Thursday, May 11, 2006

With daffodils mad footnotes for the spring, And asters purple asterisks for autumn. - Conrad Aiken

List Friday, courtesy of Loretta, of Pomegranates and Paper

This week's theme: Just think of those plants that bring a smile to your face, that you look forward to seeing each spring and summer, or those that remind you of your grandmother, friend, kid...


Crocuses - The true harbingers of spring.

Forsythia. I like them wild, not trimmed.

French tulips - My little brother's wife used French tulips at her wedding, and they were so classy and beautiful, just like her.

Grape hyacinth. What said sister-in-law's bridesmaids carried.

Hydrangea - mine are white, but I love the blue ones. It's got something to do with the soil Ph, yes?

Lilacs - The scent is intoxicating. I have an enormous one by my front porch. It always makes me think of the lilac bush in Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic. You know, the one they buried the bad dude under, and then it grew madly. So if, say, H were to piss me off, and disappear, you would know where to start looking...

Sunflowers - Alternate between loving their cheery big faces, and being creeped out by the enormous ones. Primo and I try to plant some each spring but they never ever seem to come up.
My little brother brought my mom sunflowers in the hospital several weeks running. Every time I see them, I think of my little brother and how wonderful he was to my mom. And how amazingly he stepped up to the plate, in so many ways, when she was sick.

Buttercups - I LOVE butter. And every single buttercup I have ever held under my chin has told me so.

Lavender - I try to grow lavender everywhere I live. You should always have lavender in your garden. It's soothing. And it dries so nicely.

Blueberry bushes - how cool is it to have all the blueberries you can eat, growing IN YOUR BACKYARD? Yeah!

Japanese plum trees - so pretty, so delicate.

Sugar maple trees - the colors in the fall are breath-taking. The first real sign of autumn, and then you give in and acknowledge that it's time to break out the sweaters.

Christmas trees. Another intoxicating scent.

Magnolia trees in bloom.

Horse chestnuts - they make such lovely projectiles (see the sweet gum, below).

Violets - scattered thoughout the lawn. They just make me happy.

Honeysuckle - I know there are invasive types, but it just smells so dang yummy.

Those bright orange Stella d'Oro daylilies, that "real" gardeners seem to find so common. There were a ton that grew up out of my dad's compost heap in my childhood home...I noticed them when we were clearing out the house after my mom's the first time I really noticed them. I think they're beautiful and graceful. It also helps that they multiply like crazy, thereby filling in large amounts of space fairly quickly.

Creeping phlox - I just planted a bunch of pinkish-purple, to hang over the concrete wall that borders the alley.

I also like black-eyed susans, and snapdragons, and balloon flowers.
I once tried to plant my backyard with "Meadow Mix" - like meadow-in-a-can, but it didn't work. If I had unending yard, I would designate part of it as the meadow and plant it with nothing but wildflowers (what H calls weeds). I would revel in the dandelions!

Basil - yummy smell, try to keep it growing on my windowsill throughout the winter, and wonderful paired with...

Tomato plants - I adore homegrown, sun-ripened, bursting tomatoes, pulled off the vine in late August and sliced up, layered on cheese and crackers, with a sprinkle of salt and some basil. Heaven on earth to the tastebuds.


I also have a list of plants I hate, because I am just like that -

Spider plants gross me out.

So do aloe vera and most succulents.

As do spider mums.

I don't really like mums in general.
Although there's a children's book by Kevin Henkes about a little mouse named Chrysanthemum that I like very much.

Cantaloupe plants - I tried to grow cantaloupe once and the plants attract or generate or something these crunchy, long, red bugs. SO revolting.

Do NOT like hosta, except some types of variegated and then only in moderation, and kept small.

There are these evergreen plants on the corner of my block, kinda fringe-y and long-leaved, that smell JUST LIKE cat piss.

What we in Pittsburgh call "jagger bushes."

Also, yards covered with ivy groundcover. The bugs, the bugs that might be hiding under there. Ewwwww.

I have an out-of-control Rose of Sharon that I have just recently decided is straggly and ugly and annoying. And must go.

