Word Garden

Sidalcea malviflora or Party Girl

We plant gardens with any number of goals and challenges in mind, orchestrating hue, height and bloom time for a symphony of color spring through fall. We fill shady spots with hostas and scatter marigolds through the vegetables  to keep the bugs at bay.  Red-hued monarda (bee balm) is a surefire draw for hummingbirds and butterfly bush well, you can guess what guests flutter by for a visit. I plant delphinium everywhere I can just to lose myself in that cobalt blue.

And if color weren’t enough, I wander through garden centers and page through catalogs for the sheer joy of reading the names of the flowers, delighting in how the Latin and English roll around  my tongue and vocal cords.

How can you pass up a flower named heliotrope? Deep luscious purple, its name evokes three-syllable flight followed by  a hard landing of explosive consonants.  And is there a soul out there who does not think of the Wicked Witch of the West at the mere mention of “poppies…poppies”?  Forsythia bloomed in huge golden hedges back in New York.  Every spring I thought what a great dedication that name would make for a gardening book.

Coreopsis, euphorbia, cimifuga, lisianthus — don’t they just fill your mouth with wonder?  And then there’s wisteria. Many hate its rampant habit. Not me. Wistfulness on the vine, those lavender-tinted clusters. One whiff and I’m back in third grade reaching on tippie-toe to inhale the perfumed blossoms hanging heavy over the wall from the house next door.

But my all time favorite is Party Girl, pictured above.  How can you pass up having in your garden a flower that goes by the name of Party Girl? And up to that name she lives! Last year I planted her over there and this year her sister is whooping it up some eight feet over. A couple of their cousins somehow made it to the back yard and are tossing their saucy pink heads back and forth in the breeze.

Next year I’m thinking of interplanting some Bachelor Buttons amongst my Party Girls. Just think of the propagation. How knautia.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

3 thoughts on “Word Garden

  1. brooklyn gary

    Thank you for this timely post. It is time to stop and smell the roses! A flower is not a tsunami or a hurricane, just a small piece of nature’s domain, a place where nature can be applauded for its creation of beauty and sensory delight, not derided for its destructive force.

    Still these names are all given by man to identify a uniqueness. And yes they could be fun if you can pronounce them. Who knew how all this fun was going on in the Flora-Naming world? Dennis Desjardin, a Professor of Biology at San Fransisco State University and an expert on the evolution and biodiversity of fungi species has discovered more than 200 new fungi species, including luminescent mushrooms. Professor Desjardin just named a newly identified mushroom species – a native of Borneo – Spongiforma squarepantsii – after Spongebob Squarepants. Perhaps something new to plant for next year?

    I do suggest you inspect the fields of Party Girls often. Maintaining a watchful vigil will help you ward off the dreaded weed – Politicianico, often found draped and creeping nearby. OK I made that up! But you know, where you find PG’s….

    Alas, unfortunately for some of us, along with the pungent crispness of freshly cut grass, and the enveloping miasma of endless roadside honeysuckle, coreopsis, euphorbia, cimifuga, lisianthus don’t fill the mouth with wonder, but with Claritin! For us it’s time to stop and spell the r-o-s-e-s!

    1. Debra

      Ah my wonderful cousin Gary! Your sly wit is always a delight. The dreaded weed Politicianico indeed.
      I’m pretty sure Politicianico, subspecies of Grabopportunitus Immoralitus, is a hardy perennial capable
      of growing in shade or sun, wetlands and desert,

  2. Judi A.

    I cannot come close to a witty response like “Cousin Gary’s” but I did so enjoy reading the names of all the flowers and then seeing them in my mind. All flowers that at one time or other I have had in my flower gardens over the years. I do miss having flowers, but it isn’t the same here and the steady 100+ temps and searing sun are not too conducive to growing them. Though I do have some day lillies and black-eyed susans up on the hill that are persistant in coming back each year and give me great joy.

Comments are closed.