Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Andromeda Japonica and Other Fun-to-Say Botanical Names

Andromeda Japonica

Be still  my heart. I finally have one. A shrub that I fell in love with in the late 1990's, an Andromeda Japonica. Every day, and in every season, when I walked to my office at Cornell University, I purposely passed through Minn's Garden to enjoy the ever-changing gardenscape. Next to the garden, hidden in an alcove by the brick Plant Science Building, was a very large ornamental bush that entranced me every spring with its' delicate flower clusters and fragrance. The metal tag hanging on a lower branch provided the name Andromeda Japonica. Here is a link that shows the garden and the building. You can see the alcove to the right of the door.

Why did I wait over 20 years to buy one of these beautiful bushes? I can't answer that. It couldn't be cost, since the shrub we purchased the other day at the nursery was only $31.99. I think I may have thought I was not deserving of such a special plant. Maybe I thought a plant this gorgeous only belonged in a special place. Well, what can be more special than my own front yard?

It may sound silly, but even in gardening, I have been waiting for a perfect time, a perfect place. That is something I do in many aspects of my life, whether it be sewing, crafting, redecorating, or many other things, I tend to wait. There is not one reason why I waited, there are probably several. Instead of wondering why, I will now just enjoy the journey that my new acquisition and I will experience in our future together; and more importantly, I will pay attention to my planning and my waiting. If it was not for my husband and his urging, the plant would have remained at the nursery and I would have gone home without it. My husband Paul knows the importance of living for today and not letting opportunities pass you by, having lost his first wife to a horrible disease. At the end of their life together, they were grateful that they had no regrets. They did the things they wanted to do. They lived a rich life together and tried to give their two sons a good childhood. They didn't wait. They did things. We don't always have the privilege of waiting until the right time, or when we have more money, or have this or that crossed off our To Do List. (My To Do List has a life of its' own, so it is capitalized like a proper noun.) I thank God for my husband and his perspective on life.

Besides the Andromeda Japonica, our foundation plantings include a Dicentra Spectabilis, too. That is the fancy name for the perennial favorite, Bleeding Heart. Bleeding Hearts seem to be in every old fashioned garden I have ever seen. We planted three last summer and they have all survived. :-)

Dicentra Spectabilis
Passing through our side yard, the Allium, which don't even have a common name that I know of, that I planted several years ago keep multiplying and are filling in along the southern border of our yard.


A beautiful reminder of Kathy, Paul's first wife, are the delicate Anemone Blanda, or Grecian Windflowers that grow along side the south side of the house. I have always loved these sweet little low-growing flowers, but for that same  unknown reason as I mentioned before, never planted any. They are a very special gift in my garden.

Anemone Blanda

Moving into the back yard, I have made many surprising discoveries this week. Now that we have had warm weather and some rain, the perennials we planted last year are coming up. The Delphinium are getting really large, and the Russian Sage . . . Perovskia Atriplicifolia . . . are finally showing some little leaves at the base of the remnants of last year's plants.

I am leery of pulling anything that resembles a weed in the gardens, because they might just be something we planted last spring and summer! Here in Western New York State, it may be mid- to late-June until we see some of our plantings emerge and be recognizable. Like I posted before, gardening has taught me about patience. I was quite disappointed last year with the clematis we planted, but this year they are looking robust and they are climbing on their trellises!

There will be more posts and more photos as the spring and summer months pass . . . and surely into the autumn months, but for now I am happy to see new growth emerge and on this sunny day, I will head outside soon to dig out the weeds I can recognize . . . dandelions! Those in the photo above have been removed . . . so please don't scold me!  ;-)

Whatever is in your garden, or in your view as you gaze at the gardens of others, I truly hope you are enjoying springtime. Ours burst forth in a glorious array of colors, textures, shapes and scents this year. It seemed so much better than in my memory of other springtimes. I think it was partly due to the very  long winter we endured, but also partly due to the anticipation of seeing what my gardens had in store this year.
Taken a week or so ago . . . it will be a while before it is in full flower . . . but the wait will be worth it.
Your questions and comments are welcome. You can post them here, or on Facebook. I do read them and will respond. :-) If you wish, you can enlarge any of the images for a better view by clicking on the photo.

As always, it is my sincere wish that you and those you love are well and happy; and until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.


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