Friday, June 10, 2011

New Place, Same Face

Hello! Thanks for visiting me at my new address. You may be wondering why or how I decided to change my blog name, but the above picture will give you a clue. Currently on display in a large way at our house are foxglove and columbine. And what I love best is that it's an all volunteer army!

As you've probably guessed by now, I've never met a volunteer I didn't like and I have a hard time pulling them out even when they root in unwanted places. I am a gardener that loves order and so the prolific tendencies of some plant species create a real conflict for me. Let me show you what I mean.

The Encroachers

I've entitled this photo, The Encroachers with good reason. These columbine, though lovely, are positively trespassing! They have pushed themselves into a space rightfully occupied by some very old peonies. Yet I am loathe to yank them out. Perhaps you are wondering why I don't attempt a transplant. Honestly the best way to propagate columbine is by seed. I have never had good luck moving a volunteer columbine to a new spot. I think this is because they are agressive self seeders and the plants that thrive do so because the seeds have landed in precisely the right growing conditions. My attempts to replicate these conditions would be hit or miss at best.

I first learned of columbine when we moved to a large property in suburban St. Louis 25 years ago. As you know I had never experienced the joys of perennial gardening during my young life in Southern California. So during our first spring on this 4 acre, rather rural property, I discovered the ever-enchanting foxglove, bobbing their cute little blossoms in the breeze. It was love at first sight. As legend has it, foxglove are home to garden fairies. If fairies are real I do believe they live here.

I feel the same about foxglove even though they are likely to pop-up anywhere and they rarely survive a move. I just let them go even when their presence in my otherwise manicured beds creates a temporary sense of chaos. They are so prolific in the cool weather of the Pacific Northwest. It is the lucky tourist who visits our island in late spring when the columbine, which line the highway, are at the height of bloom. It's spectacular.

I have a good friend, Sharon, that lives on an amazing one acre, near the center of Anacortes. Her water view is breathtaking as well as her landscape. A few years ago volunteer foxglove of every color went absolutely wild in a section of her yard. When they were in bloom this was an unparalleled panorama of loveliness. I have never before or since witnessed such an unexpected and unplanned splash of color. Sharon told me that she and her husband BJ had no clue about what they were and when they first appeared en mass, she wanted to call our Master Gardener friend Laurie (you met Laurie in my previous post) to come over and tell her what was happening. Sharon was planning to dig them up! Once they set their buds she realized they were foxglove. She and BJ were astounded, as were the rest of us. It was sincerely unbelievable. By the way, this phenomenon was a single event; and thus a true gift.

So now you know the origin of my new name. I looked outside a few days ago at the foxglove and columbine blooming side by side in a spot I refer to as 'the secret garden'. And you know, it was a light bulb moment. A big, "ah ha"! And I decided then and there to reemerge with a new identity.

I hope you like it. And I hope you like reading Foxglove and Columbine and that if you feel so led, you will pass my link on to readers of like mind.

Have a wonderful weekend! Despite our conspicuous lack of sunshine, I'm off to do some watering. Maybe I'll have a personal encounter with a fairy. If I do, I'll be sure and let you know.

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