Monday, April 14, 2014

Little Magical One ~ Finn's Garden

I hadn't thought about the garden bed in front of the house, I don't even remember looking at it much until now..., didn't even notice how pitiful it was.
It came to me in an instant as I walked up the path to the front door the other morning on my way home from yoga feeling good and clear for the first time in days. It's going to be Finn's garden ~ below his bedroom window overlooking the Lake.

As it is now a nearly dead, over sheared cedar stands nearest to the front door, anchoring that corner of the house. It just has to go, ...sorry, to the compost. Two leggy, confused mugo pines are also headed for the compost, with whatever mystery spindles are left. There's some sort of lime-leafed spirea in the middle that I'm not sure what to do with - let it stay? Find a new garden for it? I'm not sure yet.
The rest is just empty, full of rocks... .

Finn's garden will be filled with soothing scents, healing plants, blues, whites, yellows, and crimsons, with meaningful names, and messages in flowers. The plants I'm sure will change over time, but as our grief grows so will this garden.
I've kept the one mugo pine that seems to be in good health in the plan, but I've replaced the cedar with a Picea glauca 'Pendula'..which Cathy is kindly sourcing for me. Heather has a beautiful one growing in her front yard, which I've swooned over for years. Though they originate in France, I think they look like neat versions of trees in Group of Seven paintings. 'Droopy Spruce' is what I've called them for fun..., but seeing as a giant black spruce or white pine are a bit too big for the space (a lot too big), the 'Pendula' is a good substitute. 

Baby Millar's Lady's Mantle is going to be taken from Pearl soon, divided and planted all over our new gardens. It will grow and spread, be divided again, given to friends, growing on and on. It was given to us from Chops and Patti, who wanted to buy us a plant to remember our first loss, after that devastating miscarriage ~ which was such a sweet gesture. Chops couldn't believe what I chose, as I carried the unassuming three leafed perennial around the nursery (Bill Martin's ~ before I worked there)... Perennials often don't look like much in their nursery containers, and at the time I think Chops worried it was an insignificant gift. 
I'll never forget the look on his face two years later when they were over for a barbecue, when he saw how the little plant had grown.



Alchemilla mollis has been a favourite garden plant for as long as I can remember. I love how the dew pools on the leaves, and the lemon-lime flower sprays are perfect for cut flower bouquets - like baby's breath... gorgeous.  
Little Magical One (from 2 March 2008) Alchemilla has long been associated with healing and alchemists. From an Arabic word, alchemelych, meaning alchemy; the plant is named so for its "magical healing powers," with folklore suggesting that even dew collected from alchemilla leaves has healing properties.

Also for tea, chamomile (I like the little pointy daisy-like heads of the German chamomile Matricaria recutita), and two of the David Austin roses Winchester Cathedral (to have a little of my mother and father in Finn's garden) and Heathcliff, lemon balm, echinacea, feverfew, and lemon thyme.
For blue, I'll plant a cranesbill geranium ('Johnson's Blue' is the usual go-to around here, but newer varieties have come along that just as blue, longer flowering, and less floppy...like, 'Rozanne' and another I can't remember by name right now..) and the purple leafed Geranium pratense 'Midnight Blue'..., also bluebells and forget-me-nots seeded beneath everything. 

The back border of the bed, with the chamomile and echinacea I'd like to plant so asters - so long as they don't get too crazy back there. Blue wood asters (A. cordifolius) and Heath Asters (A. ericoides) which will all bloom late in the summer, through Finn's birthday, my special September baby. 

For earlier in the season I've ordered some irises: 'White Wings' and 'Little Sighs', and I'm sure I'll find a few more. I haven't even started planning the tulip and daffodils that will begin each new year, but what I have in mind will be something special - from under the oak tree, across the yard and into Finn's garden I imagine a wave of early, mid, and late tulips surrounded by smiling daffodils.  

I'd like to include a lemony-buttery daylily - this may be the perfect spot for Double River Wye.., and some primrose (Miller's Crimson maybe). We'll see what sort of nursery finds follow me home this year.

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