Sunday, April 1, 2012

On a First Name Basis

'Betty' is a miniature creeping phlox. It is in bloom now!
Day 74
The Daily DuBrule

I am on a first name basis with many of my plants. This weekend, I have been hanging out with 'Betty'- Phlox subulata 'Betty' that is. I latched onto this diminutive plant because my sister's name is Betty Anne. I don't know too many flowers with her name and it seemed like the ideal plant to tuck between the bluestone walkway and the large boulders near my water garden. She has proved remarkably durable. This year, no one in my industry carries her so I will carry on her legacy.

'Thalia' Narcissus is usually in flower in mid-May.
Then there's 'Thalia', a sweetly scented narcissus that marks the end of the daffodil season for me. Multiple flowers on 15" stems fill vase after vase around my house tonight. A bit early this year, eh? Her companion in my vases is 'Pipit', a lovely bicolor variety that usually blooms in the middle of April. Not this year. She is also in full bloom today.

When I first started gardening, the variety names overwhelmed me. How could I ever learn all of this? It is one plant at a time. Take it home, or plant it in a client's garden, and then observe it over the years. Eventually you too will know your plants by their real names (the scientific names, I hate to tell you) and you too will be able to create magnificent gardens that bloom in succession from late winter until late fall. 

My friend David Brown had his annual daffodil brunch today in Old Saybrook. I was suffering from a digestive ailment that made it impossible for me to stray far from the house for more than a few minutes so I couldn't attend. He has been planting thousands of daffodils around his farm for years. He always consults with me about the date. It is usually around our Natureworks Earth Day Celebration, the third weekend in April. When we talked this year, we both agreed that if it wasn't April 1st, it wouldn't happen. The daffies are all in bloom at once, the early, mid, and late ones at the same time. The window for this celebration is very small but quite glorious this year. 

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