Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Mother's Flowers

       Last week a friend brought me s flower from her yard—a gorgeous stem that brought memories of my mother's yard of flowers. Do you recognize it? Probably not, unless it's enlarged.
      It's a Snapdragon.
     When I was a kid, I wasted many pretty blossoms by plucking them and pressing to make they open wide in a 'dragon's mouth'. The loss of a few to play with was never noticed—there were plenty remaining to look at, but none as vibrant as this beauty.
       We did not have a lawn—we had a yard filled with flowers.In those days, if you lived in the country, yards were not the grassy lawns we have now. One didn't pump water to water a patch of Bermuda grass, and pumping or drawing water out of a well was the only way we had to get water in those early days before electricity was extended to country dwellers.
      Many yards were bare and swept clear daily of any fallen leaver other debris  that had collected over night.That was usually a kid job.
     Our yard was deep sand. Sweeping was a lost cause, so Mother sowed seed—larkspur,phlox, petunia, and whatever wildflower seed she could save— over the front yard, and carried buckets of water to pamper her favorites and used a small bucket punctured with nails to sprinkle the  plants. Can you think of a better way under the circumstances? They reseeded and grew back year after year—often a little faded, but still colorful and fragrant.  
       My favorite was her perennial sweetpea—a lovely vine that Mother contained in s bush shape by wrapping it with chicken wire. It's growth quickly hid the wire. All it needed was water to reward us with flowers all summer. After years of searching at local nurseries, I found plants online.
        A sweet-smelling honeysuckle grew at one end of our porch. and at the other end grew a very thorny rose vine called Seven Sisters. I searched for years before I found one at our flea market. It produces huge clusters—ten or fifteen—  of small double pink roses in April.
        I haven't seen any old-fashioned phlox since I left home. I believe they were the hardiest of all Mother's flowers. Yury covered the ground year after year—colors mixed— they faded, but they were always there Seeds are available but seeds and I aren't good partners
       I try and try to have my mother's success with flowers, but she had 'the touch and sandy soil, and I  live on s rocky hill, and have to make-do with flower pots and a  few beds of imported soil

  So oo sowed seed for me, I'm depending on plants with shallow roots and lots of large pots.

A real ey-catching lily (growing in a pot) over four feet tall. This isn't an advantage  on a windy day. 
Beverly Sills Iris
I can throw common yellow or purple iris out any where, and t hey'll take root and spread and bloom in beautiful clumps—but if I get ambitious and spend a hefty price for one iris rhizome,  they expect to be treated like royalty.