The rise of the fall garden
There is no lack of ingenuity in the planning of Jody Bodnar's garden, which holds interest throughout the seasons. The true test of Jody's success—and a testament to his talent—is in fall, a season when the prime of many gardens has long passed.
Behind corridors of evergreens, plant combinations of shrubs, perennials and annuals provide an ever-changing tapestry of texture and colour. In the fall garden, purple-red leaves of the self-seeding annual kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate (Persicaria orientale syn. Polygonum orientale, shown at left) trap yellow maple leaves as they drop, while pillows of silver-grey lambs' ears collect the burgundy leaves of the burning bush. "[Kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate] was a very common plant in the old days," says Jody, who recalls seeing it in his grandparents' garden all the time. (His plant came from his uncle's garden.) "But [nowadays] it's underutilized completely."
Meanwhile, the native perennial pokeweed (Phytolacca americana, top image), "a weedy sort of thing," according to Jody, offers beautiful fall colour with fuchsia-red stems, green leaves and green berries that turn dark purple.
Makes no amends
Except for bark around the bases of some shrubs, Jody Bodnar uses very little mulch in his gardens, hoeing weeds daily by hand. The sandy soil also receives very little amendment. "If you amend, you have to amend so much to make a difference. With so many gardens, I couldn't begin to." Only container plantings are given a helping hand with a watering can and soluble fertilizer.