Thursday, August 30, 2007

Country cousins

An August trip to the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on Cape Cod means visiting the country cousins of some cultivated friends. Beach rose (Rosa rugosa) and sea lavender (actually a statice, Limonium vulgare) populate the edges of the salt marsh.

Along the pond bank, wild summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) blooms in scented profusion.

Above is the native version of the four domesticated "September Beauties" that I planted around my yard this past spring. Below is the single panicle that my new plants are sporting between them. Very nice. The cluster of domesticated blooms is tight and showy. I can't compare the smell between wild and tame--in part because my sense of scent is weak--but up close and sniffing deeply, both smell heavenly.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Sweet pea posy

If a posy is a small bouquet of flowers, what do you call a small posy?

The sweet peas are finally throwing out enough flowers to gather for a glimmer of a posy.

Given that these are soldiering on in the middle of a hot and humid August, they are probably the heat tolerant "Old Spice" mix. "Mix" is an apt description. Last year, the blooms were a deep crimson; this year they are pastels. All are welcome!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Saying "I do!"

Back from a lovely long weekend in the summer Eden of northern New Hampshire . . .

. . . to find the garden in dire need of late summer attention. The old stalks of larkspur were pulled, seed was collected, and in a moment of insanely wishful thinking comparable only to a bride telling herself, "I'll make him change once we're married," as she walks down the aisle, anemones were planted in their stead. Yes, the groom will stop doing whatever annoying thing it is that he does, and semi-shade, moisture-loving "Honorine Jobert" anemones will flourish in a dry southern exposure. Sea holly (Eryngium amethystinum) didn't even last a year in this location. Heart over head here: I just love anemones. Call me delusional. Then pass the watering can and mulch.

And how does the rest of the garden look? Rather underwhelming, given the dearth of flowers. What would we do without Phlox panticula? In this bed, the white blossoms of "David" blend rather nicely with the powdery mildew dusting the adjacent peony foliage. Sigh. Maybe this falls under the "unrealistic expectations" marriage myth.

However, one glorious sight: the brilliant white shafts of blossoms sported by the hosta "Guacamole."

As I worked, I had a little bunny buddy hanging out with me. Sometimes a silent partner is the best.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Fashion victim

I try to focus on the stylish side of Mother Nature here. She's a pretty eco-chic lady, what with heirloom species, xeriscaping, and locally-grown produce. But sometimes Mother Nature receives some very bad fashion advice. The result may be visually unbalanced, horticulturally inappropriate, or just plain ugly.

Others have posted rants railing against such offenses as red mulch, gum-drop pruning, and unnecessary tree removal. Here's my addition to these blights . . .

While driving around town the other day, I was lightning-bolted by this sight. What botanical vision spawned this monstrous candy-striped worm of a flower bed? As if petunias, impatiens, begonias, and other "public garden" plants don't already have a bad enough reputation!

Then, on the way home today, I encountered a less lush but equally stripey version. What part of this looks good? It's painful to think that such an ill-conceived design was any gardener's goal. Another benefit of annuals: a short season.