I’m not the best at waiting. Like a lot of people, I value efficiency. I want things to happen when I want them to happen (that seldom works as I hope it will).
The one place where I seem to not mind waiting is in the garden. We didn’t actually have much of a winter here; the flowering quince bloomed sporadically from November until now. The hydrangeas leafed out twice and got blown back by freezes. The witch hazel, on the other hand, offered up only about four flowers; I presume it didn’t have enough chilling hours to produce a show. But a few plants wait patiently, and I watch them waiting.
I love curled fern fronds. The idea that this spiral, like those of pinecones or aloes or many other plants, follow the mathematics of the Fibonacci sequence, fills me with wonder. I take as much delight in staring at this lump in the ground and thinking about the mathematics replicated throughout the natural world, as I do in admiring their feathery green fronds after a summer rainstorm.
I acquired this mystery houseplant (yes, yes, it’s not in the garden, technically….) from a friend on a gardening listserv in my area. She didn’t know its name, either. It replicates itself by forming babies on the periphery of the leaves, then the main stem of the plant falls over and dies and the babies root. In the background of the photo, you can see the withering stem of its sister who already reproduced and shuffled off her mortal coil. I’m waiting every day for the big one to do the same. I feel slightly vicious, anticipating this plant’s death (it never did anything to me other than please me), but it’s exciting, a bit like watching a tree fall in slow-motion.
I have been waiting for this nickel-sized bloom for two years. I love primulas but never had success growing them from seed. Most instructions advise sowing the seed directly in the garden in early spring.
Following those instructions got me nowhere. Two years ago, I learned to sow the seed in August, in a pot outdoors, and let it overwinter exposed more or less to the elements. I kept mine in a cold frame whose windows are a bit leaky, particularly when I forget from time to time to close them.
Success! I transplanted about a dozen seedlings and kept them watered particularly through the hot summers. A few weeks ago, I saw the first tiny little bud. I squealed like a toddler and frightened the dog.
I tell you, I am absurdly proud of this tiny little flower. I hope its siblings will bloom soon. But if not, that’s okay, too. I will wait.
February makes me feel dreary and heavy. Every winter I pledge to plant something the following fall (when the new plants can establish without the stresses of summer heat) that will keep me cheered up in the winter to come.
Yesterday I began to make good on that pledge. I also got started on transplanting things that did okay this year, but might perform better next year with a bit more sun, or perhaps a bit more shade.
Chamaecyparis ‘Gold Mop’ now resides in a bed just off the deck, where I can enjoy it from the breakfast table. It will get 3-5′ high and wide in time. It’s back isguarded by Panicum ‘Dallas Blues’ and semi-evergreen Lonicera fragrantissima.
To make space for ‘Gold Mop,’ I had to dig up some peonies (‘Raspberry Sundae,’ I think?) that can join some compatriots in the front yard, as well as some Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low.’ I divided both plants to about four or five parts. Honestly, there is nothing easier in the plant world than ‘Walker’s Low.’ I also transplanted a salvia that was in too much shade and Salvia puberula, also known as rosebud sage, which I grew from a cutting taken earlier this summer. I think their fuchsia shades will look dynamite next to the golden yellow of ‘Gold Mop.’
I’ve also got a Symphotrichum oblingifolium ‘Fanny’s Aster’ nearby that will complement the salvias and chamaecyparis. It suffered in August this year when we went basically a month without rain, but with temps in the high 90s. It’s going to sleep this fall, but check back next year.