Monday, September 26, 2011
A couple of years later, gnawed at by my failure, I ordered another one of these expensive little numbers and tried again, only to fail again. They must not grow in Minnesota, I decided--but then I saw one in a friend's garden. Her dinner-plate leaves looked just like the ones in the catalog! My failure ran deep and complete until last year's White Flower Farm catalog offered the plant for $14, a price obviously intended to attract fools like me who just don't know when to quit. To my great surprise, this one sprouted soon after planting. Then it grew. Now, in year two, it shows the promise of what it may become if the attendant climbing hydrangeas don't overpower it. Will they be friends, or enemies? Does failure lurk ahead? Check Bloom Chronicles next summer--and please, don't encourage me to ever buy another if this one fails, no matter how wonderful the word "Astilboides."
Thursday, September 15, 2011
I couldn't turn down a desperate neighbor, and so I ended up with canna bulbs, some green-leafed and some in this lovely, bronze. I struggled with where to plant them, because they don't really work with miniature roses, or shrub roses, or any other roses, which I have lots of. They need sun, which I don't have lots of. After a couple of years of ugly plantings, I hit on the idea of siting them next to gold and bronze day lilies. They seemed happy. I was happy. This year, however, I saw bronze cannas paired with sunflowers, which was stunning, and also the bronzes planted in huge containers with green-leafed elephant ears--Wow! Both were underplanted with begonias, sweet potato vines, and other hot or dark colors. I loved both plantings. Bulb digging is not far off--and I can na' wait to see if these canna wonders have multiplied.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Drying Annabelle hydrangeas is one of my annual pursuits. Hydrangeas last. They light up dark winter rooms. They work as Thanksgiving decorations, Christmas decorations, Easter decorations, ladies tea decorations, gourmet dinner decorations--you get the idea. To make them last, however, takes some sensitivity to their needs. One needs to be gentle with them. One needs to give them the occasional fresh air and a change of scenery. One needs to love them even when they have lost a petal or two.
Hydrangeas are large, but made up of so many small flowers. They remind us that the road to a happy marriage is long and not to be trounced through with combat boots, that we should not ignore the small things because they often turn out to be the big things. Roses may symbolize love,but it seems to me hydrangeas symbolize love that lasts--good for bridal bouquets. And homes.
Photo Courtesy of Carmen Schindler