Saturday, July 3, 2010

Where else would I be?

The purple in the foreground is penstemon, the red is Maltese Cross. The purple in back is Baptisia australis.  The spiky foliage up front is blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens).
Normally, I wouldn't recommend mixing purple and red like this, but for some reason I find this particular combination appealing. The red Maltese Cross (Lychnis chalcedonica) has moved itself about the bed, situating itself wherever it feels most comfortable -- this year that's pretty much in the middle of a stand of phlox (not yet in bloom) right next to purple penstemon (not sure of the variety). The plants seem to have made their peace with each other in a loud, semi-obnoxious sort of way. It's not co-existence for the faint of heart, but they do manage to get along nonetheless. Surprise, diversity and tolerance all grow here.

A boatload of blooms like these and a couple of days of summer sunshine and I'm reminded of a conversation several Julys ago with a former colleague. I had just returned to work from a week's vacation and John was asking me what I did with my time off. I stayed home, I told him, and did odds and ends around the house and garden. You know, I said, this time of year there's really no place else I'd rather be.

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I was struck by how true they were. When had that happened? When had my roots gotten so deep?

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