Tuesday, June 23, 2009
A Toad Lily by any other name would not smell as sweet
About the weed. I have a very shady garden and am perpetually looking for perennials to stick here or there that will thrive in the dark and dank flower beds. Whenever I read about shade gardens or talk to someone, hostas are always mentioned and I do have hostas, but I would love to try something else. I am always excited to get coupons from local nurseries that offer a free perennial and use that chance to find some new sun-shunning, yet bright and lovely, flower. Last week armed with my coupon and the baby, I perused the rows of plants. There was a large variety of pots labeled "full sun." Ha ~ sun! So easy ~ any old thing likes the sun (I remark disdainfully). It takes a certain amount of creativity and resourcefulness to design an interesting shade garden. Aha! There is something new. I pick it up and see that is loves shade, positively thrives on its coolness, and it has a picture of a beautiful purply blue flower described as being "orchid-like." I bring it home, find the ideal spot, pull the weeds out of that otherwise empty location, dig a big hole (which generally requires sawing through the roots of the tree providing all of that shade), and sit back to wait for it to bloom. Meanwhile as I am weeding and gardening in other areas of my yard I notice that the leaves on my newfound gem look eerily familiar. In fact, I think we have gotten up close and personal every time I am yanking said leaf out of the ground! There is a weed that has proliferated every corner and is hard to stop. It does have a beautiful purply blue flower so I have allowed it to linger until it is finished flowering and then it is OUT. Lo and behold that weed is called a Toad Lily and apparently people like it and sell it and buy it with actual money. And the flower (that I saw on the label) is super.duper.tiny. I suppose it might be orchid-like if one could actually see it. As a child my Uncle John told me, "A weed is just an undiscovered flower." And that seems to be the case here. I simply didn't appreciate what I already had and will now, of course, look at it with new eyes. The chickweed choking my vegetables and the other prickly things poking their heads are still noxious. This has happened once before when I actually bought a violet (loud laughter) before I realized that there is a reason that it is the state flower of Illinois and I already have a spectacular patch of it. It is pretty for about a week and the rest of the time I am trying to separate it from the grass and the strawberries and the lavender and the roses and the basil and the boxwood and the thyme and the daisies... Ahem, violets anyone?