Weather Report: 43 degrees, overcast and more rain on the way! Good Morning SOS friends! This is the same weather we have had for just about a week now! One day of sunshine was snuck in. It was enough time to get tons of mulch put down, so now I am really ready for Spring, aren’t you? This morning let’s start in the Front Cottage Garden, “look the plum tree is plumming!”
The Vanguard Crocus, (1934) is one of the Vintage bulbs I bought from Old House Gardens. It is one of the earliest blooming crocuses and originally a wildflower from the rugged slopes of Russia. The outside of the petals are platinum with a light amethyst interior. You can see from the photo the light edges! I am glad that I have bought many vintage bulbs, because I enjoy reading about their histories! I have a question for you. I mixed and matched the bulbs when we planted them. Now, I am rethinking that because they will bloom at different times. Would it have been better to put all of one bulb kind together? What is your thinking on this? Also, will these bulbs multiply or should I add to them next Fall? Enquiring minds would like to know!
PS the Featured Yellow Crocus is the Mammoth Yellow, (1665) This was the most popular yellow crocus of the past 100 years, which is described as a vibrant orange-yellow like the molten sun. I did not order this bulb, but the woman/girl who filled my order commented on my receipt, how I liked white flowers, like she did. But, she said I needed a yellow. Some of the bulbs I had ordered were in a collection of bulbs called Tapestry. So, when she mixed and matched the collection she added this yellow bulb. I am glad she did. They are huge! And they really are attention getters! Old House Gardens send little histories of the bulbs (even the bulbs in the hand picked collections) that tell where the bulb came from and who is growing it now. Many of these bulbs are from Holland, and many are from an elderly woman’s garden in the South. I don’t know if they are getting the bulbs from Holland now or if that’s where they came from originally and now are only found in old gardens in the South. I will have to ask them.
This plant, an Asiatic Jasmine called Snow “N” Summer, has looked lush and green all winter. It is used as a ground cover in one of the other gardens in my neighborhood. I loved the pink tinged leaves that turn white and then green as they mature. I decided not to use them as aground cover so I potted them for height. I want you to see the fence . It is being torn out and replaced, but that will be in another edition. The rabbit’s duty is to keep critters at bay! Ha Ha!
An update on the tiny composter. He has been moved outside and is filled to the gills! We even have a backup of leaves to refill him with when the time comes. Every three days I faithfully add my vegetable leftovers to the mix and rotate him three times. It is like making a wish now. Fill him up, make a wish and rotate three times. My wish is to get beautiful compost when it finally gets hot enough to really start breaking all those nutrients down!
Now, about a book this week. I decided that I am never going to have an English Garden and I should further educate myself on gardens in the South. I was re-reading one of Elizabeth Lawrence’s books and she mentioned several times, how helpful Eudora Welty, another Southern gardener, had been to her. I will introduce you to Elizabeth Lawrence’s books in future posts. I had NEVER heard of Eudora Welty. It turns out she was a prolific gardener and writer. I am in the process of reading , One Writer’s Garden. What do I like about the book you ask? It documents her mother’s garden from the 1920’s and beyond, so I am learning the old common names of plants (the Southern Names of Plants), as well as their Latin ones. Like Elizabeth Lawrence, Eudora never married, was highly educated, and traveled extensively, but always returned to her roots. She wrote about what she knew best: gardening in Jackson, Mississippi and the people that lived there. Both women were similar in the ways they lived out their lives, in their childhood home and gardens. Both took care of their mothers, when they could no longer take care of themselves. They talked about the bulbs and flowers that I have in my garden now. They talked about the weather, their friends and neighbors, their loves, the ways of the world ( WWI, WWII and Vietnam) and wrote letters (oodles and oodles of letters back and forth to gardeners everywhere!) They discussed health problems and treatments (as a nurse I was amazed and appalled at some of the treatments that were available. We have come a long way in a short period of time.) One Writer’s Garden, is written by Susan Haltom and Jane Roy Brown. Susan interviewed Eudora Welty before her death and received permission to use her personal archive of notes and letters to write a book, with one stipulation. Susan had to return the garden into the state it was in, in it’s hay-day. Which she did. The book is written in four sections: Spring, 1920’s, Summer, 1930’s, Fall, 1940’s and Winter, Postwar and Beyond. The photography of the garden with photos taken by Eudora and photos of the present garden, are beautiful. Throughout the book are scattered writings from Eudora’s books, writings gleaned from her garden and her imagination. At the end of each chapter is a tidbit. Who doesn’t love a tidbit? One of my favorites, was why Eudora’s mother did not like magenta flowers. She would bypass the streets in Jackson that had “too many magenta flowers,” especially the magenta colored phlox. What was the explanation? Her mother was keen on and read extensively about Gertrude Jekyll. Gertrude Jekyll and many other worthy English gardeners hated the “Malignant Magentas,” as they called them. One of the reasons, according to the Garden History Society Journal, (Volume 28, No.2, Winter 2000), arsenic was a pesticide used in the garden. The arsenic turned the foliage and flowers a magenta color, so you would know which plants had been sprayed. The Green Movement was on! Gertrude wanted no part in it and voiced her distain and banishment of any natural colored magenta plant from her garden, so no one would think she used such abhorrent pesticides. Eudora’s mother only knew, if Gertrude didn’t like magenta that was good enough reason for her not to like magenta either. And on and on it goes. This is a good read! I won’t share any more, so as not to spoil it for you, but if you like gardening, writing, history and photography, this book is a treat!
My final SIX for today is the rock we uncovered after raking ten years of leaves from parts of the Woodland Garden. I looked at it and thought he looked like a croc or is it an alligator? Anyway, I am hoping he might put a scare into the deer that like to feast on my hostas in the Woodland Garden……….one can always hope! I have named him Humphrey!
Well, that is my not-so-short and sweet SOS for today! I look forward to seeing you in the garden.
Won’t you join us with your SOS?
The instructions for SOS are easy. The photos can be flowers, vegetables, a garden design, whatever, as long as it’s garden related and posted on Saturday! So, it’s six photos . Of Gardens. On Saturday. Easy Peasy. To see all the SOS’s look at SIX ON SATURDAY, hosted by the Propagator, to check out all of them each Saturday! See you next week in another spot!