Above is the Japanese Spurflower- Isodon effusus, along with Fuschia “Gartenmeister” and Plectranthus “Longwood Silver”.
In the South the gardening year never ends. Seedling Bachelor’s Buttons, Larkspur germinate in fall. Rarely does snow cover them. There are myriad berries, spears of the coming daffodils, and in February one finds the leaves of Spring Beauties.
But while Southern New Hampshire is not the Arctic, there are long , gray months ahead. and Spring is cold and late. This year frost came a month later than it did in 2020. It came on Saturday, and in the past couple days the migration of tender plants inside has begun. This year I will keep the big room unheated, for last year the plants I brought in were confused by the combination of low light and warmth. They struggled to grow instead of to rest. This winter they stay cool.
This summer I subscribed to an English gardening magazine- “Gardens Illustrated”. It is far superior to our American gardening magazines. Better photography. More sophisticated. A world of magnificent gardens and gardeners. There is an article in the August issue about the famed Irish gardener Helen Dillion’s new garden. And if you cannot find the magazine, there is a 12 minute YouTube video of a tour of her garden from this summer.
It is magnificent, and one of the best things about it is that it is small. It does not try to look like a prairie. It is not purely perennial. There are dahlias, cosmos, cannas. It is inspiring-
Of course gardeners in Ireland and the UK have a more temperate climate. The ground does not freeze like cement and the summers are not sickeningly hot and muggy. It is hard to garden here, whether you live in Tennessee or New Hampshire. But one can still persevere-
The salvia pictured above, “Mono Bama”, is hardy in Zone 5. It lives in the woodlands of Japan, and I grow it under the shade of a Kousa dogwood. Its flowers look like little orchids. The only source for it I know of is “Flowers by the Sea”, a mail order nursery in California.