By LYNNE IRONS
If I could rename my perennial bed a meadow, I would feel smug in the knowledge that I was a raging success as a gardener. There must be something about this karma thing; how could a person get so far behind in one lifetime? I have learned to live with many of my weeds. In the early summer I had a huge amount of daisy fleabane which has reseeded everywhere. This aster relative (Erigeron annuus) received its common name from a belief that the dried flower heads of the plant could rid a dwelling of fleas. As if!
Now I have an equal amount of the wild asters and boltonia which are quite lovely and cover up a multitude of late summer neglects.
While on the subject of weeds, let’s talk about the much-maligned goldenrod. The Latin Solidage is cultivated in various forms because of its showy late-season flowers. These flowers suggest the plant to be insect-pollinated, unlike the actual allergy-producing culprit, ragweed. Ragweed is wind pollinated and therefore is in the air one breathes.
While mowing some hostas on a job site last week, I came across hundreds of tiny seedlings. It was the first time I have ever noticed them seeding themselves. Perhaps I am becoming more observant or this may be unusual?
I have been working on hydrangeas this past week. So many of the heavy heads have become unattractive and are ruining the lawns. Remember the Macrophilla varieties, both lacecap and big mophead types, bloom on old growth. As you take the head, go to the first bud. The old sticks down inside the plant can be cut to the ground now or wriggled loose in the spring. Some of the heads that still are maintaining their color can be dried for winter arrangements. Strip the leaves and hang upsidedown for about a week or so. They are nice alone or in a big vase on the floor with dried seed pods and grasses.
The paniculata variety blooms on new growth and also can be cut now for dried bouquets. You may cut hard, as they will put on one or two feet of new growth next season. I am particularly fond of the Tardiva cultivar.
I have received such great feedback for the column for which I am grateful and humbled. However, those who are not crazy about my political views speak their minds as well. I appreciate and take under advisement all comments. Nonetheless, criticism has always egged me on. Sorry.
I was thinking of buying a new cider press as the one I share with my friend Sharlee is showing signs of disrepair. It is probably 100 years old. I think it would be wiser to invest in farm and food processing equipment than in mutual funds. Ah ha! Here is the segue.
I think Osama Bin Laden has won the war on terror. He targeted both the symbols of our financial greatness and of our military strength. Both are showing signs of deep stress. I have never been able to figure out why the 9/11 attacks were not viewed as criminal acts of mass murder, like the Oklahoma City incident, with the appropriate law enforcement reaction. The most important gain for Bin Laden was that our nation is now terrorized. The President’s response of going to war with Iraq has put us in a monetary and moral tailspin. In his defense — his pants were on fire.
I whiled away a perfectly enjoyable hour having a political conversation with Bob Skydell on the porch of Fiddlehead Farm. He has convinced me that we need to return to the tried and true remedy for lying politicians — pelting them with ripe fruit. Since facts and integrity don’t seem to matter, perhaps shame and humiliation will do the trick.