Wednesday, June 11, 2014

in honor of...

First, in line with the suggestion offered by commenter, I did acquire a plant today, though not a cedar pot.

The plant (or actually three)? Day lilies. A careful reader of the newspaper might worry that I am inadvertently paying homage to one Mr. Sharp, a 90-year old drug mule -- featured in the Magazine section of the NYT this week. I am not, though reading about this old man who went from being a famous and beloved cultivator of day lilies to being a major transporter of cocaine to Detroit reminded me of the place day lilies hold in my own heart.

I began my now thirty year love affair with perennials by being completely wowed by this flower. Two virtues stood out: first, even though each bloom lasts only one day -- one day! -- the plant can keep on flowering for weeks on end and indeed, the species hemerocallis "happy returns" can carry a show from late June all the way into September! That's very impressive.

Too, its second virtue caught my attention. My very first garden was in a spot with a variety of trees and shrubs not too far away. I worried about planting flowers with fragile roots close to these big guys. Until I read that a hemerocallis  can stand up to tree roots any day! None of this flimsy stuff! Day lily roots are powerful!

And so my first garden had day lilies. As did my second garden. And right now, at the farmette (my third garden in life), where I grow hundreds of flowers, I would say that the day lily is the favorite. It appears many times in all beds and indeed, in the first large bed fronting the farmhouse, it is the dominant flower.

I love day lilies. Thus a fitting end to this year's ambitious planting season would be to put in just a few more of them -- targeting now not the wedding week, but the weeks of July,  August and even September, when there is very little to rave about in a summer bed. I have to thank the writers of the article on the arrest of Mr. Sharp for the reminder that deep within every person, there may be a day lily hiding in his soul.

The title of the post was prompted by another set of "honors": today I received (in one packet) three certificates,commending my 25 years of service for the state and for the university. That is, Governor Walker sent me a certificate of commendation, and the chancellor sent me a certificate of service, and then there was another certificate of commendation from Governor Walker: a duplicate of the first! Does that mean that my work was commendable enough to warrant twice the certification?

Of course, all of this is silly anyway. I have never hung any certificate on any wall -- office or home -- so I am deliberating why it is that anyone would even keep any of these papers. Perhaps because it feels disrespectful to the institutions that churn them out to simply toss these papers in the recyclable bin. But it surely is tempting to do just that.

Not too many photos for you today. We spent the afternoon chasing down my day lilies, then buying a faucet valve and paint at Menards. And, too, I had a dinner out with my old work friends. Late night, camera tucked away for most of the day.

And yet, there is always a photo from that early morning walk to and from the coop. Today of Oreo -- looking around for a hen to love...


And breakfast, which I know looks like yesterday's breakfast, but still, it was a good moment.


And let me post a grateful nod to the peonies in the garden. I have some half dozen plants blooming profusely right now. Theirs is a short burst of color. But they're greatly appreciated.


And to the campanula: how reliably perky these bells can be!


Finally, evening. I return home just as the sun finally triumphs over the clouds and asserts itself over the western edges of the farmette, as if to say -- you managed well enough without me, but I can tell you're glad I'm back.