Plenty of fine garden plants have Dutch breeding in their history; the hypnotica series of dahlias is no exception. I happen to be a fan of dahlias. I haven’t the patience for the giant varieties, even though their flowers are breathtaking. The big dahlias-the subject of another essay. I like the smaller growing dahlia plants that bloom profusely. I have made a point this annual planting season to try the University series. Serrated dark foliage is topped with lots of purple or pink cactus form blooms some 4″ across. They are blooming profusely right now-a month ahead of the big and tall girl dahlias. When I saw a bench of hypnotica lavender dahlias-so short, and so profusely blooming, I could not take my eyes off that color. How would you describe it? Light red/violet? Another new introduction, whispers petunia, has that same riveting and unforgettable color. The hypnotica dahilas have become a part of my plant vocabulary. I had a project in need of an inspiration of some sort. The color of this dahlia looked so great, paired with whisper petunias.
A client for whom I usually plant a green and white summer garden shifted gears this year. He was interested in some color; that color, my choice. His exact words? Color this year, please. Riotous, or subtle-your choice. The moment I got that email, I was wringing my hands. What would I do? This went on for weeks-that uncertainty. The hypnotica lavender dahlias (my client is a fan and skilled grower of exhibition dahlias) rescued me. The moment I laid eyes on them, I was off and running.
These Dutch bred dahlias growing to 18-22 inches tall would organize an entire planting. I paired that color with grey-do not ask me where that idea came from. It just seemed like a good idea for a client who usually requests green and white. Grey and pale red violet-does this not sound good? The result-both subtle and striking.
The window boxes feature cardoons as a centerpiece. The silver grey accompaniment-French lavender, curry plant, and silver dichondra. A dash of white via some white supertunias, -and a really pale red/violet and white bicolor Lanai trailing verbena known as lavender star-we have an idea taking shape here.
The rear yard is small, but its impact is very big. Beautiful stone pillars and a gorgeous stone wall-what a gift to have landscape features of this caliber to work with. I had a mind to keep with green and white scheme, but introduce some purple to the mix.
A steel Hudson box beyond the fountain-I went way out there. I filled the box with bark 2/3rds of the way up from the bottom. I lined the top third of the container with a heavy duty black plastic garbage bag. I filled the top third of the container with water, and stuffed it with white callas, a water canna, a few papyrus-and some floating water hyacinths to finish. This container is looking really good. Stopping up the drainage in a container in a very low tech way-this was my first try at a container water garden without a lot of hoopla. I love the idea, the look, and the result.
The rear bluestone terrace is a cool and shady haven and a place to gather. The Richard Schultz furniture is decidedly modern-the landscape and containers are a mix of thoughts and interests both modern and traditional. There is a lot of color going on here, no matter the shade. There are a lot of ideas going on here-I would call this garden lively-first and foremost.
There are a lot of pots on the rear terrace. Some have cone shaped boxwood. One has a beautiful large leaf begonia. One is stuffed with ferns. Another is filled entirely with Kong green coleus. Another features white caladiums. Yet another-a dialogue about white, black, and green. There are a lot of containers on this terrace-there is ever so much more lively conversation.
I worried myself half crazy about this particular summer planting. Today, I am so pleased about what turned up and out. Funny how one great plant can organize an entire summer garden. Hypnotica dahlias- check them out.