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Spring's Lottery

Only one of four anthemis varieties I planted last year has come up this spring. I keep going out to check: nope, no sprouts, nothing. I got them with a gift cetificate my daughter gave me for Mother's Day, and I was so enchanted with them, that my mind refuses to grasp that three are gone. Even though surprises like this happen every spring.

Pennyroyal often doesn't make it through the winter for me, but there's a foot-square patch of it already thriving; it'll be five or six times that big by fall. When pennyroyal doesn't overwinter, I buy more, because I depend on it as an insect repellant all summer.

In the lawn near the mailbox, the four-year-old volunteer tulip came back. I have no idea how it got there — or how it can survive, since it keeps getting mowed down to a few inches of leaf. Maybe this year I'll get it transplanted to somewhere it can grow and eventually bloom.

Last year I managed to get rid of maybe a hundred plants of beautiful but terribly invasive bronze-leafed ajuga; a friend had a difficult spot she was happy to invite them to take over. I found a variety which looked similar, but was supposed to have no stolons, and so spread quite slowly. I bought one plant; indeed it had no stolons, all last year — but now it does, magnificently!

Four years ago the spring's big surprise was a mayapple emerging in my wildflower bed. It had died, I thought, not the previous fall, but the one before that. When I'd brought it home in the spring of that year, it had two leaves and a two-inch rhizome. But the leaves had withered away, and I was sure it was dead. Now it's such a healthy-looking clump I hope it's established. Still you never know.

I'm a sucker for asters. I encourage the natives, to have clouds of pale blue all over my garden in September. In the deeper-colored cultivated varieties, I keep buying new introductions closer to blue. Last year, creeping phlox surrounded my most recent find. I didn't expect to see the aster emerge from the phlox this spring — but it has.

Hmm. I think one of the anthemis was overcome by a row of wild asters behind it. I've had trouble finding a plant that will do well there. Some creeping phlox would look good....

© Copyright 2004 Catherine Holmes Clark

Published in the six Nashoba Publications papers on Friday, 21 May 2004

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The photo above shows my mayapple clump, in flower.