Dance of the red maple

The plants ordered online arrived yesterday (see the list in my previous post : here), and of course, I had to rush on my garden fork, spade, and almost empy bag of compost. I planted everything, except the Hosta June, because I couldn’t face the possibility of slug and snail damage on its pale green painted-looking leaves which seem to glow in a strange and fascinating way. That one I left it in its pot, hoping a band of copper tape would do the trick.

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Then, I had a look. Hum. Well. Even if I didn’t necessarily want to follow to the letter the “stick to a colour scheme” advice, it proved a bit difficult to overlook the uncomfortable clash between the red Shaina maple and the dark pink flowers of Astilbe Rheinland (what a beautiful name, by the way – reminds me of slow walks along the Rhine in Bad Godesberg, where the light mist carried memories of poems by Heine, as well as the dangerous miasma which would give us colds after colds. How much more alive, and seducing, and treacherous the Rhine was, there in Bad Godesberg, than in those places near Strasbourg where my uncle used to take us for a walk in the summers of my childhood ! ).

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So : dark pink feathers (astilbe) / intense red leaves (maple) / shiny metallic purple balls (alliums). Not even mentioning the pink and rose “girly” dianthus and the red roses about to open, with the yellow lupin and yellow potentilla on the sides.  I felt deeply discouraged. I dreamt about it. Massive anticlimax.

So, today, well, I cheerfully vandalised the red maple by moving it several times. Moved a hydrangea to some random other place, put the red maple in its place, and planted the beloved fullmoon maple in the middle, where I had intended it to be since I first saw it and fell in love with its luminous leaves. Then, I pulled out the ugly tulips leaves, and ahhh, felt much better. The pink astilbe feathers and the metallic globes of the alliums don’t look bad on each side of the lamp-like Acer Shirasawanum.

I had another look. The red maple was now really near the fence where a new little Clematis Montana has received the mission to cover the branches of the disgusting fat-leaved ivy (after the aphids and the molluscs, the most hated creature in the garden). It needed to come out a little, and so it did.

By then, the two maples were too close. (Roi des démons, tu me poursuis !). They both are slow growing varieties, but still, everybody needs a bit of space. So up came the poor Shaina again, only to be moved a few centimetres away. I pray that it forgives me.

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The whole composition is far from perfect, but it is not ugly and I can live with it. Oh how I wish I was like my artist friend Marie, or my master glazier sister-in-law, gifted with the ability to know at first glance where each thing should live !

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