Enigmatic Prose

If you are getting tired of seeing the pink muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris, please be aware that it has passed its peak. I can tell. It will still be eye catching for a few more weeks as it passes along from lipstick pink to purple bruise to fading chintz to sandy beach. The view from the mailbox at the street shows the original site of the first planting, in the circle bed that caused great distress to the paving company that transformed our driveway from gravel to concrete. They had to form the curbing around the curve and the materials they had brought for this job were straight as a board two by fours. Oops, off topic here, sorry. Back to the circle bed. The dogwood is a seedling from our first Tennessee house, one of several here that are now flowering size. There is a circle of Girard’s Rose azaleas along the perimeter of this bed. A knockout rose was added several years ago and has been pruned to tree form to allow the hardy geranium, unknown variety, room below the rose to spread. I started to list the other plants in there, but you cannot see them from this photo so perhaps another time. The muhly grass has been borrowed from this bed to line the driveway on the other side, front the boxwood hedge and steps in back and get plunked wherever there is a difficult spot in the garden that could use a jolt of fall color. Continuous raiding has left these original plants a little scrawny. They will be left alone so they can rebuild robustness.Sold in the big box stores in early fall with the pansies is the annual dianthus. We scoop these up for they are semi perennial here, about half surviving several years if well tended. Drought tolerant, colorful and cheap make these a good addition in those bare spots.Verbena bonariensis self sows flagrantly here, loving to grow right in the middle of the paths. We pull most and leave some, for while we have much showier flowers for the butterflies and other insects, this rather plain flower is the favorite of all, including hummingbirds. Is that what you might call an enigma? ;->Wrapped in a web of muhly seed heads is a nearly obscured seed case from the still blooming since Mother’s Day, Hesperaloe. Fellow gardener Claude, Da Mailman, had given me some seeds of this plant in a baggie left in our mailbox right before this large specimen was presented as a gift from the Financier. The gift seeds were planted nearby and have germinated, success! We will plant this pod as well when it cracks open to give the signal that the seeds are ripe. Beauty and life hidden in mysterious packaging.A little bit of the growing smaller by the hour lawn was dug up to make a planting bed for an area that was low and hard to mow in its little triangle. That is a good reason to plant these Caryopteris ‘Sorbet’ isn’t it? I’m not sure how I like the combo of the yellow and green foliage with sky blue flowers with the pink muhly however. The muhly is a fleeting asset though, and the shrubs can be moved later if a better companion for the grass reveals itself on sale. Sorbet was a bargain at two dollars each, three were bought, so another spot can be found for them later without regret.Yet another passalong plant from neighbors Mae and Mickey is this spreading fern. He called it Sun Fern, but we have no idea what the botanical name is. It spreads by underground runners but is in a bed under the tall pine trees where only the strongest can survive the dry shade there. Joining the thugfest is another gift from those same neighbors, this time a real gangsta, Vinca major. While I suppose a plant that can grow and thrive in these extreme conditions is a blessing, we constantly are hacking the vinca off of any and all shrubs that share this space. At least the fern disappears in the winter time, not so the vinca. Our method is one of containment, for eradication is not possible. To the left of the fern in the photo is a seedling Viburnum ‘Alleghany’ bravely standing up for law and order in the land under the pines.We end this diatribe with this shot of muhly by the steps to the knot garden. When the light is just right, most of the day really, the camera jumps into my hand to go out there for a few snaps. How can we resist the temptation, for we know it will be over all too soon.
Those of you puzzling over the title of this post may refer to the congratulatory speech by Stuart on the Blotanical Awards picks “…. enigmatic style of owner, Frances…”. I wasn’t sure of the meaning of that term so went online to look it up. Hmmm, various odd references found, I really liked this one: “resembling an oracle in obscurity of thought” better than “not clear to the understanding”. Or to further obfuscate :mysterious, puzzling, obscure, baffling, ambiguous, perplexing, incomprehensible, mystifying, inexplicable, unintelligible, paradoxical, cryptic, inscrutable, unfathomable, indecipherable, recondite, Delphic, oracular, sphinxlike << OPPOSITE straightforward. Gee thanks, Stuart, for those kind words! LOL

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23 Responses to Enigmatic Prose

  1. Stuart says:

    I was thinking more mysterious than recondite – lol 🙂

    Hi Stuart, nice to see you here. Thanks for giving me a subject for a post and increasing my vocabulary at the same time. I love the drawing that accompanies recondite of the wizards around the table. Yes, that’s me! ;->

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your ferns look so much better than mine at this time of year. You must water them well.

    Hi Lisa, thanks but those ferns get no water at all. The rest of my real ferns look awful, but these invasive sun ferns never are blemished. We need to figure out what they are, you need some.

