Monday, August 18, 2008
Yesterday, late in the afternoon, I took a walk in the garden, just looking around, making a weekend assessment. Well, really just looking around to see how my plant friends are doing. It was the 12th anniversary of my father's death, and I was repeating a pattern I became familiar with in his life. After retirement, my father continued to work - not hard work, he helped out in the pro shop of a local golf club - but enough work to take up most of his days. Early every summer evening he would come home. The first thing he did was go out to his garden and spend a few minutes just looking around. Sometimes he would do a little work, pick some okra or tomatoes or beans. He always had a vegetable garden, grown in poor draining red Mississippi clay, but it was one of the delights of his life. Now my garden is the delight of mine. It's a very different garden, but I feel I'm carrying on a tradition I learned long ago.
At the top, a familiar combination of Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum 'Purple Bush'), the foliage of Queen of the Prairie (Filipendula rubra 'Venusta') turning lovely golden color in the August sun, at the front, a small Iron Weed (Vernonia noveboracensis) planted from seed and in its first year, and at the far left Eupatorium perfoliatum, just coming into its own. Seeded vernonia is scattered all over the garden; I expect it to grow into large colonies that will dramatically alter the distribution of plant mass and open space in the next few years.
Next, more of the Eupatorium perfoliatum, with more Joe Pye Weed and Miscanthus 'Gracillimus' in the background, and a (now) small vernonia at front.
Below, the same combination, with addition of Sanguisorba canadensis in the foreground and a couple of flower stalks of Rudbeckia maxima out of focus in the background.
Also seeded widely throughout the garden, Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia syphilitica) is now in full boom. I'm thinking of ordering more seed and using the lobelia as a groundcover.
Last, Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) in its second summer, a gift of a friend, from her friend, who grew it from seed. This is in an area near the deer exclusion fence, where I will eventually plant shrubs to block the view of the wire fencing.
My father didn't use binomial Latin names for his plants, but considering the possibility, even probability of total confusion otherwise, I think he would agree with the concept.