My father, being from Wisconsin farm country, used to quote a German proverb that ‘A farmer does not eat what he does not know.’ Similarly I have found that a ‘gardener does not know what a gardener does not grow.’ When friends and family ask questions about plants I have not grown myself, I may know the “book learning” on it, but find only a “personal relationship” leads to true understanding and appreciation. Given this my vow has been to broaden my horizons but being of a lazy nature at times, I am usually only pushed along when a friend hands me a packet of seeds or some seedlings and I feel obligated to plant them.
And so, this season I have a few new plant experiences. The first is (and don’t laugh) withcosmos – an old fashioned cottage annual to be sure. My sister gave me a little baggie of seeds from her plants. They sat on my potting bench for a while but this spring, feeling guilty and not wanting to throw them out, I sprinkled them in a shallow tray and set them outside. The little seedling grew gallantly and then feeling even more guilt (jeez), I broke up the tray into little chunks and stuck them where ever there was a patch of ground (tough love thing).
Oh, how they have wormed their way into my heart. Through serendipity one group ended up at the foot of dark purple Buddleia davidii and next to another new garden new comer, Mirabilis jalapa (four o’clock flower).
Mirabilis is another old-fashioned plant and earns it’s name from its fragrant flowers that open in late afternoon and close the next morning. A gardener friend gave me the seedlings and I stuck them into the same empty spot next to the cosmos.
Now both of these new additions tends to reseed prolifically so I expect they will be a part of the repertoire for years to come. Both come in a range of colors and next year I plan to experiment some more.