Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring Blow by gillian garro

                                   Disporum hookeri, Fairy Bells

Every day now for the past month something new has opened up or popped up or perked up in our garden.

My husband, Terrel, who is a botanist, ecologist and entomologist to say nothing of a passionate gardener, has led a steady campaign to populate our garden with local native plants and to welcome their attending population of insects and birds.

Mostly that's what we've done, yet we've both agreed to an assortment of essential edibles – we do like to eat – and along with my support for native habitat, I have proved unable to resist various exotic wonders that have settled comfortably in among the locals– Freesias! Sacred Incan Sage! Bolivian Fuchsia! Well, yeaah.

                                                                                                                           Lachenalia and Freesia
So here we are, trying to keep the peace and create a small slice of urban interspecies habitat. The bees are happy here, so are the birds. The cats are happy. The raccoons and possums seem pretty much at home – especially when the fruit ripens. And of course, the demon squirrels......I'll say no more.

Today I went out with my camera to survey what was in bloom.  Exotic highlights included an abundance of the aforementioned Freesia, a yummy orange Lachenalia, and a "Metallic Blue Lady" Hellebore spreading out under our apple tree.

                                                                                                Helleborus Metallic Blue Lady with Freesia
In the native realm I noted:
     Annual wildflowers: Red Maids, Baby Blue eyes, Tidy Tips and Cream Cups
     Perennials:  Island Alum root, Hummingbird Sage, Buttercup, Fairy Bell, Bleeding Heart, Lomatium
     Shrubs:  Pink flowering and Golden Currants, Monkeyflower, Blueblossom, Coffeeberry, Huckleberry, Manzanita, and Antelope Bitterbrush (smells better than anything).
                      Stylomecon heterophylla, Cream Cups
Spring's momentum was compelling. Amidst this cheery blow, buds were swelling, basal clumps of Aster and Goldenrod fattened for their late-season show, thickening clumps of Fescue and Melic Grass textured the beds and a saucy crowd of male catkins dangled from the Hazelnut.

Happily I fell into the garden's cycle – the flowers yielding to fat fruits that would burst and scatter seed; the open alluring husks; the bare limbs; long dormancies in the dark earth and roots extending deep down to rich mineral veins. I thought about the animals whose lives meticulously meshed with plants and soil, with the caprice of sun, air and water. 

I remembered how much we all need one another.

                                                                                                              Mimulus puniceus, Monkeyflower



Coming soon:  Terrel's account of insect life in the garden!