The Gender of Plants

August 17, 2010

Our orchard spider has finished her web, cartwheels of whisper-thin silk seeming to hang from nowhere and anchor into nothing. Below her are other webs, stacked like a high-rise, floors and floors of bug-catching filament. I haven’t seen those occupants, so I’m not sure if it’s entirely her building or if she’s just leasing space above.

This corner is a popular place for spiders. The compost bin sits in the middle of that bed (should I move it to the Neither Here Nor There bed? Would look great in the summer, but stink to access in the wintertime) and, while it doesn’t smell, it draws lots of flies and gnats. Happy hunting for a fat, lazy spider – or for incredibly strategic thinkers!

The boxwood is looking settled and happy; the hydrangea is too. I’m really thinking that soaking the plants in their nursery pot, making sure it is just dripping water, is a key to a successful planting. There is water already permeating the roots and watering in just puts the icing on the proverbial cake.

All that water from last night on the Christmas tree has given him a very good head start; he is still green and happy in his transplanting.

Question – why do we think of trees more as male (Disney’s horrendous Pocahontas notwithstanding) and flowers as more female? So would a shrub be male or female? I think of the black knight butterfly bushes as male, but that could be because of the name. The new white profusion butterfly bush I just planted I think of as female. The weglia? Female. The privet? Male. Coeropsis? Interesting.. I think of the yellow as male and the pink as female. I just realized the sunflower has a male personality to me. Peonies, hibiscus and hydrangea are all females. Liatris, male for sure, just based on its shape (terribly phallic!). Spotted bell flower is female, impatiens too. Eupatorium – hmmmm…. that could go either way!

I have so digressed….

The phlox we purchased at Hornbaker had dried up and shriveled a few weeks ago, so I had cut it back to just sticks. It is unfurling new tender leaves again and I am so happy to see that. The magenta phlox and pink phlox in the back will be transplanted there when I put the other hydrangeas in the back.

The phlox, definitely girls, will adore it there.


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