September 10 2021

This is my Eden. This piece of earth that keeps my garden, that enables me to feel like I have a place where I belong. A place to watch some of the wonders of the world unfold. There is no greater blessing than to simply be aware of the astounding beauty the universe provides. The scent of rain, the sound of a mourning dove at daylight, or moonlight on my white roses. And yes, in spite of the too hot sun, the drying winds, the grasshoppers, and whatever else bedevils our gardens and our lives. In spite of all this, we still know it’s a beautiful world. My eden will never be a perfect place, there are even snakes that live there (delightful if startling slender little garter snakes)but this Eve who lives in the garden learns something new every day.

The ancient Sumerians told of gardens in Edin, the floodplain of lower Mesopotamia and in the Babylonian epic ‘Gilgamesh’ (around 2,000 BCE)the hero travels to a garden in search of immortality and wisdom-a garden complete with a serpent. Gardens have always been a place of wonder-the Persian word for an enclosed garden is ‘paira-daeza’ or ‘paradeisos’ in Greek. Yes, paradise! And of course, paradise is filled with plants.

A fitting denizen of paradise (or Eden) is Queen of the Prairie, also called Meadowsweet or Filipendula rubra. The Latin name filipendula comes from ‘filum’ (thread) and ‘pendulus’ (hanging), apparently the tubers are connected by threads-some day I’ll dig one up and look. The cultivar name Venusta means pretty, charming or graceful. It would appear you need to know some Latin to name a plant.

Meadowsweet is a native American plant and can spread a lot, especially if it has moist rich soil I should think. I planted mine where the rain gutter downspout spills out-not that it rains enough, but every little bit helps. Sweet this plant is, with it’s fluffy pink flower heads floating above the big showy leaves-another gift from nature. We have always looked for explanations for life since the beginning of people, trying to pin it down, make it understandable, but for me it is best to simply notice and accept that the world is astoundingly full of wonders. Even in my own personal Eden.

Meadowsweet, Filipendula rubra ‘Venusta’ zone 3-9