Just when I needed another boost and retreat from the chaos of remodeling – EUREKA! The garden comes through once again with flying colors and bless it for lifting my mood.
Because I am one of those gardening geeks who always wants the Rare, the Profound, the Newest or even more special – the Oldest Variety known on earth, and regularly eschews the usual and “most planted” if at all possible, I probably wouldn’t have planted day lilies here on Mt. Faith. It’s a ubiquitous Minnesota standby, seen in every yard around town. (Although in Atascadero I DID have a special day lily bed ringing the Crap Apple “Prairie Fire” – but they were rare species from a local day lily nursery – snob that I am.) So when I walked down the driveway to retrieve the paper and saw something lovely and orange peeking out from the shrubbery, I couldn’t have been more pleased. I Have Day Lilies Too!
Framing the original front entry here, the hydrangeas are also just starting to bloom. I do have a special place in my heart for hydrangeas, not just because of Grandma Marie who somehow managed to grow gigantic specimens which served as the backdrop for numerous photo shoots in my childhood and they always make me think of her, but because of Manderley. Do you remember the opening line, that most romantic of phrases from Daphne de Maurier’s, REBECCA – “Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again”? And then, the “I’ of the novel proceeding to describe the estate’s drive in Cornwall in glorious detail ending with the description of the hydrangeas. Sigh! Romantic girlhood fantasies. Of course, the hygrangeas of my grandmother and of Manderley were blue. And it is hard to keep them blue I’ve found. They need aluminum sulfate and they need it at just the right time! Or they revert to pink. And the pink have never moved me in the same way. I’ve always grown the Quercifolia, or “Oakleaf” which seems quite a different plant with leaves like giant oaks which turn red in the fall and huge elongated white blossoms, but that’s an entirely different breed. So if I can’t have Marie and Manderley hydrangeas I want them WHITE. And here they are.
My third surprise of the day appeared as a splash of reddish-purple against the foliage creeping up a tree behind the pond. A Clematis! That was a real boon. For some reason, wherever we lived I intended to plant a clematis and it never figured into the overall scheme in the end. I know that they want their roots and lower feet to be in shade – to the extent that some gardeners surround their base with rocks or underplant with small perennials. But I believe that their “heads” like to reach for the sun and my concern is that the backside of the pond doesn’t really fit the bill. I’m hoping that the previous owners discovered a “shade tolerant” variety. In the meantime, I’m going to be a Nervous Nelly parent.
Finally – the biggest thrill. The water lily bloomed! And there are more to come.
As I was walking away from this latest thrill – I came very close to stepping on a frog. And he was quite something. And he waited in the grass while I ran for the house and up the stairs and back outside with the Nikon to capture his blog portrait.
And he let me actually stick the camera almost down in his face, a few inches away – not once, but twice, before he plopped into the pond. As it turns out he is a Northern Leopard Frog – one of the biggest. About 4 ½ inches not counting legs extended. And he was a common frog in these parts until a few years ago when ecological issues intervened. I actually read on-line something about “acid rain”. But here he/she is living in our pond and he/she is capable of laying up to 6500 eggs! They take from 70 to 110 days to hatch and so – WOW – I think we’re looking at some future frogs here on Mt. Faith.
As a final garden tribute – Thank you Maryanne. Sven is doing very well as you can see and has a lot of lovely blooms.
Thank you spirits of the garden.