My friend Shirley came by this week with my semi-annual care package of botanicals I’ve been craving.
Shirley has been sharing plants with me for ten years. In fact, she is responsible for about 25 percent of my landscape. She gave me the pink monarda shown below (also known as bee balm) which turns my perennial garden into a sea of pink in June and makes a pretty tasty tea.
She also shared a delicate ground cover whose name escapes me, but it comes up every spring and spreads to crowd out the weeds. She has given me ornamental grasses and mophead hydrangeas. This week she shared two new specimens to enhance my perennial garden – an indigofera (a blooming climber which has medicinal purposes like making your hair grow and treating hemorrhoids) and a striped canna which she promises will bloom a shade of salmon. Oh, I can’t wait for spring.
I got them all in the ground and said a little prayer. The lead photo gives you a peak at a very small portion of her garden which is spectacular in spring when her collection of hydrangeas are in bloom.
Shirley has a shade garden, a sun garden, a vegetable garden, a rose garden, and a herb garden. She has a knack for punctuating her gardens with art – an old picture frame surrounds a bust of King David. An old wheel barrow carries an explosion of impatiens. She trains her eliagnes into a tunnel any child would love, and she provides plenty of places to sit and appreciate the colors and textures.
Do I reciprocate for all her generosity? I think I took her a chrysanthemum once. But that was a pass-along from our friend John Oakley who died this summer. His mums are just about to burst into bloom and we will be able to remember him and his fabulous gardens that brightened the landscape of our town for at least 75 years (he was over 95 when he died and he gardened until he took his final breath).
So, if you have a great plant, share it with your friends. It may be one of your greatest legacies.
But remember. Never, ever say thank you for a pass-along. It’s supposed to be bad luck and could endanger the health of the plant. Just say “Okey Dokey – What a great gift,” and start digging.