One Last Time
A few days ago, I left my August garden one last time for the 600-mile drive south to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for my last year of teaching at Gettysburg College. Leaving the garden in August is always hard. This year, several plants (particularly mid-late season daylilies) that would normally be done blooming still had flowers; and other flowers that I normally count on seeing before I leave (for example, Phlox paniculata ‘David’) had not yet begun.
As I often do, I went through the garden before I drove away and cut some flowers to take with me, putting them in a few inches of water in a plastic container that I then wedged in among the houseplants on the floor of the front passenger seat. This year, my little bouquet included Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne,” Heliopsis helianthoides (false sunflower), ‘Floristan White’ liatris, three different colors of balloon flower (including the white ones, which have done exceptionally well this year), and the last buds of two different daylilies – ‘Orange Bounty’ and an unidentified ruffled yellow cultivar that is wonderfully fragrant. These cut flowers, which are now gracing the living room of my Gettysburg townhouse, help me make the transition away from my Maine garden.
The flip side of leaving my Maine garden is returning to my small Gettysburg garden. I always feel a little frisson of excitement/fear as I approach the end of the trip, wondering what I will find. Some years, there are unpleasant surprises – like the year I returned to find that bindweed growing from the neighbor’s garden had completely smothered my front flower bed and was growing up my front door! But there may also be unexpected delights – like last year, when I discovered that my landlord had removed two large plants (arbor vitae and yew) that dominated and darkened the front entrance to the house and replaced them with more suitably sized shrubs (boxwood and nandina).
This year brought both pleasant surprises and disappointments. I was greeted at the front of the house by colorful annuals blooming in a container, by flowers of two reblooming daylilies (‘Happy Returns’ and ‘Final Touch’ – both of which also grow in my Maine garden) and by flowers on a variegated hosta that has been barely hanging on for ten years, but that has finally gotten established now that it is no longer competing with the overgrown yew. I can also see that the nandina bloomed this summer and will have colorful berries in the fall.
Daylily ‘Sandra Elizabeth,’ which has not yet begun to flower in my Maine garden, is blooming here. Even better, ‘Olallie Star,’ which I have not seen in bloom for a decade because it has usually finished before I get back, is blooming later than usual this year (and looks quite different than I remembered!). This is one of several daylilies that I will either dig up or divide in the spring and take back with me for my Maine garden. It’s a pleasure to get up each morning and look out at the back garden to see what’s happening there.
Four years ago today, the first post of Jean’s Garden appeared in the blogosphere. I have been so distracted by the transition back to Gettysburg and preparations for my last year of teaching that I would have missed this anniversary except for a note of congratulations from WordPress that appeared this afternoon in my email. It would have been a shame to miss my blog anniversary because blogging has enriched my life in so many ways, including new friends, improved knowledge of gardening, and a deeper experience and appreciation of my garden.