Elephant ears and the gift of summer

Here's an easy idea for a cool summer landscape - green and white caladium or elephant ears and feathery yellow corydalis. This lovely combination was put together by a friend who has a back yard ringed by mature trees. Like me, he finds shade gardening even more interesting than the choices available for sun. He stores his caladium corms in the basement come fall, replanting in the spring. Every year his landscape changes, but caladiums are often part of the new year's design.

It's not completely accurate to call caladiums elephant ears; that moniker is more suited to colacasia. But in common parlance, that's what we call them all. They do look like ears, almost translucent ones, and they thrive in partial shade. Interestingly, they often do OK in sun, especially the newer varieties. But shade really brings out the brightness of the reds, pinks, greens and whites.

This is a simple look, one that refreshes on a hot, humid evening. With good friends, great food from the garden ... it's all about the gift of summer.