One day in January I pruned the old spirea bush in a way that was alarming to some readers. You may remember this image from the subsequent dreams it inspired:
Today this spirea is quite focused on growing and not looking dead, which is a great relief. Still it does seem to me that it rather resembles an ottoman…
But that is doubtless because I just reupholstered a real ottoman –it was yellow– so I am in tune with ottoman forms right now. (In the course of acquiring my yellow ottoman I also observed that many people who post ads on Craigslist spell the word this way: automan. The one I bought was an ottoman but now I kind of want an automan too because it likely wouldn’t need to be reupholstered and could maybe change the oil in the car.)
I do have another spirea, one that is all in flower, called Spiraea media ‘Snow Storm’ — a pretty good name for it. Unlike the old shrub, which is I believe is called a bridal wreath sort with blooms all along the stems, this one flowers in clumps of bloom, but they are airy and free looking, uninhibited and might be cheerfully talkative and have loopy handwriting.
This one is only about two years old while the pruned one is about a hundred years old. Or maybe a thousand. Anyway ‘Snow Storm’ gets cut back lightly after blooming (like a haircut, no trauma), it grows to about four feet tall (that’s twelve teaspoons, end-to-end, Alberto) and the leaves get all colored up in the fall.
The native plants seem quite happy in captivity or at least they don’t run away. Here is the Douglas Iris (or Douglas’ Iris). I like the color and the understated form of the blooms.
It’s named for David Douglas, a Scottish botanist sent by the Horticultural Society in London to the Pacific Northwest in 1826. He collected tons of native plants and ultimately introduced over 240 new species to Great Britain, which is why so many Oregon native plants are called Douglas, like the fir tree. Unfortunately Mr. Douglas fell into a pit trap in Hawaii when he was only 35 years old and was killed by a wild bull which somehow fell in as well. Was the bull chasing Mr. Douglas? Was Mr. Douglas trying to domesticate the bull? We will never know…
In my garden the Douglas iris seeded itself one year. Of course I saved some of the seedlings and have used them in new places. After a couple of years they form a large clump. In the early spring I whack back the old leaves and the new ones emerge like a little fountain. (The circle of whack and grow…)
Another native plant to make you look at today is small-flowered alumroot (Heuchera micrantha), apparently something David Douglas overlooked or least didn’t give his name to. (I hope he didn’t step on it.)
Today the ones in my garden are frothing their tall (24 inches) plumes of tiny blooms around like fog.
All of the roses are about to flower, but you likely don’t want to see about to flower so they will wait until next time. Well here’s one.