  3. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    P.S. I love the round bed. My back garden is a series of round beds. They started out formed that way to appease Lawn Mower Man. No backing up, no trimming (which I also hate to do), and now I just like them. A friend of mine said I was an eternatyist. Ha… That is a little deep I think.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. I could not even find that word to do a google search, LOL

  4. Marnie says:

    I researched the pink muhly grass and found it isn’t hardy in my zone. I’m really disappointed about that. Yours is just lovely and really makes your garden look like a place faeries love to hang out in. Oh well, I’ll just enjoy your photos since I can’t have any of my own;)

    Hi Marnie, I am so sorry about that. We are on the northern band of its hardiness, but my friend in central PA manages to grow it, although he has only one plant. It really looks best en masse. There is probably another reddish flowered grass that would be hardy for you, one of the panicums perhaps Shenandoah?

  5. Cameron says:

    I moved a muhly to place it behind my crape myrtle ‘white chocolate’ that has burgundy foliage and salvia ‘dark dancer’ with deep rose blooms. It’s just now starting to turn pink here and it’s in a full sun, southern exposure position. I love the color, so I’ve enjoyed all of your muhly photos! 🙂

    Hi Cameron, good deal, that sounds like a great combination. I have that salvia also, love all the greggii forms. So glad you are enjoying seeing the muhly, it is having a good year here. No rain means it stands up and waves at us rather than getting beaten down and soggy looking. One silver lining to our drought I suppose.

  6. LindaLunda says:

    Hi Frances! Can you se the man in the first photo of this post!? At the right side? He is werry hansem/god loking! Hihihihi!

    Hi Linda, I have looked and looked at the picture and cannot see a man. Can you give me more clues? ;->

  7. tina says:

    Well I do think the Verbena can be a bit puzzling since it is not so attractive but still loved by all. Now for your writing, it is not puzzling, it is captivating. We all love it at In the Garden.

    Hi Tina, thanks for that defense, HA. I think Stuart was trying to give me a compliment LOL

  8. Brenda Kula says:

    I have always considered an “enigma” something slightly mysterious and puzzling at the same time. I don’t think I’ve seen a Dianthus that striking. I shall be on the look out for it. Can’t wait for fall flowers. My “little garden home slice of heaven” is looking rather stark. We too have the wild ferns. Seem to grow around the tree trunks. Of course we live in the Piney Woods of Texas, so have pines everywhere. Your garden spaces are perfection, as always, my dear.

    Hi Brenda, thanks. I used to think enigma meant it could be interpreted two or more ways, no clear meaning. When I looked it up though, there were so many meanings, I wanted to have some fun with it. Those dark red dianthus look really good with the pastels of spring, they just about give them away at Lowe’s to make room for the Christmas trees late November. Maybe that is why those ferns are doing so well, they think they are back in Texas under the pines. ;->

  9. walk2write says:

    Frances, in my dictionary, an enigmatic person is a teller of fables or one who enhances imagination. People love a story well-told, and you always provide it for us. Right now, I am imagining myself as a clump of muhly just about in the fading chintz phase…

    Oh W2W, I like that very much, thanks so much. I am feeling a bit like fading chintz myself, LOL

  10. Racquel says:

    I like Walk 2 Write’s definition. “…one who enhances imagination.” That is a great description of you Frances. Your posts always inspire me. I don’t think I could ever get tired of that Pink Mulhy Grass. In fact I need to add that to my wishlist. Your front circular garden is very pretty, I’m sure the concrete people were just thrilled to make all those lovely curves for you. 😉

    Hi Racquel, thanks. That is a lovely thought and tickles me with delight. The muhly is a fave here too, even the Financier is in love with it. The driveway guys said “Let us square that bed off for you” ! HA to them!

  11. At least Stuart wasn’t confused about your gender.

    Dianthus is pretty cool.

    Hi Mr. Sub, welcome. I read the passage Stuart said led him to believe that, and even went back to your profile, but figured it out. Your writing is masculine, by my analysis, but I did go around with it for a little while. Stuart was tired, he has worked very hard lately.

    All dianthus are cool, IMHO


  12. nancybond says:

    Everything in your gardens always looks so lush and colorful. And I’d never tire of the muhly grass — love that last shot of it. It looks a bit like fireworks. 🙂

    Hi Nancy, what a nice thing to say, thanks. That’s a good metaphor, it is like fireworks with the sun lighting the fuse! Good one!

  13. LindaLunda says:

    Hihihi… Its my fantacy that spooks me a bit! The tree at the rihgt side loks like a human …. with a tal hat?
    The pinetree…… at the left there is a arm to….Maby its a lady?

