Welcome Changes in the Garden

I recently took A Walk in the Garden and noticed several welcome changes…and a few surprises. Let me share a few.

IMG_1448Clematis ‘Comptesse de Bouchard’ has taken quite a beating over the summer with the scorching full sun that bears down on the south side of the house. My Arranger had suggested that all the brown leaves just might mean it hadn’t made it, but lo and behold, there is new growth and buds and a very welcome flower. I did hand water a bit.




My crape myrtles have remained in bloom far longer this year than in previous ones. Why? I have no idea, but I like it. Large bloom clusters and heavy rains have weighed down many branches, but here is a pleasant surprise. Some of them, with almost horizontal branches because of the weight at the ends, are putting up new flower buds along the branch just as the first flush is fading. The result will be a continuation of crape myrtle color for another few weeks.


IMG_1449Pieris japonica ‘Red Mill’ has set buds for next year’s late winter blooms. While they aren’t flowers yet, they still add a delightful touch to the north side of the house. Who knows? They may even turn up in a vase on some odd Monday.





My Encore azaleas are full of buds and have started blooming throughout the garden. I expect to have quite a bit of color from them soon from white to various shades of pink.






IMG_1459Most of the hydrangeas have settled down for the year with blossoms fading and turning a less than friendly brown. ‘Endless Summer,’ however, is living up to its name and is putting out new growth with flower buds, some of which have started to open. If all the buds I see open, it should carry well into fall. The late blooming ‘Little Lime’ continues to do well.




IMG_1456This border seemed to be a bit quiet and to need something to perk it up. Last year I saw Ligustrum sinense ‘Sunshine’ at the Home and Garden Show and thought it might have a place in my garden. If fact, seven of them now have a place in my garden. ‘Sunshine’ has the wonderful characteristic of keeping its yellow foliage color throughout the heat of summer. I am pleased with the lift it has given this border.

Finally, readers may remember how much I like the chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) for its pale blue flowers. After it bloomed this year, I deadheaded the seed heads, at least those I could reach without falling off the ladder, an event against which I was vehemently warned by my Arranger. Now, just a few weeks later, the tree is covered with new growth and I can see flower buds forming. I anticipate having a full flush of blooms soon. In the photo below, the light green foliage is all new within a few weeks.


Soon, I guess, I will have to take another Walk in the Garden. I hope you will join me.

About johnvic8

John Viccellio retired after 24 years in the U. S. Navy and began to dig into gardening when he could finally land in one place. He completed the Master Gardener course in 1992 and has since designed and constructed two of his own gardens. He wrote a monthly garden column for ten years and was a regular contributor to Carolina Gardener magazine. John published his first book, Guess What's in My Garden!, in 2014. He lives in a retirement community in Matthews, NC.
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16 Responses to Welcome Changes in the Garden

  1. It is one of my favourite things to do, walking around the garden early in the morning, before the heat of the day here in SW France. I love to see what has changed overnight, often at this time of year I will stop at the vines and help myself to a pre-breakfast feast of fresh organic grapes. Our Crape Myrtles, or Lagerstroemia as we call them in Europe, have only just come into flower, they are later than usual. It has been such a strange year in the garden, a much cooler than normal spring and early summer saw many things struggle, then we had enormous heat and have had no rain since the end of June. It’s been very tough on the plants.


    • johnvic8 says:

      Early morning is, indeed, a wonderful time to catch up with a garden…just what happened over night. Thanks for sharing your experience…and keep those girls making cakes. Yummy.


  2. Vitex is a favorite of mine too. Great for bees and I love the way it smells.


  3. Suzanne Wilson says:

    The Plein Airies painters enjoyed our visit to your garden so much on Tuesday. Thank you for sharing your beautiful gardens with us again! A special day for all of us. We enjoyed meeting and talking with you and the ‘Arranger’😊🎨

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Prior-2001 says:

    wow – the sunshine really does add some beams of color – looks great – thanks for the garden walk – 😉


  5. annamadeit says:

    I totally fell for the ‘Sunshine’ Ligustrum too, when I spotted it at a garden show last year. I was so surprised when I learned what it was. Love the Chaste trees, too. SO wish I had room for one…


  6. Thank you for sharing your walk in the garden. My garden is a jungle, but a welcome one which has its own delights.


  7. bittster says:

    I’m gad to see your garden go from strength to strength this summer, it looks great. I’m sure you’ve been told many a time, but be careful on that ladder!


  8. Christina says:

    I was so disappointed when my Vitex agnus-castus flowered for the first time after planting last year because the longed for blue flowers were white and not even as large as on the examples I saw last year. Your garden is looking great.


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