Thursday, April 29, 2010

Garden Thursday

In Which I Try To Remember All The Funny Stories I Know About Flowers

Just as I revealed myself to be a Clutterer, I also have to out my coordination abilities in the garden. As in: I have none. Each year things start to bloom in masses of pink and purple and blue and white and yellow and red, and I am reminded anew how jumbled it all is. I planted it all so hopefully, too.

But, at certain angles, it looks quite wonderful, so I stick to seeing the garden from those angles. My camera sticks to seeing the garden from those angles.

A long long time ago I worked for a group that built gardens in Bad Parts of Town, and helped people down on their luck build community gardens in which to grow food. Because of the areas we were in and some of the people we had to work with, it was never an easy job, and I will never forget getting a lecture from one of the more, err, opinionated women in one of the community garden groups — about pansies. My organization had been given a truck load of annuals to take over to the community garden and hand out to anyone who wanted them. There happened to be several trays of pansies on this truck: velvety nodding heads of purple and yellow and white and blue. This woman was livid about the pansies - they were too "bourgeois" according to her. She even used the word "insolent." This might have made me laugh out loud, and my laughing out loud might have estranged me from this woman for ever more, thus making my time at that particular community garden rather awkward, but that little moment with the pansies has stuck merrily in my memory all this time. I plant pansies every year because of that woman, insolent little buggers that they are. And because I love them, of course. Oh callow youth.

This plant is a giant pyrethrum daisy. They came to me via a neighbour. She'd called a towtruck to jump her car, but the fellow they sent was having anger management issues (to put it charitably) and instead of pulling up neatly into her driveway, he careened down ours and almost took out the carport and the twins in one fell swoop. Then he drove all over my Sea of Squill. In less than a minute my Sea of Squill became naught but a damp, squishy memory. After shouting and swearing at Richard (who is the calmest person you will ever meet so this in itself is rather astonishing), who had gone out to ensure the continued existence of both his offspring and the carport, the tow truck driver then screeched off into the night, but not before telling Richard that he would never come to his aid EVER in the guise as a tow truck driver. It was all rather surreal and I was most peeved when I came home and found that I'd missed everything. My only contribution was phoning BCAA and complaining about a) the tow truck driver's near collision with my children, b) my former Sea of Squill, and c) the fact that the tow truck driver had had the gall to yell at everyone. My neighbour was quite mortified, and the next day she came over with a box of seeds. A peace offering. Which seemed rather unnecessary as we'd all highly enjoyed the experience, well, up until the twins had almost exited the picture, of course. But even they could appreciate the, well, the sheer breathlessness of it. Anyhow, this magenta pyrethrum daisy is one of the I'm Terribly Sorry seeds from my neighbour. It's a Terribly Sorry Daisy.

I've written before about Lewisias. I love them. They are such an amazing combination of pink and orange and even though they tend to be overpriced in the fancy garden centres I think they are worth it. I don't really have a funny story about them today, but I am including them because they were some of the first plants I bought for this house and today is the anniversary of our Move In Day, which happened three years ago.

Here's the post I wrote on our one year anniversary in this house. That's a funny story, so think of it as the Funny Reno With Lewisias Story for this picture...

Now this isn't funny at all. I just think it's funny how clematis always have such banal names. Okay, okay, if my name were Mrs N Thompson I'd love to be remembered as a beautiful purpley-blue Pruning Optional Group B clematis. Or if I were known around town as Nelly Moser, too. Which this one is, although FDPG calls it Candy Puff. I call it Pink Many-Legged Starfish. Fish for short.

Now tell me truthfully: if someone were to say to you, when giving you some seeds:

Seeds are dormant and do not germinate readily. Also they need light to germinate. In autumn, sow in pots containing a lightweight sterilized soil mix. Do not cover, press firmly and water. Place containers in garden digging them part way into soil. Cover with loose mulch. In early spring inspect them monthly. Remove mulch when germination begins. When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings. Dormant seeds often fail to germinate in the first year, needing a second winter to overcome dormancy. INDOORS: Place seeded flat in fridge for 1-12 months until germination begins.

Would you do it? Would you follow those instructions faithfully? One to twelve MONTHS IN THE FRIDGE? Well, I didn't. I looked at those instructions and thought "Huh? Are they KIDDING? #@*$ that!"
And looky here - Houston, we have take-off!

These plants asked me to send their little telegram to a friend:


This isn't funny either, unless you consider blood-stained lettuce leaves funny...

Oh, I'm just kidding.

Am I?

Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha (cue spooky music)

Oh, and the word of the day around here is:



Kez said...

You crack me up :)

Heather said...

Happy 3rd anniversary!

What bizarre germinating instructions! Can you just imagine how that person lives life? They must find it incredibly diificult. And are those instructions for milkweed?!?! A plant that drops its seeds whichever way the wind takes them and then...spreads like crazy all on its own, so much so that it is considered a terrible weed wherever it grows. So glad that you did it your way instead.

Spesamor Academy said...

LOL! But I must say that I can't stand tulips because they are such snotty, stuck-up flowers. I prefer my flowers to be friendly and happy and open to companionship and tulips are just not like that.

And yes, my husband thinks I am weird.

sheila said...

Heather, it IS milkweed. Isn't that idiotic? Richters Seeds very own. I never listen, which can sometimes be my downfall.

Tulips? Snotty and stuckup? I think we need to compile a list of Flower Behaviours. Pansies=insolent. Tulips=snotty (my mind is still rather overwhelmed by this). How about daffodils? My initial response is that they are like labradors: waggly and rather indiscriminate with their affections.

Erin said...

Unstaked peonies after the rain: inebriated, over-flounced saloon girls piled over tables at closing time;-)

Your garden has so many stories to offer up: lovely!!


sheila said...

Oh Erin - that is the BEST image! I'm thinking Toulouse Lautrec! I'm thinking Degas dancers! I'm thinking, thinking, thinking...I need more peonies.