Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Sam (our golden retriever) and I did our daily walk of the backyard. I caught him sniffing the tulips, inhaling (I am not making this up). Why not?!

Right now it’s like a family reunion in the backyard. I can almost hear the conversations. “How was your winter, Daisy?” “Isn’t it great to see everyone, Columbine?” Stretching and unfurling, the yard is busy.

Each year I have plans (on nearly the very same day) for a garden diary. I started one olive-colored spiral notebook years ago. It is bittersweet to see plants listed from my old house: azure monkshead, gayfeather, red dragon, foamflower, eupatorium, giant hosta. It makes me sad to see my spring plans written in fall of 2001, not knowing I’d be moving the following year.

I could plant my old friends here but it wouldn't be the same. We have new friends. Many of them. More reunion talk, “Who invited Charlie? He’s a real creep...”

The diary (preferably with a sketch or two) would help me know everyone’s name. I am known to buy plants on impulse and should do a better job learning about each one. Here’s a roster of the folks I can see in the backyard today (and who I know by name). Please forgive any misspellings. Some Master Gardener knowledge (or my sister-in-law the horticulturist) would certainly come in handy. I hope the ones I’ve omitted don’t die on me, miffed. We enjoy them all.
  • Red maple
  • Liliatrope (do I have this right?)
  • Hearty geraniums
  • Mayflowers
  • Mouse ears
  • Monarda
  • Clematis
  • Clementine
  • Chives
  • Poison ivy (oh cripes)
  • Japanese anemone
  • Various grasses, including bloodgrass
  • Various sedum
  • Black-eyed Susans (come out now, I can barely see you!)
  • Purple coneflowers
  • False indigo
  • Russian sage
  • Roses (who knows what kind)
  • Siberian irises
  • Aguga
  • Creeping Jenny
  • Bleeding hearts
  • Various lilies (including tiger lilies)
  • Sedge
  • Grape hyacinths
  • Various hostas
  • Ferns (including Japanese)
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Crocus
  • Daffodils
  • Ground covers (can't remember names)
  • Axminster gold
  • Alliums
  • Purple salvia
  • Pachysandra (a gift unbeknownst from my neighbors, since it traveled under the fence)
  • Coreopsis
  • Heuchera
  • Astilbe
  • Heliopsis (a favorite)
  • Astilbe
  • Lavender
  • Sweet hyssop (smells like licorice, it’s an annual but still returns)
The backyard has a different personality from the front. They’re like distant family, respectful enough to send Christmas cards but not get together on the 4th (forgive me, I’m carrying this metaphor a little far).

This year we hope to have help redoing part of the back. I’m thinking a dry creek bed, a natural stone path, and a bench under the trees. We’ll see. It would be great but I can see Matt driving his trucks through it (and all the work…).

Speaking of my old house, yesterday was Del’s birthday. Del was an older woman who lived across the street from us. She lived to garden. I couldn’t escape her––she constantly brought me babies from her garden. “You’ll want to plant this right now,” thrusting something green and stickery at me , not caring that I freelanced from my house, and that meant that I was working, not gardening during the day. I quickly fell under her spell. Like one of her plants, I had no choice but to get rooted and grow as a gardener. She died two weeks before we moved but her spirit lives in her cannas I replant each year.

Welcome back, dear friends.

1 comment:

amywb said...

This is the most beautiful post. It makes me want to know everything that's in my garden -- and make a visit to yours.