Archives for April 2014

Mazus Takes Over the Yard, Fooling the Rabbits

azaleaandmazus_mmtn The backyard is lush and cool now in advance of the wilting heat that’s sure to come. Everything looks fresh: colors, the changing patterns of light, the tender seedlings that push up through the soil every hour (or so it seems).

I wish I could send along the delicate fragrance from hundreds of pinkish-lavender azalea blooms at their peak now. You would swoon if you smelled them. The azaleas were maybe half this size when we moved here. Over the years, they’ve merged into one glorius swath that is actually more pastel than this straight-out-of-the-camera color indicates.

The big white patch in the lawn is Mazus reptans ‘Alba’, which takes more sun than purple mazus. This semi-evergreen perennial spreads rapidly in moist soil and can sometimes be a nuisance, but I like the way it contrasts with the bright green grass in spring. Maybe an entire lawn of mazus? Would that be so bad?

Bait and switch in the backyard

Bait and switch in the backyard

Rabbits seem confused by the mazus blooms. Every morning, at least one eastern cottontail comes and stands in the patch, smells a white flower, then pauses and looks puzzled — at least that’s the way it looks to me. After that, it smells more white flowers, then noses around to find some grass or something else to nibble on before hopping off. I wonder if it thinks it sees clover, then discovers it’s really mazus. It certainly looks like clover from a distance.

I saw a little pile of white downy fur in the grass last week. I wondered if it was the remnants of a rabbit that had let its guard down, trying to figure out why the clover wasn’t really clover at all.

Plants: How to Woo a Woman

houseplants_m.

When my son Greg met his soon-to-be wife, he was obviously smitten. I knew this for several reasons, but it was the energy he put into a gift for her upcoming birthday that confirmed it for me. He considered several options, then settled on a plan: he would assemble a menagerie of houseplants for her sunroom/office and keep everything secret until the Big Day arrived.

After many trips to buy greenery and other supplies, Greg spent hours mixing soil, matching plant to container, and potting each specimen up. He added some divisions from his collection and mine. To make sure the plants were kept secret and, also, watered and cared for in the interim, he brought them to my house for safe-keeping. You can see them above, in all their diversity of texture, pattern, color, and form, spread out in the driveway on delivery day.

I know I’m partial as a judge, but I think this is one of the sweetest, most from-the-heart gifts I’ve ever seen. Maybe it’s the thoughtfulness — not the gift — that made an impression. Either way, it’s not a bad way to impress a woman.