The first time I encountered Tiger Eyes Sumac at the Montreal Botanical Garden, it was love at first sight. They had two specimens pruned into small trees. Gorgeous! That fall, I purchased several for my own garden. This summer is their second full season here. Sumacs are generally unruly, invasive plants and there are mixed reports on how aggressive Tiger Eyes (Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’ Tiger Eyes®) may be. I’m keeping an eye out for any tendency to take over the garden. At the moment, everything is under control and I have derived a lot of pleasure from its presence in the border.
This spring, one of my projects was to develop a red and gold theme (extending to burgundy and yellow) around the sumac. A beautiful backdrop of mature bright yellow hostas, mostly August Moon, was already in place. There is also a little Japanese Maple, Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’ in this section of the border. Japanese maples are borderline hardy for this zone (Zone 5 Canadian, 4 USDA), so its longterm survival is in some doubt. However, it survived its first winter here, albeit with a bit of dieback.
In front of the hostas, I added a line of small barberry bushes (Berberis thunbergii ‘Gentry’). The dark burgundy leaves contrast nicely with the yellow hostas.
This is the second summer for these Japanese Forest Grass clumps (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’) and they are beginning to fill in.
I chose this penstemon (Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’) for its dark burgundy-flushed foliage rather than its stalks of pink flowers, which are an added bonus.
I love this Japanese Blood Grass (Imperatata cylindrica ‘Rubra’). I have some doubt about its hardiness. It is new this year, so this winter will be its first test. Pretty, though, isn’t it?
Here’s Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, also new this year. The flowers are exquisite.
I divided a single clump of the daylily Vesuvian (Hemerocallis ‘Vesuvian’) this spring, and both divisions have bloomed as if they were never disturbed. It’s a gorgeous, velvety deep red daylily that performs well.
This Persicaria virginiana ‘Painter’s Palette’ was a gift from my daughter Fiddlegirl’s garden last summer. It struggled back this spring and has grown moderately. It’s colourful leaves are very striking and I hope it strengthens its toehold in the garden.
I discovered this golden St. John’s Wort variety (Hypericum calycinum ‘Brigadoon’) at a local nursery this spring and was totally wowed by its brilliant foliage, which absolutely glows on a dull day. I got enough plants to try it in several locations in the garden.
One of the most difficult challenges of gardening is estimating how much space to leave individual plants such that everything will fill in nicely as the plants mature. This year, I filled in empty ground with annual red begonias and impatiens. I hope this bed will be fuller next summer. Then maybe I’ll have a year or two before the sumac runs rampant and the shrubs grow twice as big as expected and the perennials need dividing…