Our gardens are now an exuberance of color. It seems that every day another garden specimen opens its flowers to join the cacophony that is spring time in Williamsburg.
While I have collected a great number of flowering herbaceous plants in my garden over the years I must admit that their placement is often somewhat haphazard in that I find myself filling spaces with, as the Landscape Architects would observe, not enough regard to the neighboring plants. So it is always a delight when these chance neighbors associate so pleasantly. I noticed one such example this morning in which a Siberian Iris which I had quite forgotten I had put in the garden last fall emerged under a Golden Alexander in a perfect complement of blue and yellow. The Iris (Iris sibirica) is a transplant from English gardens and the Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea) is a native American plant; would that all things English and American would form such commodious relationships.
At the center of the garden we planted a row of Sweet Hesperis, also known as Dame’s Rocket, (Hesperis matronalis) last October and on a whim put a pot of China Pinks (Dianthus chinensis) on the brick pad in front of them. This completely unplanned combination, as well as a planting of Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) between, has now resulted in an equally happy affiliation.
However, the most asked after flower this week is seldom found in our gardens and instead borders our highway and populates our pastures. It is
generally described to me as “a small tree with white, wisteria-like blossoms.” Many of you who are wont to observe the countryside as you travel about your plantations will immediately recognize this as another native American plant known to the woodsmen as the Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia). It is one of the most fragrant of our native trees from which the bees make an excellent honey and the wood is prized for its extreme durability, often finding use as poles for our houses and fences.
I will be away next week so we will continue our conversation in the week after.