With all the rain this week, I floated down the Garden path to the Matson Garden. From here I have a good view of the Tropical Garden across the canal. The Matson Garden is a nice garden with a good mix of plants. It is also kind of quiet with the exception of one eaglet near the nest overhead, calling to mom for food. Most people are just passing through to somewhere else so I am bothered very little by them. It’s a shame they don’t really take the time in here that this place merits. There are some unique little gems and colorful plants worth seeing. But, I’m not going to tell you what they are; you have to find out yourself.
As I traveled here though, I passed the Border Garden. It is often a very showy place in the spring, so most people don’t think it will be as nice in the summer. They are just plain wrong. A walk down the path right now will reveal quite a few colorful shrubs and perennials. The dominant colors seem to be pink, lavender and purple. On these rainy days, they really stand out against the dark wet greens of the foliage.
Several annuals and perennials are planted regularly through the flower beds, creating a thread of color that pulls you nicely along the path. Two varieties of petunias – Lavender Skies and Opera Supreme Pink – form a running carpet along the border. Often planted nearby are spiky groups of Hummingbird sage – a white flower with a pink tongue on the tubular blossom. Large patches of purple phlox create grand punctuation marks along the way, catching your eye for a moment before you move on to the next interesting plant. Sprinkled liberally through the border are bold textured “Tropical Rose” cannas. Their rich pink color lives up to the name. Here and there are small, almost shy plantings of a short darkly colored dahlia called ‘Dalina Grande Colima.’ At the very end of the border is a nice planting of all of these flowers, poised as a farewell party waving at you as you leave. Or perhaps they are a greeting committee for those coming from the Matson Garden.
About three quarters of the way down the border is a plant that really stands out from all this pink. The Tiger Eyes Staghorn Sumac is a striking specimen in the border with deeply-dissected bright chartreuse leaves. On a rainy day like today, they practically glow against the rain-darkened background of the surrounding trees and shrubs. This cultivar is a dwarf form that only gets about six feet tall and does not sucker as much as the species does. It is often selected for its great fall color, but on a rainy summer day, it is hard to miss as well.
So I plan to sit here in peace on a stormy afternoon, enjoying all the bright colors that the rain brings out. As long as the gardeners don’t come around I’ll be just like my friends back there in the border garden – tickled pink.