These Salvias grow at my friend Mindy’s house, scene of last Saturday’s project for the Divas of the Dirt. We Divas are a group of Austin women who work together on each other’s garden projects. I joined the group in January 2001, making this my seventh season as one of the seven Divas. On Saturday we were eight, when Mindy’s houseguest, also a gardener, joined us for great food, interactions with nature, and conversations. The Divas worked on one short project and one very long one, and as we left, Mindy shared some extra Salvia greggii and a few pots of Barbados Cherry seedlings. By the time my friend Sophia dropped me at home just before 8 PM, I looked so wrecked that a family member handed over the bottle of Ibuprofen and pointed to the shower. But any day spent with seven wonderful gardeners is a good one, even if exhausting.
Sunday was shared with a different group of seven gardeners - all of them write about gardening and are informally known as the Austin Garden Bloggers. Two April days, each spent with a distinct group of seven other gardeners – what could be more fun? Pam/Digging, R.Sorrell/The Great Experiment, Julie/The Human Flower Project, Vivé/Something About Blooming and Butterflies, Susan/South of the River, Dawn/Suburban Wildlife Garden, and MSS/Zanthan Gardens and I carpooled around the city, stopping to wander around six gardens with some delicious finger-food in one hand and a glass in the other, talking nonstop.
Certain familiar plants were seen in almost every garden, while others were unknown to all but the owner. We have may have trees that are still saplings, or venerable trees that have survived generations of Texas weather. Some of us garden where the land is flat, others with slopes. The houses vary in ages, types and designs, and the gardens used so many plants and contained so many ideas that my head is spinning now as I think about the exhilarating day. But unlike Susan and MSS, I didn’t like awake and think about it last night – for the first time in weeks, I was too tired to think, and fell asleep immediately.
It’s ridiculous how pleased I can be by a single flower. Near the back fence there’s an area planted with red flowers to entice hummingbirds in summer, and a few months ago, I planted some Anemone coronaria ‘The Governor’ to add a little red in spring. Out of 20 corms, only 2 came up, each making a few flowers - this one was gracious enough to be open when the Garden Bloggers were here. One anemone would be lost among the hundreds of flowers in the lush and established gardens I saw yesterday, but one anemone had to be enough in this otherwise green bed.
Although its bud was visible on Sunday, the Siberian iris waited until today to unfold, refusing to perform for the guests. While it’s true that Siberian Iris don’t grow well here – and this single flower took three seasons to appear – it wasn’t a foolish choice ordered from a catalog, but a passalong from my friend Barb in Illinois. We used to trade starts of Siberian iris when I lived up there, much as Pam/Digging and I have traded Iris here. I like to see passalong plants blooming, celebrating our friendships and standing as the emblem of garden friends everywhere who like to plant things just to see what will happen.