IT REMINDS ME OF THAT SIMON AND GARFUNKEL SONG, “At the Zoo.” In early June, it’s all happening at the zoo I call a garden, a place full of plants that seem to want to act up and act out, one after another: Kousa dogwoods, peonies, roses, mock orange, Chionanthus, the next wave of alliums and more.
The song goes on to describe one animal after another: The monkeys stand for honesty, Giraffes are insincere… Here’s it’s more like this (do forgive the lack of meter and rhyme):
- Peonies are everyone’s darling, except when they refuse to bloom.
- Kousa dogwoods like to grandstand, and not just in the spring.
- Allium moly’s a prolific charmer—perhaps too prolific for some zoos.
- Dame’s rocket is likewise controversial: alien invader, or biennial border beauty?
- Honeysuckles attract hummingbirds (with the occasional side of aphids, but I forgive them).
- Speaking of climbers, darling Clematis clamber for attention, happy to romp over anything in their path.
- Mock orange grabs you by the nose and won’t let go (the gold-leaf Philadelphus grabs the eye, too).
- Rosa glauca is a blue-leaved star, my desert-island choice if only one rose were allowed.
- Primula japonica moves about as it likes, refusing to stay where I put it.
- Groundcover sedums are positively electric at the moment, and never ask for anything.
- Chionanthus is called the fringe tree, and for good reason; what fringe-y flowers!
- Viburnum ‘Michael Dodge’ flowers now, too, but it’s his later act we love him for.
So please, don’t look at the faded lilacs here waiting to be deadheaded, or the early perennials in need of a haircut. Look elsewhere right now, at the better-dressed members of my botanical zoo (profiled in all the green links in the list above).