Monday, June 4, 2007

Flowers I have grown

I am in the process of putting out all the flowers around our house and it is one of my favorite things to do, ever. I am only limited by the fact that I can kill just about any type of flora with the touch of my hand, like Rappaccini's Daughter.

I can grow:

1) petunias

2) geraniums

3) marigolds

4) vinca

5) hostas

6) mint

I cannot grow:

1) everything else

I even managed to kill day lilies once, which are so mean and hardy that Hoosiers often wearily refer to them as "ditch lilies" and run them down with bush hogs to keep them out of the corn. My mother once nearly disowned me for killing three young peony bushes she had nurtured for me. I tried to blame it on the heating and air-conditioning guy who came to put in the new condenser, but she knew the truth and she scorned me in the knowing.

Petunias, geraniums, marigolds, vinca, hostas and mint all have a special trait in common, and that is that they will put up with any amount of withered-thumb abuse from the likes of me. Except for the fact that petunias must be pinched back and the spent geranium heads have to be broken off, you pretty much couldn't kill any of those six plants with a meat axe. That's what I like in a plant, other than plastic.

The girls and I went to the garden center tonight and bought the flowers (and the mulch) for the front bed where our little Mary shrine is. (I told my husband that I thought it would be very nice to have a shrine made out of an old claw-foot tub buried halfway in the ground, with a statue of the Blessed Mother set inside to simulate a grotto, but he just gave me that one-raised-eyebrow look and bought me a cement one instead.) The theme of our front flowers this year is pink and red with yellow-gold accents. We bought two tall grassy-looking things for the rear sides of the shrine, two big pink geraniums and two red geraniums and two yellow marigolds. I'm sure the grassy-things will probably die, but I'm always full of such wistful hope when I walk through a greenhouse.

A "bathtub Madonna" from Josh Michtom's Madonna Project. Josh spent a
couple of years photographing the religious shrines in Somerville , Massa-
chusetts, which included some really nice bathtub-type shrines, which I find
adorable. Photo credit: Copyright (c) Josh Michtom 2005 All rights reserved.

When we got home, it was absolutely pouring down rain, but we hauled everything out of the van, spread the mulch with a rake and then set the new plants around the statue of Mary in an approximation of how we'd like them to look when we plant them tomorrow. It isn't all that imaginative, but it is very pretty and cheerful.

[For more on Josh's project, visit him at his website.

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