Thursday, April 14, 2011

long path to primrose pride

I am inordinately proud of the Mexican evening primroses (Oenothera speciosa) that have finally started blooming in our parking strip. According to seed stories, part 3, I planted the seeds in February of last year, so it took a good fourteen months and two more postings (parking strip, part 1 and part 2before we saw the first pink blossom.

On March 6, 2010, I wrote:
     "New plants -- Mexican evening primrose and California poppies -- will be planted in the sheltered areas next to the Chinese evergreen elm and two well established jade plants, but not until after the war on weeds goes into a moratorium to be specially decreed for that purpose."

The primrose and poppy seeds were planted in pure sifted compost from which a large population of sow bugs had been laboriously removed. I don't remember any weed moratorium, but somehow the seedlings were set out as planned. All of the poppies, along with the primroses sheltered by jade plants, vanished without a trace,* but the magenta blossoms of ice plant at the base of the Chinese evergreen elm are co-existing nicely with primroses. They look very much like the primrose-and-African daisy combo described by fellow blogger 'Garden Wise Guy,' who ends his post with these self-deprecating words: "Nothing profound here. Please move along. Thank you."**

I have transplanted two tiny primroses into the center of our largest front-yard bed -- the one anchored by a white azalea and bordered by a mix of freesias, hyacinths, ranunculi, and convulvus mauritanicus. This bed was a driveway at one time, so the soil is not wonderful, especially in the center, which is populated with drought-tolerant lavenders and an on-again-off-again Mexican sage. Daring to create a horticultural barrio, I have placed the Mexican primroses on either side of the sage, and am looking forward to their intermingling. Naturally one of my poems comes to mind. I wrote about the way a pole lima had climbed my Banks rose: "this magic will touch the slow-cooking beans of winter / and scent them ever so lightly with rose."

Being a wildflower at heart, Mexican evening primrose can be invasive. I hope not to reach the point where I say, with yet another garden blogger: "No more primroses, please!"

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*My poppy saga is described in greener on the other side (March 19, 2011), and I'm happy to report that the poppies from the two four-inch pots are looking healthy though blossomless in the cactus and succulent bed.

**GWG flirts with profundity (consonance and imagination, at least) in Foliage Foundations and Gnasty Gnomes (the Gs are silent). He turns out to be an important Santa Barbara garden designer whose parking strip work has been featured on Sunset Magazine's garden blog, Fresh Dirt.

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License