Growing My Garden
February 01 2022
The summer garden is bursting at the seams, it’s teeming with life and color and it changes daily. There is an abundance in nature and my gardens for which I am so grateful. The gardens grow, they live, and inevitably, they die-time is visible everywhere and if the gardens teach me nothing else, they speak of acceptance of both time passing and change. And I like change, winter has two choices, snow or no snow, brown or white, but in spring the dance begins. Every gardener hears the rhythms; the longer days bring the swelling buds on the trees and the new shoots pushing out of the ground. I know the life was there all along, but you can’t see it moving-it’s on pause, above ground anyway.
I don’t know if others like change, if it’s a common human condition or not, but I welcome it. Even winter (at first) is a nice break from the busyness of the growing seasons. Indeed, maybe the brevity of each flower adds to its allure.
In order to keep the colors and shapes, the movement and shadows, coming, I have a wide variety of plants and I’m always adding more. When I get a garden full, I just go make another one-dig up some lawn somewhere. The gardens are always growing-in size and height, in shapes and colors, not just the plants themselves but the gardens as a whole.
Speaking of bigger, I confess I have plans to acquire more peonies-especially more of those grand Itohs (see The Pursuit of Pleasure). I now have a grand total of two, this just won’t do. My second one is ‘Cora Louise’ and she’s a beauty. True, the bloom season for any peony is relatively short (two to three weeks for this one)but boy do they put on a show. Those large(eight to ten inches across) pure white, semi-double flowers open to reveal lavender red centers and yellow stamens. This may be the most show stopping flower I’ve ever grown and it’s well worth waiting almost another year for the next round of blooms. They come, they go, and I will move on the myriad other flowers whose time has come. Besides, that lovely plant will only come back bigger and better next year.
Change is inevitable, but maybe it allows us to grow in some way, right there alongside our gardens, better every year.
Itoh Peony ‘Cora Louise’, zone 4-9, 2-3’ tall. No staking required.