Wandering around the garden, I found myself nudging aside foliage of vigorous plants to make sure less hearty subjects weren’t being shaded or squashed. That got me thinking about what I actually do in the garden and what roles I play. I’m no sports fan, but it could be the current playoffs (hockey and basketball) and new season (baseball) have influenced my metaphor-maker.
A gardener is…
A referee, who makes sure everyone plays nice and no one gets hurt. Except sometimes that means someone has to get
A coach, who puts plants into the right spots, so they’ll grow well and look good.
A trainer, who snips, prunes, and stakes, encouraging everyone to get into optimal shape.
A doctor, who designs preventive regimens, diagnoses ailments, and applies tonics and nostrums when needed.
A chaplain, who ministers to the dying and performs the last rites at the compost heap.
A general manager, who decides what changes are going to be made for success next season.
Which means all those plants out there are a team.
My home team is looking pretty good right now, but its season is just getting under way.
Green and white ribbon grass (Phalaris arundinacea var. picta) looks good with pink tulips. It’s a quick spreader, though, so eventually some management will be needed.
Ferns have finally unrolled their fiddleheads. Dryopteris filix-mas looks fine with the intense yellow-green of the ornamental grass Milium effusum.
One of the huge tribe of coral bells is Heuchera “Green Spice.” It does fairly well in dry shade, and the subtle shades of purply-red and greeny-grey invite artful colour combinations.
Another Heuchera, this one with the rather awkward moniker “Dolce Key Lime Pie,” lives in a big blue pot with the hellebore “Ivory Prince,” whose flowers are taking on shades of green and pink as they mature.
Those blue gentians again! Gentiana acaulis is doing its thing next to the front walk. I suspect the plants need to be dug and divided every few years, because this newer patch is doing much better than the original, which has been in place for almost 20 years.
Wallflower Erysimum “Bowles Mauve” is at its best right now. The magenta of the flowers and grey-blue-green of the foliage are a magical combination.
Recent visitors to the garden include two pairs of American goldfinches, who spent much of an afternoon loading up on sunflower seeds. A deer rested in my neighbour’s garden and stopped by here later to nibble on the lawn.
Can you spot the deer?