The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


In this part of the world, we are very fortunate to have four seasons.  The interesting thing is when we can experience all four within the same week.  Our weather reports look like a roller-coaster:  one day it is cloudy and chilly, a stiff breeze makes feel even colder and we are all wearing sweaters or coats; the next day the sun is out, the temp will be about 70 degrees, and everything, including us and the plants, is dazed.

Yesterday we raked leaves and wore long-sleeved shirts and started out wearing light jackets too.  Today we raked leaves in short sleeves and my mate needed a sweat band, and we both had on sunglasses and hats against the sun’s rays.

Of course it isn’t spring yet, and we are mindful that there could still be a ‘polar vortex’ from Canada bringing a sleet storm or even late-season snow.  Yet we are going to prune our one rose, Martha Gonzalez, a wonderful species rose with single petals, no fragrance, and the tendency to bloom all the time.  The one peony that I have found that tolerates the heat here, so far, Krinkle White, is showing its emerging buds, once I cut back last year’s dead foliage.  And everywhere, jonquils and daffodils and hyacinths and Spanish bluebells and daylilies are sending up leaves.  One early jonquil, Minor Monarque, is blooming away, as is our white species iris.  An irrepressible trailing white lantana has had the audacity to send up white blooms through the leaves that we left to insulate during the very hard freezes we had this winter.  And did I mention our flowering quince?

Sometimes I ask myself, as every gardener probably does from time to time, why we go to all the bother, the planting, tending, watering, trimming, mulching, protecting.  But I am always answered, as probably every gardener is, when I walk around and see the relentless determination and courage of plant life.  We humans share not only the earth with plant life, but also some of the same tendencies and challenges.

In this country, as well as in the rest of the world, we are being tested by erratic climate changes and those who deny them.  We are also being tested as a nation, and as citizens of the world, by troubling political behaviors.  And just as the gardener must find remedies for problems in the garden, the citizens must find remedies for problems that must be resolved.  With plants, as with each other, kindness and caring and persistence help so very much.

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