As a child I was always fascinated with ‘favourites.’ Time and again I would pester my parents and grandparents as to which of my siblings and I were their favourite, and time and again my Grandmother would reply with infinite wisdom that we were all her favourites, each of us unique and different in our own special ways! Looking back I can only laugh at the absolute irony of her words!
I have to admit that I am more than slightly preferential towards the ‘Rare & Unusuals‘ border than any other. Here is where a collection of my most treasured plants reside – many of them smaller and more delicate than other members of my garden’s repertoire. When, after years of being frightened away by their ‘cantankerous and unforgiving growth requirements,’ I finally decided that I wanted to try my hand at the most regal of all terrestrial orchids, Cypripedium reginae, it was here, in a narrow bed that ran the length of the garage, well protected from Mother Nature’s sometimes unforgiving elements, cast in a perfectly sublime mixture of morning and late afternoon sun, and most importantly, in a bed that was brimming with rich organic pine bark infused compost, that I trepidatiously planted my ‘Princess.’
For the next two years I waited and watched patiently – convinced that perhaps the garden pundits were right, and I had embarked upon nothing less than a horticultural folly! Imagine my surprise and overwhelming sense of elation, when, three Springs later I was rewarded with my first bloom! [I think I lost an entire year of my life, so obsessed and preoccupied was I in capturing her stunning regal beauty!]
Of course being the ADD riddled gardener that I am, I soon found myself facing even more glorious distractions! Its no secret that blue is my favourite colour ever, and there is no leeway afforded when it comes to the garden. I’m a firm believer that colour blindness runs rampant, especially within the hort industry: how else to explain the bizarre number of mauve and purple flowers that are advertized as being ‘the bluest of blue!’ I spent a year and a half searching out the hypnotic blue flowering Corydalis flexuosa ‘Blue Panda',’ thanks in part to a photo that a gardening friend posted on gardenweb – one of many internet based gardening forums. It was love, lust and a mighty big hortgasm all wrapped into one tidy package. Eventually I was able to locate my beloved ‘Cory,’ and the rest they say is history. It was during this stupendously cool and moist gardening year that it simply outdone itself. All six of my various blue flowering selections started blooming towards the end of May and continued to do so until well after the first frost. It should be cited that with most of the blue flowering species, there is a tendency towards early dormancy at the first sign of extended heat or humidity. [Just this past season, I had one plant that decided it was going to hang around and reward me with one or two blooms…. the others were busy daydreaming back to the summer that was, back to the summer of ‘09…. [Sounds like a Bryan Adams song doesn’t it!]
So there you have it, a brief journey back in time to a year where a simple plot of soil, with a little bit of magical assistance from Mother Nature, outshone itself and provided a slightly obsessed gardener with more joy than even he could have imagined!