12 April 2010

"How can I be content when there is still that odor in the world?"

There is crazy shameless tree sex going on right now, and between feeling like someone is having a wild party right behind my cheekbones, and my immune system (out of control at the best of times) going berserk, I spent more time this weekend asleep than I had originally planned.

I did get a few mockoranges in the ground, an improvement over having them sitting in a box. Mockoranges, for those who do not know them, are an old-fashioned shrub or small tree, of the genus Philadelphus, deciduous, with delicate leaves and white flowers that smell of orange blossoms and jasmine. Heady stuff, possibly too rich and luxurious for Puritan souls, but my dissolute tendencies are well known, and therefore no one should be surprised that I'm planting a hedge of them.

The most common garden varieties of mockorange range from 8 to 12 feet tall but 'Manteau d'Hermine' (I get mine from Forest Farm Nursery) is a dwarf variety, billed as the mockorange for people who don't have room for mockoranges.

The plan, originally, was this: a low hedge of 'Green Velvet' box and 'Manteau d'Hermine' mockorange, to run between the walk and the pond.

In theory, this should be lovely. In practice, the box keep dying -- except for one that is inexplicably thriving. I'd say it's time to acknowledge that my soil may be too acid for box, except that there is that one that is thriving. Light, exposure, and wetness should all be about the same for them, but obviously something is up.

The mockoranges, however, consistently do well, so I'm filling in the holes where the box die off with more mockoranges. If things continue as they have been, in another year or so they should be securely established and quite pretty.

The warm weather last week pretty much scorched 'Salome,' which is too bad, because she was primed to put on quite a show.

Both noisettes (Celine Forestier and Mrs. Wood's Lavender) pulled through the winter and seem to be doing well, though who knows if they'll bloom or not this year. The berry bushes are also doing well, and the blackcurrant is even blooming.

As every year, there are surprises. Despite four feet of snow and snapped limbs, the azaleas are blooming as they never have bloomed before. There is also a cluster of 'Mata Hari' tulips, completely unexpected. 'Mata Hari' is hybrid and therefore not something one can reasonably expect to repeat after the first year. I planted about a dozen of them in ... 2001? I think. All the photos looked like cream edged with cherry pink, but they bloomed strong lemon with screaming fuschia -- exactly the sort of thing one might name after an exotic dancer.

And that was that. I never thought I'd see them again, and I didn't love them enough to plant more. But there they are.

Louise Gl├╝ck

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