Human Flower Project
Gardening & Landscape
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Profligacy Is the Best Policy
Not one to be “designed,” poppies have a field day this March in Texas.
The March poppy crop, Austin, TX, more on the way
Photo: Human Flower Project
“I cannot get too many Renoirs,” Albert Barnes confided to friend and fellow art collector Leo Stein, 1913.
We know the feeling, except our greediness grasps in other directions – accordions, Triscuits, poppies.
It started out innocently enough, with seed from Ellen Zimmermann – the salmon colored and fluffy Shirley poppy she called ‘Dorothy Cavenaugh’ for her friend, the former president of Austin’s herb society. Those beauties performed so well in the side yard, we tried some red papaver somniferum. (We understand why the Afghan farmers go for this crop – it’s a cinch.)
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Garden Inspiration: Yin or Yang
Allen Bush, just back from a major conference of plantsmen, remembers two impossibilities and several mentors that sealed his gardening fate.
Photo: Jelitto Seed
By Allen Bush
I’d barely shoved-off from the hotel curbside when the cab driver asked abruptly, “What’s your name?” I hadn’t swept the sleep from my eyes but I knew where this was going. It’s not commonplace anymore, but the Bush on my nametag still draws the occasional question: “Are you related to George Bush?” (I always feel like I’m being lobbed a soft one. )
“He’s my father.”
My father’s name was George. When Bush the elder was President, besotted bar flies would occasionally get the fool idea to call the commander in chief in the middle of the night. My father was the only George Bush listed in the Louisville directory. (It must have been much too complicated to call Washington-D.C. directory assistance in the wee hours to get the White House switchboard.) Dad hung-up three or four times before he had his name taken out of the phone book. Listening to a slurred Pledge of Allegiance at 2:00 a.m was not his patriotic duty.
Moses, the Nigerian cab driver, talked non-stop for 15 minutes from downtown all the way up North Charles Street to the Sheppard Pratt Conference Center. I got an earful about politicians (none were to be trusted) and the Bushes. I wanted only a little quiet.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
This Blessed Plot
What happened to the front garden? The original home theater and neighborhood forum, a gift that’s been retracted. (Thank you, John.)
Essay and photos by John Levett
There’s a saying: ‘Don’t change yer clout ‘til may is out.’ Discussion used to always arise about whether changing clout (clothing) should take place after the may (hawthorn) came out or May came in. Whatever. The may is out and in these parts it feels as if the season is on the turn. The weather has been kind this year. It’s just turned March and I’m in credit with the energy company. We had a cold spell at the opening of February but you get the feeling that that’s that.
March is busy: finish pruning anything left before nesting time, clear the space of rubbish, repair paths, wash out the shed & re-prime, buy in the mulch, first feed, tie in stray shoots, secure ramblers—get to the point where you feel you can start sitting in the garden. It’s a long month to come before I’m in that state but it’s started.
It’s a time when the planning trope creeps back in. What’s the new grand design? What’s not there that should be? What have I always planned to raise? Everything’s possible at this time. Nothing that’s not worth a shot. Gardening in heroic mode. (Note to self: “Yes it’s failure, but how good a failure?” - Cornell West.)
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Wednesday, March 07, 2012
After a bloomless 2011, five pittosporums more than make up for it in Austin, Texas.
A honeybee at work on the flowers of Pittosporum tobira
March 7, 2012
Photo: Human Flower Project
A rock-headed landscape specialist advised us ten years ago to chop down an old pittosporum tree. But we don’t think he’d suggest such a thing today. The huge sprawling plant —five of them actually, growing under and through a mott of live oaks in the side yard – is in full bloom. Opening the front door to get the newspaper is an ethereal act. The bees are intent but everyone else in the vicinity is spellbound— even if they don’t know why.
In last year’s drought there were no blossoms at all, a sad spring. But this year’s flowering has more than made up for it. In twelve Marches, we can’t remember a more exuberant show.