How Does Your Garden Show: At Night

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The other evening I wanted to send a friend in New York shots of our garden, which she’s known 40 years. The hour was late, but I gave it a try.

The garden at night is forgiving; weeds blend with other vegetation. Something about it reminds me of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.  I expect a critter or two to appear. Birds chitter on their way to bed.

These days our garden iswilder than in my mother’s day. I’ve let plants she reserved for our playhouse garden slip their way into the main the garden: feverfew, larkspur, lysimachia and white violets. Some outlying beds are wilder too, thanks to a “darling” white-flowered plant she found in Leesburg and brought to the playhouse area. This invasive Houttuynia jumped that garden long ago and keeps popping up under flagstones, creeping closer every year to the “formal” garden.

Laid out in the 1920’s, the main garden has a small, circular bed at center with flagstone paths radiating out to form a quadrant of geometric beds.


Once bordered by ancient billowy boxwoods, the pairs at each entrance, the garden is far less formal since the boxwoods became diseased. We’ve removed almost 20. As do all white plants, replacement pink-to-white rhododendrons at the back show at night. We’ve added our own geometry at the front corner with a ‘Green Mountain’ boxwood we hope is hardy.

Roses, numbering close to 100 in my mother’s prime, have dwindled to under a dozen. Still, the hardy ‘Pink Radiance’ shines where it always has.

Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet’ finally reappeared after being yanked several years ago by an enthusiastic helper. The bees have found it. I hope the hummingbirds will soon. It’s a relative of the nearby invasive spearmint my mother allowed near her ‘Queen Elizabeth’ roses.


In our night garden the Monarda glows, as do taillights from cars along the “borrowed view,” Cold Spring Lane.

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