Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mish-mash Memorial Day

It was a glorious long weekend for donning an old pair of tennis shoes, scruffy jeans and tee-shirt, and floppy hat, and for getting dirty in the garden. The siren call of sunshine, breezes, and mild temperatures beckoned every morning.

The mallow seeds that were started in a milk jug hot-house in early February finally departed the security of their recycled plastic home. Five small seedlings were transplanted into the raingarden next to a row of wet-footed Siberian irises, "Butter and Sugar."

Dahlias were planted in every spare corner. I am still feeling my way along this branch of esoteric knowledge . . . in the hopes of one day being sufficiently enlightened to successfully over-winter tubers. This spring's planting approach, however, involved nursery-bought tubers, a deep hole, a shovelful of peat moss, and a handful of bone meal for each tuber. Behind this curve of diminutive "Hawera" daffodils, a line of stakes anticipates the dahlias' emergence. In the old side bed and along the back of the house, other stakes mark subterranean dahlias.

I decided to wait to tease apart the various plant pairings that were thrown together in advance of French drain construction last fall. I am hoping for some serendipitous combinations, but so far, it's pretty much just a mish-mash, a mixed bag, of plants grouped together in haste. As glorious as they are though, some plants, like this robust iris, bully their their more self-effacing neighbors. Others, tucked behind taller cultivars, are lost in the shuffle.

One bed along the back of the house was amended with bonus dahlias "Raz-Ma-Taz" and "Rae Ann's Peach," helenium "Kanaria," red- and bronze-flowering snapdragons from the Rocket Series, and an unrepentantly vulgar purple Salvia splendens. Hard to believe that this mish-mash was actually planned. Hopefully, it will all harmonize in late August.

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