• Tag Archives hemerocallis
  • Changes Comin’

    Mid-Summer                                                            Waxing Honey Flow Moon

    Mark and I transplanted hemerocallis (daylily) from the tiered gardens in the back to a front bed defined by a bur oak now in its 17th year and a Norway pine equally old.  What we’re 06-28-10_earlyliliesdoing is gradually filling in spots on our grounds that seem to always require weeding, maintenance with plants that are hardy, go it alone types.  The hemerocallis, like the hosta, receive scorn from landscape designers and permaculture folks, but like all God’s creatures, they too have a place.  And their place is to grow in those places you don’t want to have to worry or fuss about.  As we get older, we plan to retire more and more beds to this kind of planting, reducing the ongoing work until we have only some vegetables in a raised bed or two and the orchard.  The rest will be in asiatic lilies, hemerocallis, hosta, bugbane, grasses, ferns, bulbs like tulips and daffodils, monkshod and various shrubs.

    We don’t want to nor do we need to get there all of a sudden.  We still love the bees, the vegetable garden, the orchard and the perennials, but realistically there will come a time when weeding, planting and transplanting will no longer be fun, but will turn into chores.  At that point we want to have grounds that correspond to our willingness and ability to care for them.

    Kate’s retirement has brought up a lot of these questions.  We love her retirement and the success she’s shown in recovering from her recent, second, hip replacement.  That means a lot of things that were too painful in the past, like long car rides and train trips, may become more possible.   So, we’re not shuttling back into the shell until the end, just trying to be realistic about life’s changes that are ahead and inevitable.

  • Blue Collar Plants

    Beltane                                                                          Waning Last Frost Moon

    The last day of May.  Where do the good times roll?

    This morning Mark and I worked on digging holes in a front bed (Mark) and digging, weeding and dividing hemerocallis, then transplanting them (me) into the holes dug in the front hemerocallis_just_sobed.  Hemerocallis (day lilies) are the blue collar workers of the perennial beds.  They work hard, are hardy and bloom like crazy in August.  They also have grow out, expanding their territories.  And they never die.  Hemerocallis are forever.

    I’ve gone through several different attitudes toward them.  At first I loved their variety and bought several different kinds, putting them in places where I wanted foliage most of the season and blooms during the particular periods when the variety bloomed.  That was good.  Then, they began to spread out, multiply, take up space, crowd out other plants.  That was bad.  So, I began to divide and transplant them, much as I did this morning, but with less thought.  Eventually this meant that I had not solved the problem, but spread it to different areas of the garden.  Duh.  So.  I stopped buying hemerocallis.  That was good.  I have given away dozens of clumps of various varieties and yet I have still more.  You can see  how a nursery person could learn to love hemerocallis.

    Now I have what I like to think is a mature attitude toward these sturdy plants.  When I need to crowd out weeds and have a bed that will no longer require attention, I reach into my ample supply of hemerocallis and dig, divide, transplant.  We now have a good working relationship because we understand each other.

  • Woodpeckers and The World of Ideas

    Lughnasa                             Waxing Harvest Moon

    All afternoon as I have wandered the precincts of Enlightenment thought a pileated woodpecker has drilled one of the dead trees in our woods.  The sound compels attention, a drummer of a truly ancient tribe with a steady and resonant sound.  Each time it comes I’m drawn away from the abstract world of ideas and the delicate process of translating thought into words.

    The woodpecker sounds push me away from the desk, here where I now have three desktop computers, two monitors, two large external hard drives, a router, a cable modem and a weather station in front of me, two printers and a phone off to my right.

    When I turn toward the sound, my gaze lights on the purple blossoms of clematis, a fragrance worthy of tiny glass stoppered bottles selling high and it’s mine to enjoy for free.  This plants is special, because it’s plant of origin was in the garden of a woman who died from breast cancer.  We got our plant several years ago and I have divided it many times.

    Then I notice the late afternoon sun, so low now.  By September 20th the earth will have moved enough along on its orbit that the angle between us and the sun will diminish to 46 degrees, a decrease of 23 degrees from its high at the Summer Solstice.   By December 20th it will decline another 24 degrees to its low of 22.  The angle casts interesting shadows, illuminates the clematis and a late hemerocallis bloom, a golden orange set on fire by our one and only true star.

    Both of these places, the abstract world of thought, nestled in that small yet infinitely large space between my ears, and the cabaret set with a woodpecker drumming and Sol doing the lights exist, yet the relationship between them has felled many trees and spilled gallons of ink.  In what way can my conception of reason, a chunky idea studded with links and nested in a web that includes Europe, the mind of God and the Lake Minnetonka Unitarian-Universalist Society, be like the woodpecker, its lattice combed skull vibrating with each pile driver punch driven in a quest for food?

    Its equivalence to the liquid, dying sunlight is more accessible, more plausible.  But why?  How does that sweet clematis fragrance fit?  It is all a mystery, yet here I sit writing about it.  Another mystery.

  • Laying Food By

    78  bar rises 29.99  4mph N dew-point 56  sunrise 6:03 sunset 8:34  Lughnasa

    Waxing Crescent of the Corn Moon

    “The rest of the beans will dry on the plants!” Kate said yesterday, her brow perspiring from work over a hot pressure canner.  Yes, the beans produce and produce and produce.  Canned green beans now stock our larder, companions to the tomatoes, pickles, jams and assorted other 19th century farm food self lay-bys she has made.  The beans which dry on the plant will get picked after the plant itself dies and the pods begin to crack open a bit.

    Later, as the snow flies, we’ll take those pods and thresh them, pick out the dried beans and pop them in hermetic glass jars.  Soups and other bean dishes to follow.

    With the first harvest festival already past the garden goes into overdrive, testing the patience of even Kate, a long time canner and freezer.  Tomatoes and cucumbers have begun to pop out and ripen, the spaghetti squash has several fruits on the way, the peppers have begun the slow process of maturation and a second crop of beets has about six inches of greens up already.  This is when the sweat and the soil preparation and the weeding and pruning all begin to yield results.  A good time.

    The hemerocallis, likewise, are in their glory:  many shades of purple in the front, orange and reds and yellows in the back and in the park.  Of course, I wonder how the garden will look when the Woollies come in two weeks.  I can’t recall that week from years past, but I imagine the daylilies will still be blooming and perhaps the clematis bushes will have begun to flower. I forget to mention here the begonias and geraniums, the sturdy plants that overwinter in the basement, moving happily outside after the last frost.  They add color and texture to the garden.

    Up late today, so I’ve got to get to Heresy Moves West.  Bye for now.