Tag Archives: Albo Marginata Hosta

My Old Friends: From Hyacinth to Birch


From Poetry of Flowers (A book Emily may have referenced), “Grief: According to mytholgists, this flower sprang from the blood of Hyacinthus, who was killed by a quoit, through the agency of Zephyr, who blew it fom its course as it passed from the hand of Apollo, and smote the unfortunate youth on the head.”

“I wish I could show you the hyacinths that embarrass us by their loveliness.” Emily’s letter to James D Clark.


I am in love with him
To whom a hyacinth is dearer
Than I shall ever be dear.

On nights when the field-mice
Are abroad, he cannot sleep.
He hears their narrow teeth
At the bulbs of his hyacinths.

But the gnawing at my heart…
He does not hear.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

There are so many things to which you could compare a garden, not the least of which is friendship. Each year it comes back, sometimes a little worse for wear, but you have a history–an investment in one another.

The pictures I’m sharing today are from my garden–it’s some of my dear old friends emerging from winter in mid-April 2012. They’re bursting out and embracing the day! Some of them are thriving, some are fighting for their lives.

Royal Star Magnolia (struggling)

Rock Daphne

Leopard’s Bane




“Elsa’s Rock” Daffodils to commemorate her death two years ago. What I realized during that time, a great epiphany for me, was that even when we want to hold onto our memories of lost loved ones–and Elsa was very dear to me having been raised from a puppy and sharing my trials and tribulations–our minds let them slip. I was horrified of that. Two weeks after her death, as I stood outside and tried to imagine her, it was hard. Then, a day passed without me thinking of her at all. This rock was placed there, over her burial spot, to remind me to think of her…and to give me a spot to sit while doing that under the Weeping Willow. I planted the daffodils because she died when they were in bloom. Every year they come up, they remind me of my loss–and my loss reminds me of my great gain–having her for thirteen years on this earth.

Daisies–Emily’s nickname was “Daisy”, and she refers to herself as such in the “Master Letters.”

Oh – did I offend it –
Didn’t it want me
to tell it the truth
Daisy – Daisy – offend it – who
bends her smaller life to
his, it’s meeker lower every day –
who only ask – a task –
something to do for
love of it – some little way
she cannot guess to make
that master glad –
A love so big it scares
her, rushing among her small
heart – pushing aside the
blood – and leaving her
faint and white in the
gusts’s arm –
Daisy – who never flinched
thro’ that awful parting –
but held her life so tight
he should not see the
wound – who would have
sheltered him in her
childish Heart – only it was’nt
big eno for a Guest so large –

(Letter 2 1861–Emily to “Master”–actual person is a mystery which stays unsolved.—Word choice changes were chosen by me. Example: bosom/Heart and other ommissions.)

Climbing Hydrangea


Birch & Pine

Mid-Summer Garden & Hydroseed

A bird came down the Walk–
He did not know I saw–
He bit an Angleworm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,….

Emily Dickinson

I was working with my daughter out in the new garden–putting down fabric–and there was a robin next to us–just a touch away–with a big fat worm in his mouth. He stood there, then walked around a bit, but wasn’t afraid of us. It was quite marvelous.

I told my daughter, if we weren’t out here gardening, we would have missed this experience.

I think I said in a previous post that I wasn’t feeling the poetry–as I waited for the sprinkler system to start working and the grass to be planted–I think I’m starting to feel it now.

Here is a picture of the backyard planter. My hope is that it will one day grow up and fill every inch. I asked my husband to put in a spray system that waters over the top of the flowers–he insisted on a drip system–now he’s going to switch it to the spray system. As McDowell teaches us in her book–some flowers, like geraniums, need to be misted to keep the bugs off. And, I believe, flowers are designed to accept rain in their leaves and distribute in these natural tunnel systems to the parts of the root system that need it most. Therefore, water must come down over the top. Trees and shrubs can be on drips.

hydroseed and back planter

We finally got the hydroseed done. Let me tell you a bit about it. In our area, hydroseeding runs at 8 cents per foot. We had 15,000 feet and we found someone to do it for 7.5 cents per foot. The total came to $1,100.

Hydroseed has the fertilizer, mulch and seed together–also it has something that makes it tacky so that it sticks to the ground rather than blowing away.

Apparently, you can hydroseed anytime of year–even in mid-summer like now. We do have to keep the water on it though, so a sprinkler system at this time of year is almost a must.


garden 2

I decided on a simple shrub for the side of the house where all the ugly stuff is mounted–satellite dish, air conditioner, and propane tank. The purple sandcherry was my choice. It grows 8-10′ tall and 8′ wide. Perfect for this area.

purple sandcherry

There has been some question in my mind about whether or not my Royal Star Magnolia would make it. Here it is today. It’s doing awesome!

