Pink Lilies and Roly Polys

June 20, 2010

Today is Father’s Day and expected to be a rather boring day in the garden, as yesterday was the day I thinned the radishes, deadheaded the speedwell, pulled a few weeds and cut back all the dried out foxglove and columbine.

Was I wrong. I went out today to plant a very small lilac sprout my mom gave me. After wandering around the house three times, I decided to put it in the butterfly bed in front of the clematis. It will be (many) years before it gets to any real size, and by that time, I’ll have my beds in along the fence and can transplant it there.

But oh! the excitement! The pink lilies are starting to bloom, delicate and spotted and fragrant. It is one of my favorites. I have to battle the Damn Rabbits every spring over it and the occasional victory is so satisfying. It’s also very sentimental. Tony and I picked this plant up at a roadside nursery in Michigan years ago. We had stopped in Dowagiac to visit the house where Tony spent a golf weekend every summer. His best friend Michael would arrange these weekends; a dozen or more guys that have been friends since childhood, steaks, beer and golf and golf and golf.  After Michael passed away, they didn’t go back to that house, instead now going to Arizona or North Carolina or Florida. I think walking through that house, showing me the dining room, the kitchen, the rec room, laughing about bad jokes and inebriated clumsiness, helped Tony – at least in a small way. I know seeing this pink lily blooming each summer brings back the thought of that house and Tony’s delight and that helps me.

The butterfly bed is chock full of buzzing bees; honey bees, bumble bees and assorted little iridescent winged things. While I know there is a general decline in the bee populations, you can’t tell it by my front bed, as there was a veritable swarm feeding from the oregano (see, it’s good for something) and the coreopsis and the butterfly bush. No butterflies today though.

When I dumped the water sitting in one of my containers, I uncovered dozens and dozens of roly polys, accurately know as wood lice. I prefer to call them roly polys as lice has a real “ick” factor. They were very busy and absolutely shocked when I tipped the container. I apologized, and then uncovered them again to make a photograph.

The strange onion plant that’s been drying up in the butterfly bed was pulled out and I discovered how truly sculptural and majestic it is. Had to make photographs of that. The baby’s breath is in bloom, but I think I need to trim that back to encourage a better bushiness to it. More and more coneflowers open each day.

The edible garden has been touched by a fertility goddess. The watermelon, even though it has been trimmed back, seems to grow while I’m standing there, the remaining stems branching off and continuing to produce more and more flowers. I am a little afraid. The pepper plants are covered in blooms, dried flowers or tiny peppers. I trimmed the two basil plants back, cut off all the pretty leaves and filled an entire gallon bag to freeze. The stems and not-quite-so-pretty leaves went into the compost. The scent of fresh cut basil is so clean and crisp and appetizing. I wanted to go to Rubino’s to get fresh mozzarella and some Roma tomatoes that instant. Tomorrow maybe. There are still plenty of fresh leaves on the plants.

A baby robin is now living in the garden too. He hopped in front of me all around the house while I trailed behind making photographs and then he settled in the pin oak. When I went around to the check the new rainbarrel system (working a dream!) there he was again in the Neither Here Nor There bed. He thought I was stalking him. I was not.


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