There’s a hilltop above Locust Creek Park in Brier, Washington that’s full of flowers. There were all sorts of delights, some wild, some domestic. I’m not sure which category these fall in to. They were growing on the verge of a driveway, happily overpowering the grass.
I see them around quite a bit. They’re always a cluster of little delights, a nice contrast to the nearly endless green round here.
I’m just going to pause a brief moment for a small rant. Lawns annoy me. This is because so many flowers that end up in them are treated as weeds. One day, you have a sea of lovely flowers, creating a miniature meadow: the next, some bugger has been through with the mower and the Roundup and you have a boring green desert. I know folks like pristine expanses of grass. I used to spend quite a lot of time on my neighbor’s lawn in Flagstaff, which was thick and soft and a masterpiece of the homeowner’s art. Any weed that ended up in that lawn was an instantly dead weed: we never did get to see anything bloom in it. You could practically use it as a mattress, the grass was so thick and evenly-mowed. And he went into panic mode the instant a dog appeared on the horizon, because even the possibility that he could end up with a small brown circle due to calls of canine nature was not to be entertained.
He had a willow tree growing at one end of his lawn. There was, as there frequently is under such circumstances, a circular bare patch. He was convinced it was because evil canines were using the tree as a watering post. We had to explain that the tree was sucking nutrients and water out of that area, thus leaving the grass bereft. We found this small island of ignorance in a sea of expertise odd. Then again, he was an astronomer by profession, so the fact he managed a world-class lawn in Arizona is a remarkable achievement anyway. And you should have seen his roses. Their blooms were practically as big as our heads, and they filled the air with the most luscious scent imaginable. They probably survived because the local grasshoppers had already gorged themselves on ours…
Yeah, that was me getting mugged by the Memory Fairy. Yeesh.
Speaking of filling the air with scent, though, you lot can tell me whether the stuff I had my nose buried in was lilac or lavender. I can’t tell the difference. I just know both of them have cones of purple joy, and that planting my face in a bush is one of the best ways to spend part of an afternoon.
When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple – and probably, if I own a house by then, have the thing buried in it. Purple rhodies, purple lilacs, purple lavender – and a bit of honeysuckle for variety’s sake. Roses, which come in purple varieties. Fuchsias, ditto. The nice thing about the Northwest is, I can have all of these things without drawing down the local water table. This does, unfortunately, mean I shall only be visited by people with allergies for a few short weeks each year, but it’s a small price to pay.
Also, willows and Japanese maples, and if I go really wild on the gardening in my old age, we might even do a few cloud pines and a plethora of crocuses and tulips. There won’t be any grass. Bollocks to grass. Up here, moss grows in thick, luxuriant carpets that work just as well, and require a hell of a lot less work, and like it just fine under the trees. There is nothing quite so beautiful as the mossy ground beneath a stately old tree. And when you get different varieties all growing together, the subtle blend of colors and textures is astoundingly lovely.
Of course, all that biology’ll be on only one part of the yard. The rest is rocks.
What will your dream garden be?