After a time, a garden begins to take on a life of its own, with plants arranging themselves, finding places suitable for their growth and getting there via seed or vegetative growth. In the photo below, Asarum caudatum has seeded into the gravel at the base of the central raised planter, from which the weeping, almost vine-like branches of a red laceleaf Japanese maple cascade. To the left, Carex comans has also volunteered. Filling in around both, lime thyme has grown in from the surrounding area on either side. This is an entirely serendipitous vignette, forming naturally without human intervention.
Fast forward to September. I could have sworn I had a shot similar to this with the Crocosmia 'Lucifer' in bloom. I must have been too busy watering and just thought about taking the shot. This is obviously a wider view, and shot from further to the left compared to the first picture. You can still see some of the thyme, but the carex has grown a bit to cover it more.
Another month passes and we're in late October. The maple is beginning to change from burgundy to red, the seed pods of the crocosmia have deepened to a dark brown and the foliage is taking on yellow tones, and rain has saturated all the colors. The carex has grown to almost completely cover the thyme beneath it, but this photo also shows a wider view of the small dry creek bed, with two hummocks of lime thyme in view.
And finally, in November, just a few days ago the view has changed again, and not just the framing and angle. The crocosmia has entirely (well, hopefully at least 99%) removed from the bed, and the patch that previously occupied the space on the left side of the photo below has been replaced with one of the Molinia caerulea 'Variegata' that was growing nearby. The recent wind and rain made a brief show of the maple leaves, now mostly scattered under and around the bare branches, falling down onto the thyme and carex, and almost covering the Asarum caudatum. But now you can see through the branches of the maple to the carpet of asarum underneath, peaking out from under the fallen leaves, the source of the volunteers that have appeared below and in the shade of other plants throughout this bed.
I love watching gardens change as the seasons, and the years, go by. Change, often beyond the gardener's control, is what separates gardening from other art forms. Plants grow, reseed, die, reappear, and the composition is altered. Gardeners move and remove plants, bring in new ones, prune, redesign beds, and the garden changes in ways both expected and unanticipated. Landscape paintings can be finished. A garden is never done.
I've made various allusions all summer to my intentions to overhaul the driveway island, from whence (yes, whence) the above scenes were taken. While I have just finished the main overhaul, the bed will never be "completed" as I will continue to make small adjustments depending on how the new plants grow (or die), random bouts of inspiration that cause me to move plants into better arrangements, and new dynamics formed among the plants themselves. Before anyone asks, I will of course be posting pictures of the new bed. In fact, I'll be doing a whole series on the evolution of this bed, as it was also my high school culminating project and I have plenty of documentation. I'll try not to bore you with it before the end. Happy gardening!