As often happens, another blogger has sent me following a particular train of thought. Kevin, AKA Nitty Gritty Dirt Man, posted some stimulating observations about home gardens and the “interesting” choices some gardeners make. I don’t want to poorly paraphrase Kevin’s points, so if you’re an avid home gardener I do hope you’ll pop over and read his witty post here. I think if you read his blog-thoughts you’ll know why I began thinking about my own garden pleasures.
I shared baby shower hosting duties with two friends this weekend, and with an unusually mild summer day, our backyard was put to good use. We have had several social gatherings this summer resulting in even more time and attention paid to garden detail and I wish it always looked as well manicured as it does right at this moment. It’s always gratifying to hear others experience the environment as inviting and comfortable, but when I asked several of the most complimentary guests if they, too, had gardens of their own, I was surprised at how quickly they said, “NO!” and shook their heads at how much work it takes, stating their “at home preference” for no-maintenance landscaping–make that lots of concrete!
Why is that? How could it be that the same people who directly spoke to me about how they felt “at peace” or “relaxed” and “unstressed” while sitting in my backyard have NO interest in following through with even simple garden beds of their own? Formal, informal, structured, manicured or just full of color and texture without a plan, a garden adds to my sense of personal well-being. I wonder why everyone doesn’t feel the same?
I took a few photos while walking around Balboa Island. Mild beach temperatures, plenty of sun, air, and water combined with loving attention from the homeowners, results in some beautiful color and very healthy plants.
Rudbeckia, or Black-Eyed Susan, is such a happy flower, don’t you think? One home garden was bathed in the color yellow and just made me smile!
I’m partial to orange flowers, and this confetti-colored hibiscus so caught my attention I’m going to try to hunt one down for my own yard.
I am enjoying the last week or so of my own colorful showstopper! My Plumeria, or Frangipani, has been beautiful this year. Most of the year it looks like nothing more than a tall, green stick! But from late spring through most of the summer I can count on a gorgeous display of color. I like color!
Plumeria flowers are most fragrant at night in order to lure sphinx moths for pollination purposes! I can attest to the fragrance, but don’t think I’ve noticed any sphinx moths lately. They are easily propagated, and this one was started from a “stick” we brought back from Hawaii ten years ago. You can’t visit Hawaii and ignore Plumeria…the flowers are used in making leis.
There are some interesting folk beliefs that make this beautiful, yet common flower a curious focal point. According to Chinese culture, the Plumeria symbolizes love and portrayal of feelings. In the Vietnamese culture, it represents status, and the Mayans reportedly considered Plumeria flowers to be associated with life and birth. Not quite as cheery as life and birth, but in southeastern Asia the belief is they provide shelter to ghosts and demons. The distinctive scent is associated with vampires in Malay folklore.
A Plumeria plant grows well in pots and is relatively easy to care for, so with over 300 named varieties to choose from, I wonder if you might be interested in growing a tropical plant, even if you live far from the Tropics. If you can protect it in the winter–and that’s when it looks just like a stick–you might just have some success!
I’m thinking of starting some plants to have as gifts! Next time one of my guests vociferously states that they “don’t do gardening” maybe I can jumpstart some container gardening enthusiasm with a gift of fragrant Plumeria. And next time you’re in a Hawaiian gift shop and you see those little sticks wrapped in a plastic bag, bring one home and stick it in some dirt. Sun, water and patience will reward you, I’m certain!
I’m breathing lighter just talking about it!
- Plumerias and progress….. (bloomingpoppies.wordpress.com)