Maybe you recognized that line as a riff on the recent family history series "Who Do You Think You Are?" It was fun to see Twitter-friend Megan Smolenyak on the show, helping celebrities find out answers to mysteries of their family's past. My time and brain cells have been devoted more to genealogy than to gardening lately - and until last night's blessed 2-inches of rain fell, the gardening mostly consisted of watering.
Somehow old records suddenly appeared, solving some puzzles while sprinkling new question marks all over the charts.
Some of the findings are fun: A previously unknown great-grand-aunt appeared out of thin air on the Zoelle branch! Researching this name has produced such variations as Zolle, Zolla, Zoller, Zello, Seller & Colley.
Some of the findings are disturbing: so many death certificates had forms of tuberculosis as the cause of death that I started reading about its effects on Chicago in the late 1800's-early 1900's. Now I'm feeling emotionally overwhelmed with sympathy for my poor immigrant ancestors, many of them born before TB was recognized as infectious rather than an inherited tendency. Logic and reason remind me this happened so long ago that they'd all be dead by now... even without consumption to carry them off...how is it possible to mourn for and with people you never knew?
Enough of Family Trees for now! It's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, begun by May Dreams Carol. Even in that relationship genealogy comes into play... I first found Carol in a web search- not through her garden blog, but at her Grandmother's Diary.
In other months my GBBD posts may feature plants that will only grow where winters are comparatively mild - Texas mountain laurel, Carolina jessamine, White ginger or bluebonnets.But sometimes a vignette like this one looks quite similar to some place 1200 miles away and a dozen years ago.
This little reblooming daylily, a recross of 'Stella d'Oro' called 'Vi's Apricot', used to flower in Illinois -
But it bloomed in July rather than May, and never at the feet of a 'Meyer's Improved' lemon tree!
Tomato blossoms are beautiful no matter where or when they bloom.
Calibrachoa and green beans are pretty universal, aren't they?
The so-called Ditch Lily (Hemerocallis fulva) really did grow in roadside drainage ditches in Illinois. It was so common that I didn't bother to bring a piece with me to Texas. It's been nearly 11 years since I saw one blooming but thanks to Good and Evil Lori this Wisconsin-born orange daylily opened flowers today.
And thanks to the inspiration of MSS of Zanthan Gardens, the daylilies opened with a cloud of 'Royal Wedding' sweet peas above them
In Illinois the yellow rose would have been 'Graham Thomas' instead of 'Julia Child', the pine was a dwarf Mugho Pine instead of an Italian Stone Pine and the pale purple bells of Mexican Oregano would never survive winter, but the vine in the background would be the same -a Clematis 'Ramona' eventually shows up in all my gardens, no matter where we live.
So does the light yellow daylily, Hemerocallis 'Happy Returns' - here with other old favorites blue larkspur, yarrow Achillea 'Moonshine', yellow snapdragons and Salvia farinacea. The main difference in this scene versus one in Illinois is that the rocks are free in Texas!
If I see a beloved plant from the past on the distressed/sale table there's a good chance I'll try to grow it here. This Oakleaf Hydrangea followed me home from Countryside Nursery last winter
But before anyone calls the Reality Police and tells them to stage an intervention, here is proof that I really do know where I am. This is Austin, Texas, where Salvia 'Black & Blue' grows like a weed
Where exotic fruits like Pineapple Guava are used as garden shrubs
And tender fruit trees like 'Wonderful' Pomegranate live through the winter and bloom
Where 'Celeste' figs grow uncovered and unprotected as landscape elements
Where a fragrant double yellow Oleander from Plant Delights
Combines with fragrant white Confederate jasmine
And a fragrant white 'Little Gem' magnolia to scent the air and make one feel like a superannuated Scarlet O'Hara
Austin is a place where odd lilies like Eucomis copy pineapples
A Justicia pretends to be a Shrimp
And Cuphea llaevea mimics a Bat's face
Where Pam's passalong Aloe can survive hail and cold in the shelter of a holly tree to bloom in the shade
Where wildflowers like Texas Paintbrush can be picked up at local nurseries to grow as container plants on the patio (last year's plants even seeded in the front lawn!)
And where the tender Rosa Mutabilis that I once sighed over in out-of-zone gardening books elbows out every other plant in the front border
Here's one more look at the 'Royal Wedding' Sweet peas, caught a few days ago as the sun came through their petals in early morning light. The seeds came from the Natural Gardener - a little gift when we bought our second rainbarrel last winter.
Happy Blooming Day! Celebrate by checking out the gardens linked to the GBBD post at May Dreams Gardens.
(The GBBD List is now up)