Happy Birthday, Mom

June 8, 2010

Eliza and I took my mom out for Mother’s Day today, her birthday, so it was a combination gift of girl conversation, lunch and a trip to Sunrise nursery. She needed geraniums and I needed something that will thrive in the shade under that pin oak.

Mom and I are trading places. Her garden gets simpler and simpler and mine gets more and more elaborate. The funny part is that she has alot more time than I do. She bought her geraniums after we shamed her for the artificial (my god – really?) flowers she has sitting in pots on her front porch. The pots will move to the back, out of the shade of the overhang, where she can easily water them with a hose instead of “dragging that damn sprinkling can” to the front. I bought woodland poppy which is supposed to spread with rhizomes (a root system that spreads and then sprouts new plants) and Jacob’s ladder, both in the native plants/shade section of the nursery. I also bought primrose, dianthus and perennial foxglove. It’s amazing how one month can clean that place out and still leave thousands of plants to sell. Found out that the it’s-really-pretty-but-I-don’t-know-what-it-is on the bump is a type of bellflower. I’ve purchased many strains throughout the years, but that’s the only one that’s thrived.

After lunch at Bennett Curtis House in Grant Park (beautiful 18 room mansion, very good food, delicious dessert and utterly foul bathroom) we went back to Mom and Dad’s. Eliza fell asleep on the couch and Mom took me outside to give me butterfly weed and peonies. The butterfly weed was big and healthy; the peony one pathetic shoot, tall and scraggly. She also found an errant clematis and dug that up for me. I ended up taking her little white cocktail tables too, as she wants beige. We laughed about how I was taking everything in her yard. (Reminded me of how she used to “go shopping” at my grandma’s house. “You’re not using this bowl anymore, are you? How about this bundt pan?”)

We got home, in the pouring rain (see? it always rains when I go to Sunrise!) and unloaded the car. I planted the butterfly weed in the butterfly bed near the front sidewalk (yes, during the pouring rain). Placed the clematis on the far trellis with the slow growing trumpet vine. (I think I put another trumpet vine on the back arbor last year – hmmmm…..if only I could remember…looks like the same leaves!). The dianthus got planted in the front grasses bed, right on the front corner where it will soak up the sun and bloom, bloom, bloom. The woodland poppy was planted right in the middle of that pin oak bed, with the Jacob’s ladder in the crook of the bed and the berm. I dug up the purple and white columbine hidden in the the peony bed and put the pathetic peony there. We’ll see how that does next summer. The columbine was moved to the bump bed along the flagstone path. The path itself is maintained constantly, as I pick out clover and other weeds almost every week. With  all the rain, it was a field of clover once again. Last year, I tried RoundUp and just ended up killing my mosses. The clover came right back.

When I planted the primrose, also under the pin oak, I dug up a random potato plant, full of red “pearls” of potatoes on the roots. It looked so good I replanted it in a better spot. I think they’re fairly hardy; we should have homegrown potatoes for dinner in a few weeks. The foxglove was planted in the shade bed under my office window and should grow to 3 or 4 feet in height, probably next year. The bachelor button is still sad.

The purple beans are sending out tendrils and reaching the support, the radishes are beginning to plump and, most exciting, the watermelon vines are starting to bud.

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