That’s my street name.
While lots of folks have been out running various numbers of Ks over the weekend, and getting somehow tie-dyed in the process (see Color Me Rad), I have been seeking my color in the purple-hued Checkered Lilies that are coming into their own amidst creamy Sailboat narcissus. See the Checkered Lilies down there, all cozy with the white forget-me-nots? Be still, my heart.
Never heard of Checkered Lilies? Let the Dorkess of Botanica enlighten you. Fritillaria meleagris is the correct, Latin name—for those of you who give a rip. Lilies are something entirely different. I can’t help it. I am cursed with an encyclopedic memory for plants, especially flowers. I feel disingenuous if I use common names that mislead and misrepresent. As a result, people mistakenly say “Gesundheit” around me, at least when the conversation rolls around to gardening.
I have also been waging war on the DMZ of vinca vine that tries to sneakily take over more desirable and better behaved citizens of my backyard. For many, this would truly be tantamount to shipping out to an overseas destination for jungle-machete-ing. For me, it is a charming recreation of The Secret Garden, where I am the rescuer of delicate treasures that have been overgrown and lost for so long. For example, I have an old, double white lilac in my back yard. When we moved in three summers ago, I had to take down a black walnut that had insinuated itself right on top of that lilac. It had been weakly attempting to reach into the sun enough to throw a bloom or two, but it was a sad old thing. And black walnut trees are in the business of poisoning things that try to grow underneath their canopies, so they can find no purchase in my landscape.
Most folks would probably have pulled it out and started with something new. But lilacs are so incredible, can live for well over a century, and are part of what I consider the history of the land upon which we dwell. My mother would as soon rip out an old lilac bush as she would rip out her toenail. It’s just a gross and painful thing to endure; why would you do that on purpose? Instead, I cut back dead wood, and have been careful to allow the new branches to grow freely. This year, there are a handful of buds about to open, and this is a triumph for the Dorkess of Botanica.
Consider the amazing wonder of greenitude that is the unfurling of hostas. I can gaze at this green and feel my stress level drop, despite a hellish afternoon at work. If I could just bring my class to my garden, things would be so different. This would, however, be an unquantifiable, unscorable “different,” and therefore, it would not count. Wait. Stress level. Greeeeeeeen.
And THIS green:
That is hakenochloa, Japanese forest grass. And lysimachia nummularia “Aureum”. I’m sorry, but it is. And if you want THAT plant, you have to know that. It also goes by the sweet, old fashioned moniker: Creeping Jenny. It’s a creeper, can be invasive, so go for the gold kind, because you are never going to get rid of the old school, green one. So you want to plant that next to your mean neighbor’s parking strip or something. Very passive-aggressive. If I could plant it in some of my students’ desks, you bet I would. It would reduce their stress, probably.
This baby fern can make me emotional. This is why I am the unchallenged Dorkess.