thanks for sharing how you work through garden issues. It's very helpful.

  3. I would like to see more of the sculptural planter too...not all of it, still some mystery, but a bit more of the curve.

  4. I think the multi season looks of the Amsonia will be a real boost.


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