One by one, the Big Bugs are being installed for their debut this weekend and the Daddy Longlegs caught my camera's eye for a photograph. I noticed the resident mockingbird has already made its left leg its song perch (do you see his silhouette with the fountain behind?). When I looked at this image, I noticed how wonderfully green the scene was. The intense sun of this season (less than a month until the summer solstice!) is apparent as I took these images close to mid-day.
The steps down to the Fountain Garden are lined with color: blue-flowering Walker's Low Catmint, but gold foliage crowns the end of the view: Golden Spirit Smokebush (Cotinus coggygria 'Ancot'). In this season of intense sun and peak of verdant, lush foliage -- golden plants really add some sparkle and warm contrast in the landscape.
Carefree Sunshine Roses splash a bit of light golden yellow flowers around the Fountain Garden. You know this is a disease resistant rose when it has perfectly clean foliage all year and receives regular mist from the fountain too!
On the east periphery of the Fountain Garden, Magic Carpet Spirea (Spiraea japonica 'Magic Carpet') is the centerpiece of this image: its gold foliage adorned with pink flowers. Gold Thread (foreground right) and Vintage Gold (back left) are two cultivars of evergreen with golden foliage in the scene too -- both are cultivars of Sawara False Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Filifera'). The wonderful rose to the left is Blush Knockout Rose, which never seems to get tiresome like its sister cultivars.
Yes, there are even gold leaved trees -- if you walk to the northeast of the Fountain Garden you will see the beginnings of one of the best: Golden Southern Catalpa (Catalpa bignonoides 'Aurea') which someday will reach 50 feet and have marvelous white flowers in early summer. The large leaves create a coarse, tropical texture in the landscape.
Like a beacon northeast of the Visitor Center, perhaps the largest of all gold-leaved plants is the Gold Rush Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Ogon'). One day this tree may be close to 100 feet tall! What a beacon in the landscape already with shocking Diabolo Ninebark to its side. The fine-textured needles are a very sharp contrast to many broad-leaved trees.
This sprawly gold leaved shrub is Dream Catcher Beauty Bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis 'Maradco'). We were about to throw this shrub away but as it has established itself I have forgiven its initial bad looks as a youngster and now wait for it to bloom. Give this shrub time to establish itself -- the wall behind it protects it from the hottest rays of the afternoon sun which can scorch its golden leaves.