My back garden is composed of three separate flower beds: the deck border, the blue and yellow border, and the fence border. These flower beds create a unified whole, but each also has its own distinct character. I often think of them as like an ensemble acting troupe. This is not a garden in which one flower bed is the star or focal point and the others are supporting players; rather, each is in the starring role at some points in the season and in a supporting role at other times.
Well, to be honest, the blue and yellow border may hog the spotlight a bit more than the other players in this ensemble. It is the largest flower bed of the three, and its big, bold blooms and contrasting colors demand attention. But in early July, when the iris display of June has ended and the daylily, delphinium, coreopsis and heliopsis blooms of high summer are just tentatively opening their first flowers, the deck border takes its star turn.
The deck border has a much quieter kind of beauty than either the blue and yellow border or the fence border. It was designed primarily as a shade garden, with an emphasis on layers of foliage in different colors, sizes, and textures. And while it also has lots of flowers, those flowers have a quiet analogous color scheme in soft pastels of pink, lavender and white.
But this quiet floral display wows me at this time of year. The deck border steps forward into the spotlight when masses of deep pink flowers appear on Spirea japonica ‘Magic Carpet’. As these fade to a softer mauve, varieties of Astilbe begin to bloom – white ‘Bridal Veil,’ mauve ‘Cattleya,’ pale pink ‘Betsy Cuperus,’ and salmon pink ‘Ostrich Plume.’ These join the clear pink flowers of Geranium x oxonianum and the deep pink and white of Tradescantia ‘Pink Chablis’. Above it all float the airy plumes of Aruncus dioicus (goatsbeard).
The deck border will continue to flower through the summer and into the fall, with later blooming astilbes, several varieties of pink daylilies (Hemerocallis), pale pink balloon flowers (Platycodon grandiflorus), and Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy.’ Once the daylily display begins in earnest, however, the eye will be more often drawn to the more dramatic blooms of the blue and yellow border and the fence border, and the deck border will step back into a lush but less flamboyant supporting role.