The recent heat wave may have been a bit extreme, but at this moment I’m sitting inside with a blanket pulled up to my chin. It’s not that I’m feeling under the weather. Instead, I’m feeling the weather. I think when the heat wave broke, it also broke summer. Clouds, rain, and cool temperatures have been the order of the day. The last few days, actually.
What’s a cold gardener to do?
When children recite, “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?” perhaps a more appropriate question would be, “From where does your garden grow?” That’s the question I ‘m asking myself this Columbus Day weekend after reading the best-selling new book 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, by Charles C. Mann. This meticulously researched book examines the world after Columbus set foot in North America.
While Columbus certainly has his critics, there can be no mistaking that his arrival in the New World placed the entire world on the globalization frontier. The author’s position is that much of what we enjoy today can be traced back to what he calls the Columbian Exchange, a means of moving plants and seeds and animals from one part of the world to another part. It is why, for example, that tomatoes arrived in Italy and citrus arrived in Florida. So much of what we take for granted wasn’t always so; and much of it would not be if Columbus had not set the process in motion.
I myself am a bit of a mutt: English, Scottish, German, French, and Italian. My paternal ancestors arrived in North America in 1675; my maternal great-grandfather entered through Ellis Island. While this is my gene pool, I wonder just how diverse and worldly is my garden?
Thanks to the Internet and Google, I learned that what I plant has traveled a long way to be planted. In fact, my garden could be a lesson for world leaders seeking peace. Although it heavily favors Asia and Central and South Americas, there is little conflict in plants from many lands successfully sharing common ground. (Note to self: bring Australia into the mix, but wait until full-out global warming for Antarctica to come into bloom.)
And to think my melting pot only took 518 years — and still counting — to plant.
Happy Columbus Day — and enjoy the weekend in the garden.
There’s a lot happening in these early days of August, and here are some photos to prove it.
Gladioli Take The Stage:
I Canna Live Without You
- My favorite Canna of them all: red leaves and red flowers.
We arrived home late last night, and the first thing I did today was to take a walk around the yard. Joe’s mom did an excellent job at keeping things alive during our brief heatwave. I cannot believe what popped while we were away for only a few days. I thought I would share my findings here.
This lacecap Hydrangea impresses me each year. First, because of the violet color. Second, because of the size of the flowers.
One of my favorite easy-to-grow-from-seed flowers: Cosmos. Please excuse the shriveled one -- it's been a hot couple of days.
I'm not sure of the name of this plant, and I'm not sure if it's a curse or a blessing. It's practically invasive, spreading by means of runners. The clumps of pink flowers, however, are sweetly smelling and perfume the air, especially at night.
This is my reward for saving this Geranium each year. I actually planted this from seed several years ago, and I cannot part with the hot color.
I decided to give Sunflowers another try. According to the seed packet, this is "Italian White." Does this look white to you? Is yellow the new white in Italy?
Meet Nelly Moser. I thought I lost this Clematis over the winter after a wind storm ripped the trellis out of the ground. I put the trellis back into the ground, and "Whoa, Nelly," she returned.
I planted Morning Glory seeds around the same trellis as Nelly Moser. This is a double flowering variety.
Normally, I stick with traditional red Geraniums. This year, I started white ones from seed, and I'm glad I did. Seeing them poolside reminds me of the colors of Santorini.
Campanula ready to burst open.
Please, humor me with another Hydrangea photo. This is just outside of the front door, and began as one those Easter gift plants that was forced to bloom too early.