Established gardens have a secret gardeners don't learn until they've spent many seasons watching them and caring for them: the group planting graciously indulges one or two species to rule the garden for a season, and those rights change every year, allowing all the plants the opportunity to shine.

Perennial borders are collective entities, in which the plants thrive together, as opposed to individually, and they look different from one year to the next because you are looking at different blooming species.

I don't know why that happens, whether it's the weather that favors one species one year and another the next, or the fierce underground competition the plants engage in, one us humans are oblivious to, or the ruling species spends all its energy on a brilliant season of bloom and needs to replenish it the following year, yielding the stage to other perennials, but it happens reliably, so at the beginning of the season I make a game out of trying to guess which plant will be queen of the season.

I can already tell the toad lilies will be glorious this fall, even though last year they perished to the ground and I almost gave them up for dead (that's another phenomenon, the miracle of the 'dead' coming back to life, never underestimate the obstinacy of a living root.)

The beardtongue, which underperformed last year, is covered in flowers as we speak, and there is a large clump of Maltese Cross where a single fledgling sprout used to be.
The geum disappeared. Not permanently, I hope.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight"; "A Year and A Day"; "Möbius' Code"; "Between Mirrors"; "The Blue Rose Manuscript"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: and, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.