Garden madness has begun...very hard to focus on anything else, and certainly not on renovation. Last Tuesday unleashed the fevered hordes upon the member's-only preview of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's annual plant sale...code for which, in the CrazyStable, is "Out of Control!" (Me, that is.) This year I scored a parking spot and a red wagon, which the Child hauled dutifully around the Cherry Esplanade as I drooled and sniffed and slavered.
I had made my usual resolution, drawn from all those garden-porn magazines, to buy drifts of things, not just loners to plug in here and there...and was hindered, as usual, by the painful realization that drifts of things quickly rack up at the cash register. So three is a drift, okay? Got three yellow spreading thingies that a lady recommended...three more creeping phlox, since the phlox out front is flourishing even under the ironclad maple domination of Rootbeard the Ent...and, of course, a few tomatoes, even though the raspberry canes have marched into the tomato bed and I don't know how to resolve the incursion. Was tempted by the enchantingly named heirloom tomato "Mortgage Lifter," but I tried it last year, and not only did it not lift the mortgage, it didn't even set fruit until nearly frost. (So what if I didn't plant it til late July--we don't pay the mortgage off til we're 71 anyway.) We also hauled home 5 four-packs of impatiens for the Child's class to pot up at a botany workshop yesterday, and a monstrous fuschia whose drooping globs of flowers were cheerfully slaughtered by the Fifth Grade in the name of stamen-and-pistil-dissection. (I was a docent at the BBG for years, and old habits die hard.)
The Plant Sale often spurs me to my first panicked gardening of the year, but warm weather had drawn me out of my badger-den early (well, okay, last week), and I actually planted some stuff bought last year that survived the winter in pots. (The guilt, the guilt.) I stuck a new Coral Bells into the "woodland garden" taking shape in the long-desolate "Back 40," a deeply shaded yard-corner that, left to its own devices, grows plastic bags, ragweed, and packing peanuts. The idea is to use the leftover pavers from the driveway project to make a tiny patio just big enough for a cafe table for 2...except that laying these pavers will require leveling them with a layer of builder's sand, which we haven't managed yet. (The cement trough in the background is supposed to be my Early Spring Greens container garden, but I haven't dragged it into the sun yet, and when I do, I suspect Bagel will consume Squirrel Mesclun as fast I can sprout it.)
And now, for the first Rose Update...I did not buy any more roses at the BBG Plant Sale. (Alright, I bought 2 of them at the Gift Shop 2 weeks ago, which doesn't count.) Both are climbers: Climbing Don Juan (which sounds like a silent film comedy title), who is red, and the unfortunately named but highly regarded yellow rambler, Golden Showers. My fantasy is that Don Juan will climb across the derelict garage with its new, Law-and-Order-set cottage exterior, helped by a scaffold of lattice, but planting it close enough will require breaking cement. (Yep, can't plant a rose without a sledgehammer.) But Goldie (as I will call it) is envisioned as a swath of sunny blossoms in the driveway/over the porch rail, and I planted it last week in a spot where a baby lilac had been languishing, a lilac bought as a twig at the Philadelphia Flower Show 3 years ago. The poor lilac had to go somewhere (preferably out of competition with the Ent's steel-wool root mat)...but where? Needless to say, Walt Whitman had the answer, so I popped it into the closest thing we have to a "dooryard." (Note the one tulip that Bagel has not eaten--maybe cherry-vanilla is not his favorite flavor.)
How many years before I lean my head against the doorframe and grab a handful of lilacs and start sniffing and go...Out of Control?
In the door-yard fronting an old farm-house, near the white-wash’d palings,
Stands the lilac bush, tall-growing, with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom, rising, delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle......and from this bush in the door-yard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms, and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig, with its flower, I break.
Walt Whitman, When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom’d