Friday, June 7, 2019

Elle's Rose

It is amazing what proper care can do for a plant.  Cutting away healthy parts is something that we usually avoid.  As a result our roses have not produced much in the way of flowers.  My primary care physician advised pruning roses when the Forsythia is in bloom.  We  followed his advise this year with impressive results.  Elle's rose is in front of Blue Flag.  When Amy and I encountered this native plant in the wild, one or two flowering stalks per plant is what we usually saw.  Under cultivation it has created an impressively sized display.  Field grasses crowded the flag in the wild while here we at least keep the weeds cleared.  When the ground is ready in the new garden, this clump will provide us with several new plants and probably benefit from the thinning.

Elle is one of the women of years that encouraged our early attempts at gardening with both gifts of plants and sage advice.  She is no longer physically with us but her flowering gifts to us bring back pleasant memories of time spent together.  As a gardener, she was a ruthless pruner and her techniques still work wonders.  Our slowness to learn from her was likely a factor in the loss of the double red Rugosa  Rose that she also gave to us.  We have considered buying such a rose but that never seems right.

Eighteen years ago we spent Mother's Day with Amy at Wild Flower Island.  She took the subway from Brooklyn to Grand Central Station station for a commuter train.  From there a ride to Croton placed her near our goal.  We drove to the Croton station then spent the day together.  Purple is a favorite color of mine and we purchased a Meadow Sage plant at the gift shop.  This plant has seeded freely and now grows in several places in or near our paths.

We soon discovered an extremely disagreeable trait of this plant.  Any contact with the leaves releases a stench that reeks of human body odor.  Only in the locker room during a sophomore gym class have I ever encountered a smell as foul as what is released by this plant.  Today I raised the question about the nature of the scent released by these beautiful hooded purple flowers.  It reeks as strongly as the leaves.  There are several reasons why this plant is still with us.  It reminds us of a very special day spent with our firstborn.  This plant sends down a stout tap root so removing it requires considerable time and effort while surrounded  by foulness.  We simply let if grow freely unless we really have plans for the ground it holds.  In this instance beauty comes with a cost.

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