Just a short thought on encoring irises and asters.
I received the special box of twice blooming irises from Dutch Gardens last
week from the local UPS delivery man who always remarks that he just doesn't
know where I'll put this latest shipment. Only this time he remarked that
he'd actually been
worrying about me as my deliveries had slacked off so much that he had
contemplated coming up on his lunch break and seeing if I was
alright.....that made me smile and blush, as I never think I'm that
important to people. I sometimes under estimate my friendliness and
sincerity and forget that people really do like me for who I am and how I am
Well, as he turned around in the tight driveway up here on the dead end, his
grin was very obvious thru the huge front window of the large square truck,
and as he got the tight turn under control and aimed out of the shared
driveway, he pulled up alongside of me by the stuffed and overflowing
sidewalk beds and hollered out "HOWDY GIRL!!!! Dang I was wondering if yew
were alrite! I was actually pondering if I should come up here on one of my
dinner breaks and see if yew were still alive an
kickin' and when I was loading up m' truck, I saw yer address on this here
Dutch Gardens box and said to m'self, Self? Miz Catron is alive and still
shoving plants in every available space, it's time to deliver these to her
and see if she's planted the gutters yet....<GBSEG>"
We both had a good laugh at my joke I'd made seven years ago when he first
came up here and met me. His next inquiry was where Rose was, since he
could hear her barking, and I told him that Rose was fine and fat, but I had
a new puppy that was impossible to get back inside the house by the name of
Sugar Foote, Sugar for short. We chatted a bit, me asking politely how his
little woman was doing and his family and then he grinned and jumped up in
his truck, telling me he hated the satellite tracking devices on the truck
sometimes, other times he loved it, and reached inside his front section
behind the curtain and pulled out a small, square box. He tossed it up once
and said to me "hmmmm, looks like yew ain't planted them gutters like yew
were figuring on doing yet, and it appears you've ordered more plants...girl
you amaze me. And I ain't NEVER seen anything like the mass of flowers you
and yer critters grow
yet. There's a woman in another part of this area that comes close, but she
ain't no cigar or blue ribbon and deffinately no competition in having such
a di-versity......." He came to the passenger doorway and handed me the
box, and I looked at the lable and saw it was Dutch Gardens, and told him
"ALRIGHT!!! It's my twice blooming irises!!! Mary Emma will be so happy!"
And he looked at me and laughed and said "looks like Marilyn is happier
right now than Mary Emma will be when she gets her share" and laughed a good
The visit was too soon over and he was lamenting that he didn't have time
for a glass of my cold sweet iced tea, as he said I made it just strong and
sweet enough to warrent coming back to on a hot day. I thanked him for his
kindness and told him he'd have to come up sometime on his dinner break for
a cold glass of my house wine of the south and we'd sit and have a sandwich
and do some catching up while the dawgs ran around us and mooched for
scraps. I got a hug off of him and he said he'd tell "mama" he'd got to see
the flower lady alias the madgardener, again, and maybe he'd bring her up to
visit and meet me herself sometime.
I told him he had to bring her when the flowers were showing off and that
the season was fast waning and he jerked his thumb over his shoulder and
said, "looks like them asters aren't quite ready for showing off yet, I
remember you called them Frank Arti's? And I had to laugh at him, and
correct him gently as I told him, "Well that's awful close and pretty good
memory since I gave you their name the last time you saw them in full bloom
at the end of September and into October and that musta been two or three
years ago......it's Frakartii asters, honey......<g>" and we shared another
chuckle and I told him I needed to cut him free to deliver more happiness'.
As we bid each other a good day, and he said he'd see me again, especially
if I relented and put in a fall bulb order with somebody, he hoped I was
doing alright at Lowe's and that stopped me dead in my tracks and I turned
around and asked him, now how in the world did you know I worked there in
Outside Lawn and Garden? He grinned that neat smile of his and told me he'd
heard from a friend of his that him and his wife had had this encounter with
this really neat and knowledgable little woman in Morristown who knew alot
about flowers. He told me that when questioning him about his encounter,
his buddy had told him she introduced herself by her name and then told them
she was also known as the madgardener, and he knew immediately that it was
(dragging toe in dirt, and feeling all "shucks" and such) That was amazing
to me, but I told him given time, the reputation would spread about me, and
that it hasn't even been a full year there yet.......could he imagine what
it'd be like if it was a few years?? He told me he was happy that I was
doing what I liked to do, and that he wasn't surprised by my reputation,
since I was pretty smart about what I loved so much.
