Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pleasure From the Substantial and the Tiny

I have realized particular gratification this spring from two very different sorts of plantings. One is large and defines space; the other is one tiny plant in a crevice, but I get a real kick out of both of them.

The first is a planting of willow that I started about ten years ago. A creek that is a boundary of my property seemed a perfect place to block the view of the neighbors and to create a beautiful grove of trees. The willows were about as cheap a planting as could be had. At Kingwood Center where I work we annually cut back Salix alba 'Britzensis' to the ground to allow those beautiful coral colored shoots to grow back up shrub sized. I gathered up the harvest and stuck them in the wet ground hoping they would root. Over several years of mixed successes I eventually established a substantial grove of trees, the full extent of which I did not capture in the above image.

The other planting that brought me special pleasure this spring caught my attention with its lone flower on a lone plant of Ramonda myconi. I bought it three years ago at a local North American Rock Garden Society meeting from Wrightman Alpine Nursery. Of seven different species I bought that day it is one of only two that are still with me. I shouldn't expect to grow "alpines" in my hot Ohio garden, but I do expect to grow rock garden plants. Drainage seems to be the key and the crevice that my ramonda was lucky enough to be planted into seemed to do the trick. The fact that it took three years to put out its first flower, that I was able to find suitable exposure and soil for it, and that it is the only hardy gesneriad that I have ever come across all added up to considerable satisfaction on my part.

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