I like daylilies. I especially like the daylilies I got from Jocelain and Alain at Artemesia Daylilies in Kimberley, Ontario. If you’re on your way through the Beaver Valley on Grey Road 13, make sure you stop and check them out. They have the most interesting selection I’ve ever seen!
Dang if I can remember the names of them all though – all except the one Jocelyn named “Pollinatrix” in my honour. Well, almost my honour… he spelled it differently. But I swear I’m the inspiration!!! I had them all labelled but the writing has worn off the metal markers.
I know some people who turn their noses up at daylilies. They don’t “do” anything! By that, they mean, daylilies don’t provide nectar for insects, aren’t a good host plant for caterpillars, aren’t native… Ok ok, but they do something for me. They brighten my garden and make me smile. And this one makes me close my eyes and go “mmmmmmm”. It smells gorgeous.
The garden is pretty much at its best right now, putting on a spectacular show as if to say goodbye. It’ll be mid-September before I officially move into a new life and a new garden, but I decided I wanted to share it now while it looks so nice. So I held an open garden today, and many of my very favourite people from Glen Williams came. It was a perfect day.
Five summers ago my garden consisted of a couple of small unkempt beds containing mainly of ditch lilies, trash, and noxious weeds. Most of what you see began as endless stretches of mown grass and dandelions with a few disconnected trees and shrubs plunked in random places around the lawn.
I started creating this garden during the heatwave of July 2011, precisely the day after my mother died in my arms in a lonely hospital room in the middle of the night. Her death was dutifully recorded in obituaries as peaceful. It was not. I can’t describe the depth of my relief when her face and her emaciated body relaxed, finally free of pain.
This was not the first brutally painful blow during a relatively short period of time, nor the last. A cliche it may be, but since I started the garden I have watered bare dirt with tears and a landscape of beauty has emerged. Not just outside my door, but also inside my life. I consider myself blessed.
I’m moving on soon, into the next and best phase of my life. I’ll take the gifts these years have brought me and leave what I no longer need behind.
And that’s where the metaphor ends. Gardens may be ephemeral, but I am not.
“Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.“
I love clematis, and I’m always on the hunt for a vertical something to grow it on. These photos were taken a month ago and I never stop being surprised by how quickly the garden grows, and how much it changes in such a short growing season.
One of my favourite ecological thinkers, Benjamin Vogt, has written a beautiful piece that describes perfectly how and why my own style of gardening has changed and matured. I may never completely banish non-native beauties from my garden, but this quote resonates keenly:
A garden will never be wild, and the best it can do is echo or invoke the memory of what wildness is in our world of shrinking pollinators, songbirds, grasslands, and clean water. But every time I grow a native seedling – a Liatris, goldenrod, aster, or milkweed – I know something more: that my slow work in transforming my garden into an all native garden is a protest. It is a protest to all the ways in which we use this world and know are ethically wrong. For me, my garden has become a moral imperative, just as so much human art has been.
Read, and bookmarked for safekeeping, Benjamin. Well said.
I was bored one day this past spring and to entertain myself, I drilled holes all over the tall stump of a dead plum tree. I was curious to see whether my makeshift “bee hotel” would attract solitary bees.
I happened to wander by this morning and behold, inhabitants! The only holes that are occupied are on the east and south sides, which makes sense. Those are the sides that warm up fastest in the morning.
I don’t think they’re bees, though. They look like wasps to me, but I’m not an entomologist. Know any entomologists?