It's been too long to pick up where I left off and how does one explain being invisible for the first half of 2015 anyway? It has been a strange and surprisingly eventful year; the kind of year that usually challenges a gardener to her limit.
It started with a heart attack followed days later by cardiac arrest. The only unusual thing about that is that it was the meds for the heart attack that caused the arrest. Talk about a mess, I was that, for most of the early part of the year. Still am.
And then once things settled down somewhat, Spring came and with it came more rain than anybody ever expected. Everything greened up and things started blooming and I couldn't get out there and do a thing about the weeds. The irises however were exceptionally beautiful. I could only sit back and enjoy the show.
I'm only going to post a link, it's well worth watching and it is self-explanatory. It is the Tree of 40 Fruit. Look at what one man is doing to preserve heirlooms. Takes about 5 minutes to watch.
Thank you LarryR.
My grandmother would say it's pert'n-nigh a Poe day. I don't know how she knew much about Poe, but I do remember she had shelf after shelf of books, old books, dusty from time, but treasures to her. She taught me to read from those books, long before I discovered The Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew. So somehow she knew about Edgar Allan Poe. And since 'The Raven' has been hanging out in the corners of my mind for more years than I bother to count, I must have known about Poe all those years too, because it is for sure a Poe day, pert'n-nigh. (For those who don't know, pert'n-nigh means pretty near. Yes, I do speak a whole 'nother language; it comes from the branches and hollers of the Appalachian mountains, right proud of it, too, I am.)
What a gorgeous day yesterday was, so beautiful I wanted to just grab hold of it and never let go. I watered and weeded and took pictures and did so much of nothing really, but it was an amazing day. A golden day, a once in a lifetime day; just free and easy and with a breeze that carried the hint of distant music. The only sound was the rustling of cottonwood leaves and maybe the red maple and the occasional musical tone. It was a day to just 'be'. Just be still and look and listen, to not think or worry or work. Just one great big beautiful day. I think maybe I could stay in that kind of day for a year or two and never want for another thing.
The thing is, I missed out on the gene that has a great desire to hybridize much of anything. I'm not sure why that is because I come from a whole line filled with gardeners who had acres and acres of knowledge. A few of them relied on a string of native plants that were both medicinal and edible. They all made their way into my genes, those plants and knowledge about them, but not the desire to create a new look for an old plant. Seems as if I simply love the old plants, those that go without makeup and grow in the spots that were created just for them.
Western Kentucky is quickly beginning to resemble a plains state, what with the hot, dry, windy summers; though this year it seems to be fighting back with a sudden burst of more rain. Even so, its climate will never be anywhere near the mountains I grew up in and I've given up trying to get Mountain Laurel and other mountain plants to grow here. This end of the state was not created for them. Instead I try to only keep plants that belong in this zone. Daylilies are plants that grow well in either climate, and I have a lot of them.
But back to genes and hybridizing. During the last four years of the 90s, I helped my uncle restore an old home in central Kentucky, about midway between my mountains and my present home in W KY. He had inherited the gardening gene, just as I did, and we both also loved to restore old homes and old furniture. At that time he was very active in a Daylily Society in Louisville and the old family home had about a hundred acres with it; most of those acres were covered in daylilies.
He and his daylily friends hybridized and sold seedlings at their gathering once a year; it was before many had internet so the sales took place at the home of one of the members. As I remember, the money mostly went to local charities. The seedlings that were left over from the sales came to live in the gardens of the old homeplace that we were restoring. Now I already had a lot of daylilies growing in my much smaller gardens in W KY. Most all of them came with me when I moved from the mountains of E KY; old ditchlilies, Kwansos, a salmon color, a peach and one that I think is Crimson Pirate, a very beautiful red that blooms first every year.
I remember being excited when his seedlings began to bloom, I'd never seen such a variety of color, even the shapes began to change and instead of being just one color, the new blooms were exotic with their petals of one color and their sepals of another. It was a time of learning for me; I watched him pollinate, I watched seeds form, I watched as he gathered seeds and labeled each one. And at the end of each season, I'd drive home with a trunk filled with seedlings. Why I never cared enough about them to learn their parentage, I have no idea; but it was the shape and the form and the colors that I became enamored with. Some didn't bloom for awhile, but after a year or two of living in W KY, they let me know they were very happy here. But even during those 5 summers of watching my uncle, I was never interested in hybridizing on my own.
Every year, just like clockwork, the Daylily Parade begins for me on Memorial Day and it lasts through the end of July. During the time of the parade, every single one of Uncle Bill's seedlings now blooms. I've added to the collection, of course, I now have spiders and minis and tricolors and a great deal of variety in color, but nothing that I've ever attempted to create or change myself.
Every year as each daylily shows its first bloom, I'm swept back in time to the few summers when I enjoyed fields and fields of my uncle's daylilies. Makes me want to look up and say, 'See Uncle Bill, I haven't changed a thing."