I find florist shop roses boring (but we have a ton of rosebushes on the alley that will bloom soon, those I love.)

And colored carnations (like blue and green) are an act against Nature.

Magnolia trees AFTER they have bloomed and the petals are all slimy and disgusting underfoot.

Also, I DESPISE gingko trees. Those smelly things that fall off them make me sick. And my running route takes me through an entire gauntlet of the damn things.

My brother hates sweet gum trees, the hundreds of thousands of sweet gum balls that fall off his trees are the very bane of his existence...but I have to admit to a kind of soft spot for those hairy, prickly little ball thingeys. When we were little kids, we'd gather them up and have huge fights with them, throwing them at each other. They HURT. Much worse than snowballs.


And hoo boy, that last paragraph is so going to bump up our Google hits...


Joke said...

I understood so little of what you just wrote that there ia greater danger of me understanding the transcripts of Bec & Kim's text messages from "Dubbo."

I'm begging you, please get some sleep.


Carolyn said...

I love lilacs and blueberries. Yum.

Do you have blueberries in your back yard? I think that's what you were saying.

I've been waiting for you to post ALL DAY. :)

I've smelled the cat piss plants and there's one yard in our neighborhood with something that smells like a men's urinal that hasn't been cleaned in a year. That was a long sentence.

jess said...

I adore blueberries & lilacs. There's a HUGE blueberry field at my church and I could go there & pick everyday while they're in season and never get sick of them. I also have a huge soft spot for wisteria - "wisteria & sunshine," like Enchanted April.

I must say, though, that I'm appalled at your dislike for succulents. I think they're darling. I'm not sure if we can still be friends.

blackbird said...

I am shocked, SHOCKED I TELL YOU, to see that I love all the ones that you do, and hate all the others.


BabelBabe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
BabelBabe said...

um, joke = no chance of that till like 2010. if then.

carolyn, i feel so loved.
and we had blueberry bushes at the old house but not here yet, sadly.

jess - that seems a bit extreme, dont you think? i mean, it's one thing, among so many. sigh.

and you need an email on your profile...

bbird dear, i too am shocked and amazed.

Lazy cow said...

I love Kevin Henkes "Chrysanthemum" too. "Practical Magic" wasn't one of her best, but it was a good sight better than that crappy film. Oh wait, we were talking about flowers. Lilacs and lavendar are my favourites too.

Loretta said...

I'm one for one with you on your love and hates except for succulents, which I love planted in a crowded pot.

Add to my hate list with the mums and florist roses: carnations.

Oh, and we had several gingkos and it's only the females that get the fruit (or is the males). Anyway, only one of the sex and I love the shape of the leaf and the fact that it is an ancient, prehistoric species.

Loretta said...

P.S. cat pee bushes - boxwood.

Carolyn said...

Oh, I forgot to say that I love aloe vera, but only because they are great for when we burn ourselves.

Katya said...

Lugustrums and sweet olive trees -- I think I should be allowed to take blow torches to them. I can smell them even when I can't see the blooms and the smell gives me such a headache and makes my eyes water. Nothing else does that to me.

I like succulents -- especially jade and aloe.

Sarah Louise said...

Here's me, sposed to be packing...I'm not crazy about mums either, though the Chrysanthemum is the flower of the month for November, my birthday month. TULIPS! Did they make your list? I will go back and read. (Skimmed to get here...I gotta slow down!!!)

The vw agrees with me:

andrea said...

beer and bites countdown, 9 hours, 39 minutes...

ps, last night he was up three times. maybe if i drink enough, i'll sleep right through it tonight.

julia said...

I like all the ones you listed. And the cat pee plants, yuck. Who thought THAT was a good idea? They must be cheap as chips, because every professionally lanscaped job has them. Nasty, nasty things.

Johnny Jump-ups. I love those. They're so cheerful. Pansies are nice, too, but they're like Johnny Jump-ups bigger, rather disapproving sister. Nice, but a bit school-marm-ish.

Is it weird that I assign personalities to flowers?

Joke said...

2010? Is that when Gina comes back?