    Hi Linda, after going back and looking without the blinders of reality, of course I see your man. I do think it is male, sort of like a blue druid. That is a weeping blue atlas cedar, a fine tree. Mine is still a young whippersnapper, LOL

  14. skeeter says:

    Keep the Pink stuff coming! I am a tomboy so I need pink in my life at times. LOL… I like the island in the driveway. We have one of those and it breaks up the cold look of the asphalt. Gets in the Saints way with backing the boat but he is a good backer and needs the challenge. lol…

    The fern looks interesting. We have lots of wood ferns here throughout the woods of course.

    The webbing around the blooms is so cool looking!

    Yep, I was wondering about the title…

    Hi Skeeter, you will like the next big star turn here, Sheffield Pink mum. They are in big drifts, they spread slightly, and will give a wondrous show soon. Never at the same time as the muhly, though, sadly. But it does extend the seasonal color. Our circle is a challenge for backing up too, HA. It has been run over before.

  15. Pam/Digging says:

    You keep showing that pink muhly all you want, Frances. It’s gorgeous, and mine hasn’t gotten started yet, and may not before we move.

    Hi Pam, others that live farther south than us have said their muhly has not quite opened yet. Mine is on the downhill slide. I find that odd, I wonder what triggers the bloom? It must not be temperature, unless it is cooler temps, that might be it. Are you taking some with you, or is it readily available there?

  16. Philip says:

    Pink Muhly grass! What is an alternative universe without that! and an enigma or two thown in for good measure!
    Loved these images. I like the combination with the blue flowers, but you have spoken as an oracle when you await a better plant to reveal themselves, or I should say, a true gardener.

    Hi Philip, well, our alternative universe would not be without the pink muhly. ;-> I will give Sorbet a full season to perform in that spot, when the muhly is not pink, that foliage and blue flowers might be just the thing. So glad you are back.

  17. joey says:

    Kudos, Frances. Returned home delighted to see your wonderful award. I’m a big fan, loving your colorful (both word and photo) blog (plus, I can almost read it without my bi-focals!)

    Hi Joey, thanks so much for your support, very much appreciated. I have finally gotten the font to the size that best suits the most people. The days of reading anything without glasses is long gone for me, keep eating those carrots!;->

  18. Dave says:

    Congrats on your award Frances! That is a nice fern, even if you don’t know it’s name. Thanks for the link on the Muhly grass. I’m going to try to find some around here before I order anything. I’d rather have it a bit larger for that price. I’ve wondered about that “annual” dianthus. I’ve been tempted to pick some up.

    Hi Dave, thanks so much. I would not buy that online either if I were you, I just wanted to show you how it looks in the catalogs and the price. Do try the dianthus, Lowe’s had it marked way down yesterday. I have even bought it there after Christmas when it and the pansies were the only plants for sale, cheap, and it survived. It grows much like the pansies, not liking the heat of summer. Try some!

  19. That grass look so delicate and lovely, Pink Muhly grass never heard of it before but I love it . I wonder if I can grow it here in Sweden? Have a nice October day LOL Tyra

    Hi Tyra, thanks and welcome. It may be a little too cold in Sweden for that grass, we are on the northern edge of its range here in zone 7 Tennessee, but with global warming climate change, who knows? ;->

  20. That Stuart, he has such a way with words, hasn’t he? 😉 No, I’m not tired at all of that gorgeous Muhly grass. Can’t find it here, wish I could because if there’s one plant I want, it’s this one.

    Hi YE, thanks for the love for the muhly, it thrives on attention, NOT! ;-> We are most fortunate to be able to grow this grass. Maybe it will become available to you some day. It is still unknown to most people, even here in my area. No one ever knows what it is or has seen it before. This is its moment in the sun, about a month, then it will fade into obscurity for another year.

  21. Rose says:

    Frances, you have convinced me that pink Muhly grass looks wonderful planted anywhere!

    I’m glad Stuart explained his choice of adjectives; I certainly wouldn’t call your style “unclear” or “obscure.” Perhaps he was thinking more mystical with references to fairies and the like. However one describes it, I enjoy your prose!

    Hi Rose, thanks for your defense of poor Stuart, LOL I was trying to tease him a little is all, very innocent, really. I do appreciate your sweet comments and always look forward to them, they brighten my day.

  22. Tired of that pink Muhly grass? I can’t imagine! Actually, I expect to like it even better when it turns from the-color-I-least-like to “purple bruise”… 🙂

    Hi Kim, I do think you will like the grass as it fades, it is still quite attractive and sort of spooky!

  23. Pam/Digging says:

    To answer your question, Frances, the pink muhly is readily available, and I am not bringing any with me to the new house. I have very little sun at the new place anyway, so I’m having to restrict my transplants to those I can’t easily duplicate or those that like shade.

    Hi Pam, hope you are getting settled in your new digs. Going from sun to shade will be a challenge won’t it? And fun, not so hot when working outside in the garden! ;->

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