My Secret Garden - Participant# 109 || 2004 Contest

My Secret Garden
by Cathy Young (Santa Rosa, CA, USA)

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The delightful fragrance of root beer draws your attention to this graceful 7 foot tall Anaconda Lily.

My Secret Garden is just outside the large picture window in my living room. This area gets shade and frost in the winter, with blazing sun all summer long. For the 25 years I have lived here, it has been a challenge to find plants that will thrive in these conditions.

Last fall I planted 9 different varieties of Buddleias in this garden that is about 20 x 15 square feet. There are purples, pinks, blues, whites and yellows. They were quite happy all winter and grew well even though there wasn’t any direct sunlight. In the spring I realized they would grow tall and create a canopy for many plants that wanted filtered light for our hot 110 degree summer days! I was so excited. I went and got many Japanese Maples.

Purple buddleia sparkling in the early morning sunlight.

A field of Easter Lilies and Pink Asiatic Lilies in My Secret Garden that bloomed profusely for over six weeks.

When I told the grower what I was doing he let me have several very rare varieties that he usually does not sell. They are all so beautiful. I also got two native dogwoods, one is pink and one is white. They were young and I gently twirled them together so they will grow as one tree. They are doing very well. I found three sego palms that are happy growing together too.
My Secret Garden is also a perfect location for rhododendrons and azaleas. I have created some “mounds” of rhododendrons of 11 varieties. They look like one plant until the blossoms open, and then there is a wonderful display of flowers that are blending in prefect harmony. In between these plants I have a multitude of lilies that bloom throughout the spring and summer. I also have a wonderful collection of rare plants from around the world carefully nestled in the right spot for each of them. Some of these are Mexican Shell Flowers, Japanese Irises, Native Rhododendrons, Trilliums, Abutilons and Dendrobians.

Tigrida Pavonia, Mexican Shell Flower growing beautifully amongst the lacy Japanese Maples.

White Asiatic lilies with purple dendrobians, nestled in soft Japanese Maples.

I enjoy finding beautiful and unusual plants and selecting just the right place to put them so they will be happy and thrive just where they are. In My Secret Garden I have achieved this in just one season. It is so lush and beautiful. It is layered from the ground to the top of the buddleias which are at least 12 feet tall now. I have planted several varieties of ground covers; these include Irish Moss, Scottish Moss, Mazus Reptans ‘albus’, Violas, Marsh Marigolds, and Corsican Mint.
The Marsh Marigolds are under the eves of the roof and they thoroughly enjoy the downpour when we get a torrential rain! Near the center of the garden I have a circle of Corsican Mint for me to just lay in when I want to lay down and enjoy my garden. When I lay in this circle, I am surrounded by many varieties of lacy Japanese maples and pink and white lilies. I look up and see the lavender and pink buddleias and the clear blue sky. I could not ask for more.

A contented bee in an Easter Lily