Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Best of 2007: OPG

What's OPG you ask? Other People's Gardens. Puttering around the plots of friends and neighbours presents a great opportunity to do some comparison shopping so to speak. The first nod goes out to my mother whose garden success is simply maddening to me. She seems to exert no effort at all and yet her flower yields are simply astounding. Take, for example, her stunningly delightful poppy patch with hostas. The hostas were inherited and thrive with little or no attention. As for the poppies, my mother literally sprinkles some seed and sees what pops us.

All sorts of things pop up. I'm not sure what these pink flowers are and neither is my mother. And she doesn't care. She's just pleased that they are blooming.

Here's a sample discussion as we walk around her yard.

Mom: Come see this.

Me: Oh. Wow. That is gorgeous.

Mom: Do you know what it is?

Me: No, I'll try to find out.

Mom: See this one?

Me: I have to have that.

Mom: Do you know what it is?

My mom is a serial seed plucker. She sees pods in the neighbourhood, carefully plucks a few, promptly forgets what they are, and then lets them fall where they may. She also puts cuttings of anything she gets her hands on into the ground. Hence the constant guessing games. Unorthodox...perhaps. Undisciplined...definitely. Succesful...always. Can't say it runs in the family.

I love when I can enjoy flowers I love in other people's gardens. Take this poppy for instance, growing at my in-law's country property. That wild and crazy orange would not be a good colour fit for my garden. On top of that, I simply don't have the space to grow this giant variety. But I can drool over these blooms during weekend visits.

Maybe I should make room for some orange and yellow flowers. These mystery plants stop me dead in my tracks at the height of their bloom period. They cover the length of the yard at the local high school and I look forward to them every year. The flowers create a very natural scene on a city block that showcases urban high-school architecture circa the 1970s. Last year I noticed one of the school caretakers deadheading the blooms on more than one occassion. What a massive job. If I see him again this year, I will have to complement him. I have no doubt the beauty of the school garden is in large part due to his efforts.

Ever see a plant and say "One day I'm gonna get me one of those." For me, that plant is wisteria. Until I get my own, I'll have to be satisfied once again to visit the in-laws and sit under their wisteria-covered pergola overlooking acres of forest. I'll take in the scent, kick back with a lemonade, feel the warm breeze on my face. Thank goodness for other people's gardens.


jodi said...

The yellow flowers are California poppies, Eschscholzia californica. They come in a host of colours and are easy from seed--direct sow them. Depending on your climate, they may selfsow and naturalize, but I need to reseed them regularly here.

Owin & Irena said...

thanks for identifying the california poppies, jodi. should have known...all poppies really appeal to me.

Pam/Digging said...

Great post. I love your mom conversation. How frustrating and yet delightful that she has such success without even trying. Wisteria is one of my dream plants too (though I'm a little afraid of it), and I enjoy it in other people's gardens.

Soilman said...

I suspect that first flower may be osteospermum, Irena. Although must admit I'm not totally sure of this diagnosis...!

Connie said...

Your Mom sounds like an awesome gardener. It just goes to don't have to know the latin names of things to make them grow, ha.
I LOVE California poppies! They self seed and are everywhere in my garden, including in my vegetable beds. I call them liquid sunshine. :-)