Of Time and the Garden
The garden never looks the same two days in a row much less two years in a row. Indeed, it
doesn’t look in the evening as it did in the morning. Most daylilies open each day and look
fresh throughout the daylight hours but exhausted by night; but there are some that would be
more correctly called night lilies—Hemerocallis citrina (syn. H. altissima) bloom at night and look
exhausted by morning. Either way, none of my daylily plants look the same two days in a row.
Rain lilies are in full bloom now and each morning the areas where they grow look different because most
forms and species have flowers that last only a day.
Zephyranthes smallii, a medium yellow
reblooming species, has flowers that stay open all
the night and the next day. Not only that, they
continue to produce new flowers throughout late
summer. The dianthus walk contains many clumps
of this species making that garden a cheerful early
morning welcome for several months.
Verbascum chaixii blooms from spring through
summer; however, it isn’t always at its best. In the
early morning listen the flowers glisten with dew
but by late afternoon, they droop from the heat
and by the next morning they have recovered their
glory. After they ripen their seeds, we cut the stalks
to the ground and have only a few weeks to wait
until they are back in bloom.
Often, we plant small trees,
such as styrax, which give us flowers in mid-spring,
only to discover in a few years that they have outgrown their allotted space and
after a brief display of flowers, we have dense shade and greedy roots, which
take up the moisture we had counted on for our summer display of annuals and
perennials. We remember that special spring when they were the right size for
their space. Daffodils, carefully planted and spaced, eventually grow into thick
clumps and no longer bloom. Rescuing daffodils is one of our favorite winter
tasks as we change this year’s plea for help
into a broad mass of recently divided bulbs and eventually a
spectacular display of flowers. Whether plants live or die, they present us with challenges, the most
delightful of which is a mass planting of a something, which came to our garden as a single specimen. The
worst of which is a mass of weeds, from an unexpected bully.