Of Time and the Garden

The garden never looks the same two days in a row much less two years in a row. Indeed, it

doesn’t look in the evening as it did in the morning. Most daylilies open each day and look

fresh throughout the daylight hours but exhausted by night; but there are some that would be

more correctly called night lilies—Hemerocallis citrina (syn. H. altissima) bloom at night and look

exhausted by morning. Either way, none of my daylily plants look the same two days in a row.

Rain lilies are in full bloom now and each morning the areas where they grow look different because most

forms and species have flowers that last only a day.

Photography by Ellie Meade

Photography by Ellie Meade

Zephyranthes smallii, a medium yellow

reblooming species, has flowers that stay open all

the night and the next day. Not only that, they

continue to produce new flowers throughout late

summer. The dianthus walk contains many clumps

of this species making that garden a cheerful early

morning welcome for several months.


Verbascum chaixii blooms from spring through

summer; however, it isn’t always at its best. In the

early morning listen the flowers glisten with dew

but by late afternoon, they droop from the heat

and by the next morning they have recovered their

glory. After they ripen their seeds, we cut the stalks

to the ground and have only a few weeks to wait

until they are back in bloom.


Often, we plant small trees,

such as styrax, which give us flowers in mid-spring,

only to discover in a few years that they have outgrown their allotted space and

after a brief display of flowers, we have dense shade and greedy roots, which

take up the moisture we had counted on for our summer display of annuals and

perennials. We remember that special spring when they were the right size for

their space. Daffodils, carefully planted and spaced, eventually grow into thick

clumps and no longer bloom. Rescuing daffodils is one of our favorite winter

tasks as we change this year’s plea for help

into a broad mass of recently divided bulbs and eventually a

spectacular display of flowers. Whether plants live or die, they present us with challenges, the most

delightful of which is a mass planting of a something, which came to our garden as a single specimen. The

worst of which is a mass of weeds, from an unexpected bully.

Montrose Garden