That was a humbling experience, as I walked back inside the house, squeezing
past Rose and Sugar and to the back of the house to my nook to open the box
and look at the contents.
Two collections of twice blooming irises. Rhizomes lovingly wrapped in
tissue paper, each rhizome cut off to a short fan, tucked carefully and
rolled up nice and neat and then sealed with a lable with each name of each
iris on it. Mother Earth, Immortality, Well Endowed, Champagne Elegance,
Autumn Circus, and the bonus one, Painted Clouds. Now I wish I had the
flier they'd sent me with the pictures of each iris in bloom. Oh well,
they'll be a nice surprise when they reach mature blooming proportions. I
know just the spot after I pot them up to get a year's growth in first.
As I sat there feeling each rhizome thru the paper, I reached for the phone
I've mounted in the window sill of my nook and called Mary Emma and left her
a message that there be irises and to call me. I gazed outside and the
hummingbird feeder was busy as my hummers are supping with quite a fever and
zest that is hilarious. Sometimes they share the feeder and ignore each
other as they fill up on the super sweet water I've made for them (twice as
sweet for the long flight when they finally leave), other times they're
quite the thugs, chasing each other off, jealous and greedy and not willing
to share their sugar water and space.
I had some time to kill, so I got up and walked outside and sure enough, the
UPS driver was right. My "Frank Akarti" (frakartii <g>) were starting to pop
open. The morning was cool with the taste of a day that would heat up and
feel good on a back in the garden, but it would be different in the nursery
at work. I walked to the spot where the aster reached upwards and some
curved and fell outside the bed towards the car parked behind them. As I
looked at the early arrivers, I saw a glimpse of pink and there were
struggling stems of pink obedient plants that I'd forgotten I'd tucked into
the center of this bed in attempts to have something beside them blooming.
The purple loosestrife has leaped out of this bed thankfully to settle
happily in the clay soil and still cranks out blossoms on spent candelabra
stems. I have tucked a nice little mum into the spot where the Cherokee
rustic rudbeckia's finally bloomed themselves out in the cement planter.
It's a nice touch with the burgandy and blood colored coleus that are now
blooming with abandon. Tall spikes of flowers that the bees are so grateful
When Mary Emma came to get her iris rhizomes she remarked that if I left the
plants in the pots, the coleus would reseed for me next year. Guaranteed.
I think I'll let them be and see how they do next year. And if they don't
reseed, I can always plant something else in the pots anyway.
I have tucked each iris into it's own individual pot with a stainless steel
lable, writing on the outside of the pot and permanent ink written on the
leaves of each fan. They were all knobby with new roots, healthy and ready
for soil of any kind. They promise me images in a couple of years of their
names. I can't wait to see Mother Earth. Nor can I wait to see Painted
Clouds or Autumn Circus.
Now I have a hankering for some colchicums to tuck under a few bushes for
fall display. To find those radiata Lycoris (I prefer the redness of these
spider like flowers over the pink, trumpet "Naked Ladies")
I will write to you of an early fall day up here in Fairy Holler tomorrow.
Tonight the cool breezes come thru the window's and my arms and legs are
telling me it's time for jeans and a light long sleeve shirt. The evening
sleep will be wonderful, going off to the happy sounds of crickets, and high
piping toads and frogs singing. I watered the dry beds today so they will
celebrate the unexpected moisture. Today I disturbed two toads under logs
that I will place in a better spot for them to hide under during the
daytime. They lept away with a sideways glance that spoke volumns to me
"WELL! You made us a place and now your taking it away?????" The logs are
pieces of Pawlonia that lay unattended on the close side of my deck where
the debris had gathered from those fallen velvety leaves over this season.
One can clean up a yard TOO much is seems.........tomorrow I will right my
Thanks for the time to share with you.
Madgardener up on the ridge, back in Fairy Holler, overlooking English
Mountain in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36