Hostas, Peonies and The Grace Therein

It's all industry and hilarity over here.

Industry because I've been out in the garden;
hilarity because G has been 'assisting' me- planting acorns and rocks, renaming plants and digging holes for me with her yellow plastic sand shovel.

We've got some new additions to our garden family, namely a few different varieties of hostas, all in the blue/green ranges of foliage. Hostas are at once so verdant and luxurious and then so frowsty and Victorian-you half expect them to be eyeing your tank top and cut-off jeans gardening wardrobe with a disapproving eye, leaves rustling like long skirts. But I love them. I've got a learned appreciation for shade plants, especially up here in the woods, where oaks and redwoods reign supreme, and us gardeners are left scurrying about underneath, peering up at the sky through branches and muttering to ourselves, "partial to deep shade....definitely dappled. Yeah-definitely, definitely dappled" like Dustin Hoffman in 'Rain Man'. I think the hostas'll look grand with the CA natives dicentra formosa or Western bleeding heart, a sweet lil' groundcover, and Asarum caudatum, the wild ginger, which has the most startlingly ugly/beautiful flower, and is pollinated by.... (dum da dum!) banana slugs!

G helped me plant the hostas and there was much giggling over the funny bare root clumps that came in the packages-"Are we going to plant SPAGHETTI?" she repeated endlessly, and then renamed them pasta instead of hosta. She's very silly. And very punny. Definitely B's side of the family...

Also joining the neighborhood are a bed of peonies, 'Sarah Bernhardt' and another that I'm forgetting. I'm nervous about these peonies, mainly because I've never seen them grow here in SC, and because they are so classically English, and therefore a little intimidating and slightly snooty.....(sorry, Susan!) And fussy. Western Garden says to prepare the planting site 'at least several days' before the peony crowns are planted, with plenty of well-rotted manure or compost and a fertilizer high in phosphorus. Sheesh! It's like the queen is coming to tea. And I'm pretty sure they require quite cold winters, so I might be out there next January with a tray of ice cubes. If I am, B, please bring me the above picture so I can remember that they are worth the fuss (not to mention the phosphorus, manure and ice cubes you get in your cuffs.)
But they are just about incomparable for lush blooms and beautiful foliage. We're interplanting them with strawberries for G, and lots of self-sowing California poppies (Eschscholtzia californica) that just sort of 'mingle' with everyone else. They really know how to work a room.......

(thanks to 1bluecanoe, pictoscribe, IwateBuddy & David Lev for the hosta, wild ginger, peony and CA poppy pics, respectively. Lovely lovely.)


brad said...

yeah...definitely silly...definitely punny. Don't worry, I'll be out there, flashlight and picture in hand, helping you through the rough parts. Just like when Grace was born...support staff...

rosa said...

except hers was the better bloom...

Anonymous said...

aw, a punner, there's simply nothing funner... ;)

Anonymous said...

This is a charming post. I smiled the whole way through it.

sarah said...

i have to say-I receive sunset magazine in the mail these days, and while i love the recipes, i know nothing about gardening even if I am in Sunset climate zone 7. so i read your beautiful blog, learn something new each time and dream of one day, (when i have time) of having a garden that we have planted ourselves. and...avoiding our landlord from seeing our horrible weeds and deciding to take matters into his own hands. :) i admire you, my friend and the love that you have for a beautiful landscape and deep poetry :).

rosa said...

You know Sarah, you're actually in zone 15 since you're closer to the coast. Felton (and Mount Hermon) is in this little zone 7 pocket. Not that you really need to geek out this hard in order to have a nice garden.....zone 15 is great because it's milder, so you can grow more plants. (And weeds!)

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.