By the time August arrives here in the south the fresh-faced blooms of early summer are gone.
Hydrangea blossoms begin to look like old lace and daylily scapes turn to disposable, dried-up stalks (unless a gardener refuses to deprive dragonflies of loafing pinnacles).
The landscape takes on a different look. Bold crepe myrtles hang over lawns and lanes. Lanky green-eyed coneflowers sway in light breezes. Ginger lily flashes white beacon-flowers with heady scent. Canna blooms on and on, taller and taller.
But then heavy rains blast them all. Crepe myrtle detritus litters paths, and ginger lily and coneflowers lay about, too beat down to stand up tall in the heat.
Now is the time for me to become a time traveler. I turn the clock back to early summer. It’s easy. No hocus pocus. I hop a plane and go north to watch a brilliant summer come to life in New Hampshire, where, incidentally, I can enjoy clear skies, low humidity, and cool nights.
My destination is daughter Susan’s garden. It’s quintessential New England: white picket fence and arbor set off by storm-blue clapboard siding on a two-story colonial with farmer’s porch.
There’s a cottage garden with lovely peonies whose blooms in June number in the dozens on each bush.
There’s a Japanese red maple unfurled over Solomon’s seal and trillium and epimedium.
There’s a shade garden and a long mixed border of shrubs, small trees and perennials across the back.
And climbing the hill beyond, enclosing it all, is a forest of tall oaks where the deer and the chipmunks play.
I have yet to mention the summer show. It’s fresh and flamboyant, a pastiche of phlox, rudbeckia, red hot poker, pristine white bobo hydrangea, blue salvia and daylilies, daylilies, daylilies, and more that I can’t remember. A delight to wander in and occasionally pull a weed or two — if I can find any in the luscious growth.
I thought it was about time for me to share my joy at visiting, so here are some more pictures. This truly is my favorite summer garden, and I can say that without being even remotely biased.