August weather can be a challenge—it’s too hot, humid—and rain is not dependable. Needless to say, who wants to drag a hose around everyday sometimes morning and evenings too. So don’t despair, I am including some perennials that can stand up to some pretty difficult conditions and still make your garden seem alive and thriving. Late Summer perennials have bold and intense colorings that will provide a nice infusion of energy into your garden. (Click on the photos below for more details.)
Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that reflects the very core of Zen philosophy. Age, imperfection and impermanence are the underlying qualities inherent in Wabi-Sabi. This cultivated and refined approach in all art forms suggests the sublime transient beauty in all living things.
It is a significant concept in Japanese culture, and one that can be appreciated in many art forms such as pottery, painting, as well as gardening.
In applying this concept to gardens, it is important to honor and respect what is inherent in the natural, unaltered landscape. Nature is abundant with random imperfections. An ancient tree, enduring years of turbulent weather appears sadly leaning while the roots remain surprisingly anchored to the earth. Random patterns of wild plants echo the innate flow and of nature; this is certainly apparent in the abundance of the often disdained “invasive plants.” Applying the simple principles of a Asian inspired garden provides a place for contemplation, calmness and simplicity.
What remains is the very essence of the pure, natural world—its imperfections and inherent flaws remain constant; it is the acceptance of such flaws that opens us up to the raw, unaltered beauty of nature.
“Wabi-sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in earthiness, of revering authenticity above all.” — Robyn Griggs Lawrence, author, The Wabi Sabi House Finding Beauty in Imperfection
Multi-layered use of many varied evergreens — creates an intimate and private garden in an otherwise open suburban landscape
A tightly pruned yew hedge creates the walls in this autumn garden defining a nice sense of enclosure
Elegant Chamaecyparis trees delineate the property line and look their best in the Winter covered with snow and ice
Contrasting, colorful evergreens add year round interest, volume and depth to the home landscape
A massive Alaskan weeping cedar is well placed against the end of this house — it also provides nice screening from the other houses in the busy neighborhood
Replacement Cherry Laurels are fuller and taller which provides good screening and privacy for this home
Delineating a property line is important to both the homeowner as well as your neighbor; this hemlock hedge is a more appealing way of defining a border than a fence
A low growing hedge of Ilex crenata defines the driveway, but does not provide sufficient screening from a busy road
Abies pinsapo ‘Glauca’-a unique form of spruce that adds a lot of interest to an evergreen collection
Picea orientalis ‘Skylands’ — a slow growing golden colored spruce
Pinus flexilis ‘Extra Blue’ — -Vivid blue needled pine — beautiful contrast with golden evergreens
Magically dusted with frost — spiny bluish-green leaves — yellow flowers in early spring
Early spring growth depicts different varieties of boxwood that gives this garden an interesting tapestry look
A narrow passageway is enhanced with an upright thin boxwood that is anchored by a contrasting yellow-toned coralbells — making this entrance more interesting and appealing
A multicolored evergreen hedge delineates a property line creating a lovely backdrop for a grassy play area
We all know that evergreens provide year-round color and consistency in our gardens, but it is vital to remember they also provide a strong sense of order that lends permanence and stability to the overall landscape. In Winter, when the trees become barren and the perennial borders are totally devoid of color, it’s the broadleaf and needled evergreens that provide the visual interest that we all crave during the long months of Winter.
I like to think of evergreens as the real bones that form the overall character and backdrop of a beautiful home landscape. They are always formidable — remaining the constant sentinels of the garden. A well thought out landscape using evergreens can provide the initial structure for an inviting outdoor room that can be further embellished with flowering shrubs and perennials.
For this reason, evergreens as well as significant deciduous trees need to be the first considerations when planning a new landscape.
Not only do they add stability and balance, but their solidity unifies and provides an underlying structure that makes the garden come alive — holding the eye throughout the entire year.