Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lady Slipper

What a nice surprise greeted me in the woods last week! The elusive ladyslipper made an appearance after a few years absence. It tucked itself away across the yard from where it last made an appearance. I'm so happy to see it again in my woods! I'm so glad it found a home here again despite the contruction of a nearby play area that upset it last time. I hope my maturing garden will offer it the peace it needs to decide to stay around this time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Symbols of Friendship

Two years ago, my friend Sara bought me tulip bulbs for my birthday. As we sat sipping mojitos, she turned to the page in the catalog with the deep purple, fringed beauties that she thought would look lovely in my garden.

The next spring, I waited expectantly for my tulips to poke their heads out of the ground. They never did. The year following, I again waited hopefully to no avail. I was convinced that the chipmunks had gotten to my birthday present.

Sara moved across the country to California last autumn. She was the doctor who diagnosed my celiac, helped me through infertility, and delivered my daughter. Through a difficult time in my life, she became one of my closest friends. We shared a gardening passion, and had similar interests about environmental consciousness and healthy living. We also shared what was in our hearts. Sara was there for me to cry on, lean on and laugh with for the last 7 years. A piece of my heart will always be with her.

Last week, a lone purple, fringed tulip came up in my front garden. I know now that Sara will always be with me too, no matter how geographically far apart we are.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Waves of Color

This is the first year that my gardens really look like GARDENS and not just plants stuck here and there randomly. After five years of working the soil on this property, plants are starting to fill their spaces. The Japanese Maple is becoming a real tree and not just a stick in the ground with a few red leaves. The strawberry patch has filled out and is laden with white flowers. My 15 rose bushes have established themselves, revealing healthy green stems and shiny leaves that should burst with color in a few weeks.

I am most excited that I am getting waves of color. Proper planning, so far, has ensured that something is blooming in my garden at all times. We started the spring with pastel crocus and anemone. Rather than a small bag of bulbs, we planted dozens of early spring flowers last autumn. Crocus popped up in my three main gardens. I'll be sure to plant them in more spaces this autumn because the wow effect was amazing.

After the early spring flowers came the yellow daffodils and forsythia followed by a splash of multicolor tulips with dots of forget-me-nots and lamium. A lone purple tulip that was given to me as a friend showed its head this year and ushered in the purple azaleas. They soon splashed as background colors to my specimen plants. I have spent a few years moving around the azaleas I first found on this property to place them as backdrops for dramatic effects. Ground cover phlox also serves as a background in my main garden and the purples are dominating at the moment with lilacs ushering in the start of prime flowering season.

And now come the Iris. I have moved them over the years to take up a healthy section of my tiered beds. They are spreading and make a dramatic focus. Watching their progress, I realize that nothing will replace them in that spot when their blooms are spent.

After ten years of gardening on my own, I think I have learned the genius of perennial gardening. Waves of color, planning to include plants that bloom at variant times, spreading and moving plants to create the greatest impact, learning plant habits in blooming times and desirable conditions...that is the joy of gardening. I can almost feel what a plant needs by watching it as it brings its show to my yard and caring for it until it can return with its color the following year.