Today was another rainy day. We headed outside to stomp in some puddles mid-morning and I took advantage of the opportunity to go hunting for slugs as I’ve recently been fighting a battle over my green bean plants with the hungry, slimy creatures.
On the way to check out the situation, I was delighted to see that despite the rain, the first Day Lily had bloomed. Last year I noticed numerous plants scattered all over the yard. It appeared that most of them had not bloomed in a long time because they were growing in the shade. I dug them up and chose new homes for them, a kind of anchor along the bottom of the stone container-retaining wall.
It felt a like giving them a new lease on life, a chance to bloom in the sunshine once more. And I always love the challenge of seeing how things do when you dig them up and replant. Will they make it? Day lilies are tough, but you never know.
The real reason I didn’t just ignore them or throw them away is because they remind me of my horticulture mentor from the National Arboretum. He’d started off as a Day Lily guy, he’d told me. Boxwood was an opportunity that he’d jumped at, something he built his career around, but it wasn’t his expertise when he started.
I pointed out the daylily to my girls and really wanted to show them that you can eat the petals, the way he’d shown me on one garden tour or another. But I’m going to wait until a few more have bloomed. We’ll save the day lily taste test for another time.
It seems that my affection for certain plants is usually tied to someone specific, some setting or some place.
The Bleeding Heart reminds me of my mom. The Mont Brescia of my dear friend Ted, who introduced me to it. Crocosmia Lucifer reminds me of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The straw flower and the wild garlic were plants I didn’t know. They came up on their own and now they remind me of the friends who identified them for me.
A recent addition is the Allium Globe Master. A dear friend and ballet teacher grew them in his garden and talked about them with such admiration. It was probably 15 years ago–a time when I had no garden to speak of–but I’ve been holding on to this memory of him and wanting to grow them ever since. One in particular is really spectacular, 10 inches in diameter, its thick stem and shiny leaves impressive in their strength. Every time I walk by, I wish I could tell him about it, but somehow I think he knows.
In this way the garden has become a collection of textured stories and colorful people. I’m never alone and there is always something to share.
Grow a little memory, Leave a little love (unless you are a slug and then please go chomp on someone else’s green beans!)