For passionate and ever optimistic gardeners and hort heads March is the month of endless waiting. Not unlike Estragon
and Vladimir, characters in Samuel Beckett’s iconoclastic existentialist play “Waiting for Godot” we are
ever hopeful. While they anticipated divining the full meaning of life we anxiously await the arrival of parcels filled to
the brim with baby plants or packets of seed – the tangible signs of hope for all gardeners.
this time of year the distinctive low pitched rumble of a Federal Express or United Parcel Service truck is cause to abandon
work and rush to the window to see if this is the moment of truth. My almost daily conversation with our mail carrier assumes
a note of urgency I as inquire in a high- pitched whine if perhaps, today, he has a package or large, stuffed envelope for
The actual contents of the parcels yet to come were ordered
months ago. Every year in the throes of holiday madness I stay somewhat sane by devouring the contents of all the new arrived
mail order plant and seed catalogs. Tantalizing purple prose and overly tinted color pictures lure me right down the garden
path. Piles of catalogs cover my desk spilling onto the floor. At the midnight hour I crawl into bed happy to rest my aching
body but unable to turn out the light. In the still of the night vivid descriptions of plants from all over the globe incite
me to rethink my version of paradise. With each new entry on the order form I am revising the garden of my dreams hoping
that each new plant can help disguise my shortcomings as a gardener and designer.
three- strike rule of sorts prevails in my garden. Trying to discipline myself and not waste too much time and money I allow
new plants three tries at becoming established in the garden before I give up and admit that conditions aren’t right
and admit my failures as a gardener.
a woodland groundcover from China, has succumbed twice already probably due to lack of summer water. Every time I become
reacquainted with its lovely felted round leaves and vivid chartreuse flower heads in the garden at Heronswood I vow to return
home and find that perfect spot where it will thrive. Ever the optimist it has once again been ordered and I know in my heart
of hearts that for this plant the third time will be charmed.
am a sucker for hardy geraniums. Geranium phaeum ‘Ring of Fire’ caught my eye in the Heronswood catalog lovingly
described by Dan Hinkley as possessing “a flash of golden yellow foliage in spring, accentuated by a central zoning
of bright red.” How could I possibly resist this beauty. Or how about Geranium ‘Rozanne’which has “handsome
deep green lightly marbled foliage”… and “a flurry of large saucer-shaped violet-blue flowers.” Of
course I have just the spot for this long blooming lovely.
comes to seeds, my eyes always imagine more space than actually exists, so seedling annuals tend to end up in pots rather
than in the ground. Pennisetum glaucum ‘Purple Majesty,’ an ornamental millet is poised to take the hort world
by storm this year. Deep purple seeds heads and dark, dusky foliage characterize this annual new addition to the designer’s
palette. With my luck the seed catalog will be sold out and they will be unable to fill my order.
are just too many good plants and not enough time, garden space or money. However, I remain ever hopeful that this spring’s
deliveries will thrive becoming part of the living tapestry of the garden.