A Drinking Problem

Posted by & filed under Formal Gardens, Perennials.

A view of the Sarah Lee Baker Perennial GardenI don’t really have a drinking problem.  I just have a water problem.  With over 5 inches of rain in the last week, there has been a lot of water coming down in the Garden.  As usual, when it first started falling I got all excited and started drinking as much as I could.  But now, I am just looking to dry out.

With that much water coming so quickly, you can really learn a lot about a garden.  Water flows to low lying spots and collects.  Seeing where these are allows a gardener to plan according to a plant’s needs – if it wants consistent moisture and can tolerate inundations, then those low lying spots are ideal.  It also shows you where a plant that needs better drained soil must not go.   

Personally I decided to take the high road and find dryer ground.  I still wanted to be in a colorful spot and see lots of folks (just not gardeners).  That being the case I decided a visit to the Sarah Lee Perennial Garden was in order.  I’ve taken up residence a planting near the central fountain.  Since this garden has a slight crown at the center where the main fountain is, this is the driest spot – things are still a little soggy on the outer edge this morning.

This is a great garden to visit in August with lots of colorful flowers.  Some of the larger, sun-hogging shrubs were removed earlier this spring and a good variety of perennials were added, leaving more sun for me and more color for human visitors.  Right now there is a great mix of yellows, oranges, blues, purples and whites with some spots of other colors thrown in.  In general the brighter colors are toward the center (which allows me to fit in better with my yellow tones) while the cooler blues and purples gravitate to the outer edge. Color echoes of the yellow float out and some sprinkles of the blues find their way to the center.  This wonderful blending of colors creates a bright tapestry across the surface of the garden.  

Stokes Aster (Stokesia 'Blue Danube')Stokes Aster (Stokesia ‘Blue Danube’)

There is also an interesting dimensional variety of plants.  From tall cannas and Joe-pye weeds to the ground hugging cranesbill and stokes asters, plants come in all heights.  Rudbeckias of different heights create vertical waves of yellow rolling through the garden.  Soft billowing plantings of tickseed contrast nicely with spiky groups of veronica and society garlic.  The garden is not only kaleidoscope of color, but a textural feast of foliage and flowers.  What a great garden to spend some time in.

I have only two concerns as I sit here.  First, a gardener might happen by and see me.  Not good.  Second, being so near the fountain, I still hear the constant flow of water, which may start to annoy me.  But at least I don’t have a drinking problem.


2 Responses to “A Drinking Problem”

  1. Brian Bremenstul

    Today, 9 August, I was leaving the main parking lot and spotted a large bird fly to and land on a branch in the trees north of the lot. I was able to walk right up to it before it took off. It was a large..I mean large, golden eagle. When it opened its wings to leave because it was getting nervous, it had white under the wings and inside its tail, but no white visible when not in flight. This had to be a 30 – 50 lb. bird. I can’t see where golden eagles are ever mentioned at Botanical Gardens; only the perennial mating bald eagles. Is this a regular resident and was this a juvenile? Thanks

  2. Dandy

    According to our raptor expert Reese Lukei, you most likely saw one of the juvenile bald eagles (no white head) – most likely “Azalea” the eagle that has been fitted with a satellite transmitter. The juveniles do not have the traditional coloring of an adult.

    Golden eagles are a rare sighting in the Tidewater region and then only in winter. Also, according to our expert, there are no 30-50 pound birds in North America – that is ostrich size.