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Sweet Pea that has run wild

It is a rich, full-bodied whistle,

cracked ice crunching in pails,

the night that numbs the leaf,

the duel of two nightingales,

the sweet pea that has run wild,

Creation's tears in shoulder blades

--Boris Pasternak, "Definition of Poetry"

We're still in the middle of nights that have the potential to numb leaves, but my sweet peas are starting to bloom, even the smaller ones nearly a foot tall.

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a winter surprise

Oooh, I love surprises. There have been so many of them in my garden, things I never planted, or remember planting, springing up out of nowhere. Our very long driveway is lined with a patchy, weedy mess that is slowly eroding away but at one point someone had gardened there.

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succombing to the blowers

Blowers are a nuisance, and I'm sure many agree with me. Perhaps in the country or in the suburbs they might have a more innocuous presence but here in the city, the sound of big gas blowers is overwhelming. Worse than the garbage trucks. It ricochets for blocks.

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Bluebonnet

The state flower of Texas, and the glory of the spring. No roadside or edge of a ranch, or even small garden like mine feels complete without them. Bluebonnets are diminutive lupines, but look stunning in mass. While they’re the essence of meadow in Texas, they’re also very pretty in carefully arranged garden beds.

Bluebonnets are sown in fall, and occasionally you can find them as nursery-grown annuals, but the seed is so widely available and easy to sow, that it’s worth it to always try some every year. Read more

The Texas Bluebell, the Eustoma, or a tale of Latin Names

OK, just to get this out of the way, a little Latin lesson. Some days I feel like a gardener, and others a scientist. My husband calls it my right-brain/left-brain garden. When researching wildflowers, the first problem one gets into is in the matter of names. Flowers have different common names all over the world, and the more this world piles its information online, the more confusing it can get.

Latin names help us get this confusion out of the way, but I admit they are rather boring to most people, sometimes just down right goofy. The gardening world now persists in calling Ranunculus "ranunculus" rather than its much more fitting common name "Persian Buttercup". But then, people might get Buttercup confused with Narcissus, which is what we called "Buttercups" as children where I grew up, and what others in the South call Jonquils or you call Daffodils. Ahh, never mind.

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on a hunt for daisy-ness

Daisy: Any of several plants of the Composite/Aster family, especially a widely naturalized Eurasian plant (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) having flower heads with a yellow center and white rays. Also called oxeye daisy, white daisy. Before 1000, known in Middle English as dayesye, and in Old English as dægesēge.

When I think of wildflowers, daisies and poppies are the first that come to mind. What fantasy wildflower meadow would be complete without either of them? The "day's eye" is especially the essence of meadow cheer, flowers that open with the sun and close at night.

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Sweet Peas

These lovely, childlike highly fragrant flowers have become already one of my garden obsessions. I ordered almost 30 different types of varieties by seed, while really only having room to grow about five. And this was never having seen a sweet pea before. But I am not alone, I have read many stories of other gardeners who fell to the same captivation by sweet peas, after seeing a photo in a catalog or gardening magazine. And I wonder why, for such a delicate flower? Read more

German Chamomile

There are two kinds of chamomile grown for tea, one commonly called Roman or English chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). There are gardeners in some parts of the world that carefully cultivate this kind into an oh-so-romantic-sounding “Chamomile lawn”. Imagine walking and playing on a carpet of fragrant daisies. Read more

Clotilde Soupert

This is a beautiful Polyantha rose, a group of roses with petite blossoms and form. Although not quite miniature roses, they are quite different than your average rose shrub. (As if roses are anything average!) Other famous Polyanthas include Cecile Brunner, Marie Pavie and her sister Marie Daly, Pinkie and The Fairy. While most of the time they are diminutive in form, barely reaching above three or four feet, many of them have been developed as climbing sports; Cecile Brunner’s climbing variety tends to be more popular than its original compact shrub. Read more

Duchesse de Brabant

My one-year-old Duchesse de Brabant is bound to become my favorite rose. I have only seen about five blooms total on it but it is just one of those promises of greatness. Already it grows in a shape that I like, tall but elegantly loose. Unlike Hybrid Teas or my favorite David Austin “Heritage” rose, it is not stiff, nor are the blooms upright cups. It is not slouchy, though. I guess I would describe it the way a bias-cut silk dress fits, shaped but draping and billowing when it needs to. Read more