Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about love and late-summer flowers. I’m not sure what brought on these musings, but I think it may have something to do with turning the big double nickel last week.
I’m a late-summer flower myself.
I’m also helping my mother sell her home and move into independent living, letting my children grow up and turning my mothering to Monarch caterpillars. I’ve watched the devastation of two hurricanes in the news with alarm, resignation and then love and admiration for those who helped. Plus, I finished listening to the S-Town podcast and read Y is for Yesterday (A Kinsey Millhone Novel), by Sue Grafton, on my birthday.
It’s the beginning of May. Sorry I haven’t written in a couple of weeks. You must forgive me. Like the garden, I am gathering my strength, girding my loins, and getting ready to launch myself and the garden into June. We are facing the calendar and weather with courage, the kind that’s said its prayers.
We have weddings and graduations in May and a regional daylily garden tour in June. We are fixing fences, building beds and borders, and weeding, always weeding. Anything we can’t fix, we will cover with mulch and call it good. We are fluffing with abandon.
Most of the garden is in its green phase between the last of the fall-planted/spring-blooming bulbs and the daylilies. It is my least favorite time because I find all that bulb foliage very distracting and messy. Still, I let it do its thing so I’ll have more flowers next spring. Ignore the bulb foliage and let it die a natural death before removing. Don’t cut it back no matter how much it irritates you.
One of the few plants blooming with abandon are the Byzantine glads, Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus. They are unabashedly hot pink and wave their petals in the air like they just don’t care. If you live in Zone 6 or further south, you should grow these lovelies. I’m making a note to buy more from Old House Gardens this fall.
My daughter, Megan, known here as the Diva, is getting married tomorrow. I am thrilled for her and Robert, her fiance. Lots of changes in our family this year. A May wedding is a splendid thing. I married my sweetheart twenty-eight years ago on May 12.
May is a beautiful time even if the Oklahoma weather is acting like Seattle or merry old England this year. It’s been cold, wet and rainy for days, but I see that blue skies are forecast for tomorrow and the week ahead. What a happy occasion it will be!
The garden senses the change in weather too. Right now, it’s a garden in waiting. The tropical plants which began so strong in late April are looking for wool coats, but as I said, next week is supposed to be better. At my house, we’ve had copious amounts of rain, six inches one week and three inches the next. I think we got another inch two days ago.
Click on the photos in the gallery to make them larger and see the captions better.
Rosa White Meidiland, a disease-free favorite shrub rose every year.
Rosa ‘South Africa’ is my favorite Hybrid Tea rose. These shiny leaves hardly ever have blackspot, and it’s been untouched by Rose Rosette despite being near two shrubs that died from RRD and were removed. It has dieback every spring, but roars back strong after the offending canes are removed.
Rosa ‘Sophy’s Rose,’ an older David Austin variety I’ve grown since its introduction in 1997.
Rosa ‘Peggy Martin,’ the famous climber that survived a hurricane. All southerners should grown this one if they have room.
Rosa ‘Graham Thomas’ with Black Lace Sambucus (elderberry.)
It’s been cold for May, from 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit with cloudy skies. Where are you oh Death Star, ahem, Mr. Sun?
Clematis John Paul II, a magnificent clematis from Polish breeder Brother Stefan Francsak. This clematis clambers up a green chicken wire fence and into ‘Carefree Beauty.’
Another view of John Paul II clematis.
Clematis ‘Niobe’ clambering through my apricot climbing mystery rose.
Rosa ‘Darcey Bussell’ with Our Lady. ‘Darcey Bussell’ is another David Austin introduction.
Apricot mystery rose with ‘Niobe’ clematis. What a sweet dichotomy I planted here. Occasionally, a plan works as you want it.
The roses and clematis have no complaints except some mummified blooms on the multipetaled roses. They have trouble opening in cold and rainy weather, and thrips don’t help matters. Clematis clamber and climb through the roses as if they’re never faced a hot and brutal sun before. I must laugh at the vagrancies of an Oklahoma spring and at the positive outlook plants seem to have.
Ahhhh, an Oklahoma spring . . . gardeners just never know what they’re going to get. This year, Seattle and London, next year, maybe Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Like the proverbial Boy Scout, a gardener must always be prepared.
Hint: you should also learn to go with the flow.
Remember how I was going to share the building of my raised beds? I still will, but well, my sweet son worked so hard on getting the soil just right, and then tempestuous rains came. Six inches in a few hours compacted the soil where I’d planted cut-flower seeds like zinnias, cosmos, celosia, amaranth and bells of Ireland. Some seeds washed away, while tomato plants shivered. I’m just glad we lined the beds with landscape cloth, or it would have all washed away, down the hill and into the lower pasture.
There was a time when I would be dismayed, but I’ve learned to shrug my shoulders and go on. The rains come. The rains go. We can’t control the rain
Instead, let us be happy come what may. Also, blessed be gardens and weddings in May.