My Mother has always gardened and she has gardened in the same spot in Indiana soil for over 60 years. The garden surrounds the home she made with my Father when they moved in as newlyweds down the road from my Grandparents. Growing flowers was always secondary to farming efforts. That continues today as my brothers farm the land that has been in our family for over 100 years. So the garden, flowers, vegetables and such required an extra effort for my Mom.
Public gardens are a wonderful place to visit but now and then you have the opportunity to see a beautiful private garden.
Barbara invited me out to see her hollyhocks in full glory. Beautiful shades of pink and white were indeed glorious and scattered around her acre of Eden in the East Valley. A transplanted “Alabama Rose” Barbara has transplanted herself and her favorite plants from her childhood home.
Not everything that can be counted counts, Not everything that counts can be counted. – Albert Einstein
Winding uphill through the streets of Berkeley, we arrive at the University of CA Botanical Garden in Strawberry Canyon. There we are faced with a decision of paying the parking meter for the number of hours we need to explore the garden. The garden holds over 12,000 plants including many rare and endangered plant specimens. Director Paul Licht does the math for visitors. “If you allow only 2 hours, a 120 min. visit would require that you see 100 different kinds of plants per minute to experience our entire collection.” Obviously we will need a full day, even then we won’t truly see all of the plants. Those we do see will be only a glimpse of life of the plants. A plant today may be dormant, budding, blooming or declining.
The lilacs are blooming in Descanso Gardens in La Canada-Flintridge CA. Lilacs need a cool season to generate their blooms in the spring. The cultivars in southern California have been adapted to this climate. The beauty of these delicate blooms is compounded by their varieties of color in lilac lavender, deep purple, pink, and white. The scent of lilacs generates so many responses from visitors. One woman inhaling deeply, declared, “this is my childhood, I grew up with these all around my house.” Another remembers a Grandmother’s house and smiles wistfully at the memory.
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is now. – Chinese Proverb
Arbor Day in the U.S is celebrated on the last Friday in April. In Arizona, we have many good times to plant trees scattered throughout the year so this date is a bit arbitrary in our region. Still it is a significant day to contemplate trees. The Arbor Day Foundation’s mission is to encourage us to Plant, Nurture and Celebrate Trees.
Speaker–Linda Larson at March 16 meeting
Linda Larson, a lifelong lover of flowers, remembers the daffodils lining the small stone path to her grandmother’s door. She grew up on a farm in central Indiana and not only pulled weeds out of the Peonies each summer, but the nightshade out of her father’s soybean fields.
I am a happy mockingbird,
My song is strong at 3 am,
so strong, so strong.
Why are you in your bed?
your bed, your bed.
A Small Garden
The Anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.” Substitute “committed gardeners” in this thought and the results DO change our world in immeasurable ways. Master Gardener Park in Port Townsend, WA demonstrates the power of passionate committed gardeners. The city’s smallest park, a small triangular shaped patch of earth bordered on all sides by intersecting streets, is now a beautiful garden.
February arrived with winds and freezing temperatures. A low temperature in my garden of 23 degrees! Out of state relatives also arrived fleeing even more severe weather of ice storms and below zero temperatures in Indiana. Even as the weather seemed unseasonably cold to us locals the sunshine and mid day temperatures here found my brother and sister-in-law wanting to be outside. In particular they wanted to visit the DBG to get a chance to see desert plants. As a first time visitor to the garden nearly everything was new, including the idea that palo verde trees had naturally green trunks and that a garden would try to protect tender plants with yards and yards of frost cloth.
A Sense of Place
When our neighborhood was new a family relocating from Virginia moved in next door and quickly put in lawn for their entire landscape. Another family relocated from MN and installed a pool and planted pine trees all around it. Longtime desert gardeners cringe at these home garden stories. Today a strong campaign for regionally appropriate plants fills the garden news. Advocates raise a chorus of voices that sing, “If we live in a desert it is only common sense that we live with desert plants.” Einstein said, “common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.” Our common experience of “place” isn’t so common.