Monday, June 02, 2014

(mostly) about perennials

Flowers are like crying infants -- it's a bit of a guessing game when things aren't quite right. Most of us don't have the needed skills to identify and fix plant problems. In this way, flowers are not like infants: we don't fully learn on the job. They don't command all our attention. Well, for most people they only worth a fleeting thought. And for those of us who are dedicated perennialists, it doesn't help to fret. There are too many variables affecting robust growth. You learn the basics and then you cross your fingers.

I fell in love with perennials when I first saw the beds in Great Britain some three dozen years ago. Not Poles, nor the French are the kings or queens of flower gardens. In fact, when I traveled to Poland in March, I took with great pride photos of my daughters, then, too, some of Ed and quite a number of my farmette flowers. My Polish friends looked at the gardens politely and I could tell that they could not fathom why I would bother -- both growing and photographing them. But the English! Ah, the English - they would understand!

Which brings me right to this day -- the first Monday of June. A stormy day, or at least a stormy morning. Rain, real rain came down soon after I let the cheepers out. (No, they do not like getting wet. I'm sure they blame me for it.)


It rained so hard that we stayed indoors for breakfast.


And just as I was to settle in and resume indoor work, the clouds passed and just to tease us some, the sun came out. And so I planted. And weeded (always that). Here's yesterday's siberian iris:


Compare it to a bearded iris that I have growing in another flower bed. Both in bloom right now!


We tinker as well with creating paths for the wedding that will take place here just two and a half weeks from now! Here's the beginning of a path that benefits from one of my flower tubs and from a bronze statue cast by Ed's mom a long while back. Oreo watches, a bit puzzled. I get the feeling that humans often cause him to feel bewildered and confused.


In working my way around the beds, I noticed how much the rains had caused the grasses to shoot up. (And weeds: our grassy areas are full of them!) It is time to mow. And here I depart from your quintessential fanatic gardener/outdoor person: there are some aspects of yard work that I dislike immensely. Mowing. I really do not like mowing. The trouble is, Ed doesn't like it either. And even without touching the "prairie" out back, we have so much to mow!

Typically, Ed does the bulk of grass cutting. Not today. I want a tidy job and Ed isn't tidy with the mower.

And hours later, when I am done, I know that if I never work a mower again, I'll not be disappointed.

Ed rewards my efforts by buying me a flower. In a pot, of course. To put in one of the beds. It's become an oddly common triangle for us: swing by the garden store, then the Harbor Freight Tool shop for some needed cheap tool, then home. This time, we pick up (at Harbor Tool) a few solar paneled lamps for our path posts, marveling at how it is possible to sell these night lights at $2.50 each.


In the evening, we eat Thai take-out on the porch. I cannot properly describe the beauty of an outdoor dinner on a gentle evening of late spring. A photo, I can do that. Leave you with a photo of Ed, digging in. Food this time.


Now imagine a quiet time, with only the chirp of a cardinal who will not shut up. And a fading light. And the faint smell of something sweet. Last wisps lilac or lily-of-the-valley? Something else? Heavenly. Really heavenly.