Color and beauty is everywhere in the garden

Published 9:00 am Sunday, June 15, 2014

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Every morning, as I walk through the gardens, I realize just how much beauty there is in my gardens with color everywhere I look. Once the gardens start blooming, it is nonstop until the first hard freeze in the fall. Blue, yellow, pink, white, orange and purple are on the color palate this year and somehow they all seem to blend nicely together. Already my mind is finding places where I will be adding more perennials this fall for even more color in the gardens.

Hosta, armeria, viola and columbines bloom in front of munchkins in Lang’s oval garden. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Hosta, armeria, viola and columbines bloom in front of munchkins in Lang’s oval garden. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

While browsing through one of my gardening magazines, I saw a variegated plant that looked very much like a hosta until I looked closer at the foliage and saw the hairy leaves. The plant was listed as axminster gold comfrey, a Zone 3 to 9 perennial that will grow in full sun to partial shade and moist, fertile soil. I knew that I just had to add this beauty to my gardens and began searching all of my catalogs for it, and then online, with no success.

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Finally, I sent an email to the magazine, and it told me where I could find this plant. To make a long story short, I called a nursery and ordered two of them, and they arrived last week. I planted one in the front garden and the other in the back wildflower garden. Now I can hardly wait for them to start growing.

I have a favorite clay planter that stands about 36 inches tall, and it is always the feature of my oval garden. It was the last planter that I had to plant because I was not able to find dichondra silver falls, the spiller in this arrangement, anywhere and had to substitute bacopa instead.

Because I didn’t have a potting bench, I took one of the large Rubbermaid garbage cans and inverted the lid, and that is my potting bench where I sit the container as I plant.  Evidently it was just too much weight because the lid collapsed inside the garbage can and broke the container — sure glad no one was close to hear my comments.

So now this lovely planter holds a gazing ball on the stand and the largest broken piece is a toad house while the smaller pieces are used in planters to deter squirrels from digging in them. Life goes on, and I made use of the broken planter, so I now have a new look in the garden.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

The irises are in full bloom, along with the lemon lilies and my little yellow button flowers. The alliums are just beginning to open along the privacy fence but not in the front garden, the poppies are gorgeous and the lilacs heavenly to smell. Does it get any better than this?

Every time I see all of this beauty I am reminded that I am only the “keeper of the gardens,” and that the Lord has given me all of this beauty to enjoy and take care of. If you have driven by my gardens, you will find me on my hands and knees weeding out the self-seeders and transplanting some of the extra zinnias and planting them in open spaces. So if anyone is interested in getting some exercise I will gladly take help with this chore. It’s probably the task I dislike the most in gardening, but I wouldn’t want to give up some of these lovely plants that self-seed, like coreopsis, verbena bonariensis, balsam and annual poppies.

My newly planted bobo hydrangeas are forming flower buds, and I can hardly wait for them to bloom and add so much to this newly planted garden in the front yard. Did I mention that the expansion in the front garden is finally done, with the exception of mulching the area with the hydrangeas? I have one small area that will be planted this fall, as I decide what to add for summer color, and then the area will be totally finished.

“Flowers have spoken to me more that I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of the character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning.” — Lydia M. Child 


Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at