Down by the Road at Dusk

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Brian Small, smelling rose blossom

A couple of evenings ago Brian and I went out for our usual after-dinner stroll around our garden. We enjoyed a dramatic sunset from the back yard and then ambled down by the road to see how the front yard was doing. Brian plucked one of the first rose blossoms from a bush by the back door and inhaled deeply of its fragrance as we walked. Since we don’t get much traffic, I asked him to stand in the middle of the road for this photo.

Knautia and Tradescantia

I’ll admit that we don’t pay nearly as much attention to our front garden as we do the one behind the house. But at least I’ve spent some time weeding down by the road this year. This bright red Knautia is among the plants we inherited when we moved in a few years ago. It’s trouble-free, blooms for a long time, the deer don’t seem to like it much, and it competes well with the Shasta daisies that dominate this bed later in the season.

'Purple Dome' Tradscantia

This clump of Tradescantia, which we think is a cultivar called ‘Purple Dome,’ also came with the house. It’s another hardy plant that I’ve rescued from the surrounding weeds and thugs. I’d intended to divide this clump and spread it out a bit, but never got around to it earlier this spring. Maybe next year.

Kousa Dogwood

The real show-stopped out front right now is this big Kousa dogwood, sometimes known as Korean dogwood. It blooms later in the season than our native dogwood or the commonly planted eastern North American native. Under our Kousa are a couple of small shrubs we’re trialing that I got from the trade show at the GardenComm symposium a year or two back. The small one on the left is ‘Firefly Nightglow’ Diervilla and the one with dark foliage and white flowers is ‘Tuxedo’ Weigela. Both are introductions from Bloomin’ Easy and are supposed to stay relatively small. So far we’re pleased with how they’re performing in our garden.

Kousa Dogwood

Our Kousa dogwood seems to put on a show like this every other year. In the off years there aren’t nearly as many blossoms. We’re not sure whether that’s due to differences in weather or if the tree just puts so much energy into blooming in the “good” years that it has to take a rest the next one. In any case, this year it’s putting on a spectacular show. Unfortunately, the blossoms aren’t fragrant.

With our long summer days, all of these photos were made after 9 p.m. The edge of night is one of my favorite times of day, even though I have to bundle up a bit to stay warm as the dew settles on the grass and the air cools down.

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