Magnolia in July

Here is a new addition I just couldn’t pass up. This beautiful, mature Hydrangea was only 45.00 at a local nursery. I adopted it.

hydrangea july 09


The Forsythia are finally starting to look healthy there among the Dahlias. They grow as a backdrop for the Manolia. Next Spring–they will bloom yellow–the Magnolia a magnificent white.

florsythia july 09

dahlia July 09

Here’s an updated picture on the Hostas I planted under the deck. They’re thriving–as are the ferns.

hosta day lily

In other garden news–my Bleeding Heart came back with a vengeance. It’s doing great. The Geraniums I lost to frost, also surivived and are now blooming among the Alysum.

Today I’m going shopping for Yellow Daylilies, Brown-eyed Susans, and Hummingbird Vine that I saw at my parent’s home. For some reason, yellow daylilies have been impossible for me to find–as have Brown-eyed Susans. So, wish me luck!

Is there any particular flower you’d like to add to your garden as we hit mid-summer? How about Fall flowers? Are you thinking about those yet? Mums? Astors? How are your gardens growing?

The Good Will of a Garden

The good Will of a flower
The Man who would possess
Must first present
Of minted Holiness

Emily Dickinson #869, 1864

Weather: 60 and cloudy–a bit of sprinkling–hoping for more rain for the grass and new plantings.

Of Interest:

Spokane is in Hardiness Zone 6–and Emily’s Amherst is also in Zone 6. Coincidence?

Also, we will be having an Emily Dickinson and Teleflora Flower Bouquet Give-away! Check out the site: Teleflora. I’m thinking it will be each comment equals an entry into the drawing. The Deadline will be May 4th so you can get it by Mother’s Day. Check out their blog–it’s full of information on flowers! Oh, and to be fair, I’ll have someone else pick the name and I’ll take photos! 🙂

What’s happening in the garden?

I haven’t blogged in a while, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working. Quite the contrary. I have now spent about $1,000 in plants, flowers, peat, soil, and fertilizer (this is without the expense of the hay).

My splurges were the Magnolia (79.95)–which, by the way, has elicited the most attention as it buds profusely–Royal Frost Birch (79.95–picture below), Japanese Maple (129.95), and Rhododendron (49.95). There were others in the 29.95 range, like some of the shrubs–St. John’s Wort and the climbing Hydrangea (pictured below).

My philosophy with the trees and shrubs is to go as big as I can afford. Some of these are very slow growing, so if I’m going to enjoy them, I need to get a head start.

Here is the climbing Hydrangea–I’m MOST excited about this beautiful plant. I didn’t know they existed, and when I saw it, I fell in love. They are slow growing and take partial sun.


I can’t remember the name of this ground cover, but it is shade-loving and has a bloom much like honeysuckle. My husband was planting those as I planted the Hostas, and I didn’t realize he’d removed the tags. I’ll dig through the trash and see if I can find them.


Hostas–Albo Marginata–We planted these under our deck. Apparently, Hostas do not need total shade, but that’s what they’ll get here. Hopefully, they’ll do well. They can also tolerate a bit of drought–so I planted them near the ferns and plan to put them on a misting system.

Question–Was Emily referring to the Hosta when sometimes she said “Daylily”? Marta McDowell thinks so. “Daylily in bloom in mid-August? The ones I know are completely spent by late summer. In the mid-nineteenth centry, the common name “day-lily” was the moniker for two plants: what we call ‘hosta’ and what we call ‘daylily,’..” (p. 90)


I found this tree (Royal Frost Birch) while shopping at the nursery, and went home to look it up. It gets a purple foliage and in Fall turns a brilliant red and orange. It is supposed to be a very hardy Birch which grows to about 30 or 40 feet. When they dug it up, they didn’t get a big root ball–which worries me. We’ve staked it for support, and now we’ll just see what happens. It looks like it’s about 13′ planted.


Here’s a picture of the Hyacinth in bloom. I see why Emily loved them so well. They remind me of lilacs–lots of purfume.


This is the Japanese Maple. It was the most expensive addition, and I felt like I got a bargain for the size and maturity. It will give us a feeling of privacy on the patio, but not obstruct the view of the Mountain.


This is Creeping Myrtle (Fertile Myrtle?!?), the ground cover which will grow under the Maple.


I’m always amazed at how so much dirt seems like so little! This is our new top soil–isn’t it gorgeous?!? Dark, rich, 60/40 mix–yummy. It ran us $23/yard–24 yards (pictured is 12)–and $75 for delivery. We’ll rake it around the yard then till it for our grass.



How are your gardens progressing?