Leopards and Tigers in my yard

brown ink fountain pen, watercolor, white gel pen in beige toned Nova sketchbook

A neighbor told me about the ice storm a few years ago that felled a lot of trees on the block, including one out front by the mailboxes. The loss of a shade tree helped to clarify something I haven’t understood, namely, why anyone would plant shade loving plants in an unprotected sunny area.

But there they are, hydrangeas and hostas, well established and flourishing in the spring, until the first week of 80-90 degree heat like we’ve been having. The large leaves droop and then crisp. 

Chief among them is the Leopard plant, a shade plant, large bush-sized with leaves about 1-2ft across. Right now it’s blooming with those yellow orange clusters, impervious to the heat.  I just had to sketch them and ponder their imperviousness, which is far superior to my own in the hot hot weather.

And Tigers, you ask? Well I’ve got some of those as well now, though I haven’t had time yet to train my paintbrush on them.

I’m discovering that so many of these plants, in the garden that I did not plant, are far-eastern varieties, from Japan and China. Exotic, in other words. This one doesn’t seem to mind the sun, and happily is not also tasty to the deer who regularly graze here.

And then there’s the vegetable garden, which I did plant this summer, and have been struggling to understand and learn by. This picture say a great deal about that learning part. The cabbages are a great success. This one weighed in at 3 lbs! Meanwhile the zucchinis are stunted. Weren’t they they ones people said, don’t plant too many, you won’t be able to eat them all!? The beans are beautiful but I didn’t plant enough. And the beets will be good, but soon we’ll have eaten them up and they’re gone!

But back to dahlias. . .has there ever been a gaudier flower? And these I had nothing to do with. Planted before I arrived. And a bit difficult to arrange in a vase. Each one seems to want to take over and steal the show. So I decided on the second best thing. . .a floor arrangement.

And the third best thing, hiding behind a lavender dahlia, stealing her beauty!


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