I've been less than enthused about my garden for the past several months for various reasons, some too tedious to go into and some obvious, like the heat that's continued — as I know it will every year and yet still begrudge — into October.
Much of the garden just looks tired, not unusual for this time of year, and the rest looks unkempt or worse. Then there are those parts I'm just tired of: plants that failed in some way to earn their keep or outgrew their spaces, plants I've failed to take care of and whose unattractive state only reminds me of work undone. I had gotten to a point where all I noticed were the problems (that and the spider webs).
Then an offhand comment made me look at the garden with fresh eyes.
A friend was visiting and walked out into the upstairs garden. She looked around for a minute and, just as I was about to open my mouth to make excuses for the sorry state of things, she said, "Oh, your garden looks so lovely." I resisted the automatic denial that is always so easy for me and, after she left, came out and looked around again. I still saw the problems but I also saw things I liked.
This area by the upstairs porch is, despite the problems I also see (but about which I'll keep my mouth shut for now), the bit that caught my eye that day. Not a lot blooming (you can't see the sparks of blue from the sporadically blooming salvia guaranitica in the picture) but I like the forms of the succulents contrasting with each other and with the leafier plants behind. And the fading blooms of the salvia leucantha in the background are still worth looking at, even as the plant sprawls every which way.
And a couple of days later I stopped to look at the far back bed, which from a distance is a tangle of overgrown and underwatered plants. Up close though I saw a combination of colors and textures that I hadn't noticed from a distance: the yellow tubular shapes of the tecoma stans and the smaller orange trumpets of hamelia patens, intertwined with the vivid aubergine straps of purple heart.
When I went to download these images I noticed this picture of pavonia flowers (and that sweetly pillowed bud, or is that a flower just closing up for the day?) that I took a month or so ago but never found a reason to post. The pavonia has stopped blooming for this year but maybe I'll remember to look more closely when it starts blooming again next spring.