Aug 30, 2012 #34
A GARDENER’S NOTEBOOK
by Lee Reich
I killed Miss Kim. Sure, she was pretty enough, with lilac purple flowers late each spring. In fact, she is . . . I mean “was” . . . a lilac, although she was Syringa patula, a different species from the common lilac (S. vulgaris).
The very reason that I had planted Miss Kim was because she was different. She would blossom later than the common lilac, extending the season when lilac blossoms and their fragrance could be enjoyed. Later in summer, her leaves were never to be marred by the powdery, white coating — powdery mildew disease — that mars the leaves of common lilacs. And her expected stature, no more than 6 feet high, would be fitting for the bed of perennial flowers that she would call home.
A recent visit to the garden of Margaret Roach (http://awaytogarden.com/) inspired me to makeover a flower bed. Margaret’s garden is all ornamental, a sometimes lively, sometimes subdued interplay of plant shapes with leaf textures and spots of color. My garden is mostly for eating, although I balance that functionality with rustic arbors, shrubbery (some of it edible and ornamental), and interplay of sight lines. And I do have a couple of flower beds.
My flower bed 10 years ago.
Looking at photos of one of my beds from years past highlighted for me just how much in need it was for a makeover.
The attack began on ‘Miss Kim’ lilac. She was supposed to be a dwarf lilac (a different species, Syringa patula, than the common lilac, S. vulgaris), and I suppose she is a dwarf, comparatively speaking. But she’d …