Monday, September 22, 2014

White in the Window

Nice September weather, barely 70 with a breeze and some sun. After the nice rain, the ground is soft and workable. I have been removing sod in a project to expand some of the beds. It's so easy when the ground is damp.

I also cleaned up -- took out the too-big pink zinnias in the Birch garden, removed spent basil and parsley, weeded, added mulch to bare areas.

The white Rose of Sharon outside the dining room window keeps stopping me in my tracks. For years I fussed that it would never get tall enough to reach the bottom of the window and be seen from inside. It grew wide and bushy and spread out.

I'd peer out the window to see a few blooms teasing me at the bottom of the window frame. I had to crane to see them.

But now it is large enough to fill the window and be seen everywhere in the house.

I can't photograph how clear white and attention grabbing it is. The camera won't pick up the deep blues and dark wood of the inside at the same time as the pure white flowers sparkling in the sunshine outside. The lens washes out the flowers as it tries to light the interior and I don't have the skill to make it see both.

Here the dining room is flooded in sunlight and the window is bathed in white chiffon flowers, but the camera is awash in confusion.

In reality the flowers seem to come inside, shimmering more so when the sky is cloudy and the inside of the house is gloomy. It frustrates me that I can't show how glorious it looks!

The white blooms fill the porch window too. The hummingbirds adore this plant and hover in and out of all the blossoms drinking their fill. It surprises me that they go for white flowers or for Rose of Sharon at all, but they do.

This cultivar is 'White Chiffon'. It was advertised to be sterile, but I find little seedlings nearby and, as with all Hibiscus syriacus, the unwanted seedlings are really tough (impossible) to pull up.

I am concerned about it this year. Although the flowers are spectacular seen framed in the windows, the plant is stressed. The dry summer has left it with skimpy foliage and an open, see-through form.

It also tends to be wide and spreading. My attempts at pruning the sides off for more of an upright vase shape seem to have backfired, and the plant is spreading out even more.

It had such a promising shape when first planted. Here it was in 2009 looking quite upright.

In 2011 I could still barely see any flowers through the window. What a tease it was to catch only a few blooms in the bottom corner.

Now white flowers fill the window, shine into the whole house and please me every time I see it from inside. From the outside, though, its condition this summer and its generally wide floppy form have me concerned.

I think I'll try a severe pruning this winter and take out a third of the branches for shape and rejuvenation.

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