Monday, August 18, 2008

Other Container Plants

Crocosmia 'Star of the East'
Boophane disticha
Ennealophus euryandrus

Creating a container display full of colorful seasonal plants is very popular, but most of my containers each have a single plant that I keep year after year and only a few are particularly showy. I guess its the collector in me, but I don't think I can know a plant very well until I grow it. My containers allow me the chance to challenge my horticultural skills by growing a variety of tender plants year after year without a greenhouse while allowing me to come to know some weird or unusual plants I wouldn't get to experience otherwise.

At the extreme end of the spectrum of what I will put up with to satisfy my curiosity is Ennealophus euryandrus. This obscure member of the iris family is a wretched specimen as seen above. The flowers are sparse and are typically gone by the time of day I get home from work, but I keep it around, somewhat reluctantly, because growing it feels broadening to me. The slightly obscure Boophane disticha, on the other hand, is very exciting because of its distinctive leaf arrangement and its long life cycle. Its habit of slowly developing a larger and larger bulb each year and taking who knows how long to flower (seven years and counting with no flower)makes it seem venerable and worthy of a sort of reverence. Finally my Crocosmia 'Star of the East' gives me the more conventional satisfaction of a fabulous flower show as well as a glimpse into the fascinating history of Crocosmia breeding in Norfolk, UK.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Garden as a Dialogue

I recently read a great quote that ties in perfectly to this blog's theme of gardening fitting into a lifestyle. It was from the back page columnist in the June 2008 edition of Gardens Illustrated. He said "And the gardener is essential to what a garden is. It is a dialogue between a gardener and the natural world. It is not the natural world. It is not the gardener. It is the thing between them and a living thing in itself."
The image above is typical of what some may say is a muddle but to me is part of my dialogue with the plant world. The mix ebbs and flows as I direct it but also as I sometimes follow its lead. The Sidalcia just behind the Japanese Iris is one of those plants that defies the gardener's directives and finds its own comfort zone.