Monday, July 4, 2011

A Tale of Two Gardens

As so often occurs with serendipitous happen-chance, fate has a way of acting as a guide, and sometimes the results are amazing. When JC and Desiree Airington moved to their home at 1048 South Hadden in El Reno two years ago, they had no idea their lives would be transformed by Elise and Craig Menz, their neighbors directly to the East. They had not planned on having a love affair with a garden, however that is exactly what took place and results of their collaboration are beautiful! Desiree said she has known Elise all of her life, even taking swimming lessons from her as a child, so it is not surprising that a phletora of plants have spilled across the street. These happy neighbors, who finish sentences for each other, have created a charming oasis of color that is worth a trip to El Reno to see!

Elise and Craig~JC and Desiree

Both are traditional gardens which means they are seventy percent perennials and thirty percent annuals. The perennials include heirloom flowers, which are a favorite among gardeners simply for their steadfast qualities; they are the old friends who return each year as faithful favorites. The Hollyhocks, Cannas, varieties of Sedum, Saliva, Mums, acclimated Petunias, and Lilies are prevalent. Both of the gardens have a darling smattering of annuals to add seasonal zest, and also include the latest hybrids; the new yellow and purple-striped Petunia is fantastic. The annuals include Cosmos, Marigolds, Mexican Heather, Zinnias, and variegated Vinca all of which have all exploded in a cascade of show stopping color. With the combination of perennials and the annuals, even when the flowering is over for one, a neighboring plant is bursting forth with blooms. The flow of the gardens is an amazing stream of green punctuated with color.

The darling Petunia is a constant staple in all gardens. Originally from Argentina and Brazil, they love a hot climate and will provide continual color in the garden until frost. The varieties are endless from the traditional tiny pale pink of your Grandmother’s garden to the new giant grandiflora or cascading, all of which are abundant in both the Menz and Airington gardens. The only care required for Petunias is an occasional deadheading to assure continuous blooming and a good soaking of water several times a week during this heat wave.

The Cannas have begun to bloom as well. Typically in hot red, orange, yellow, or combinations of the three, hybrids have produced a dazzling array of colors and heights for this exotic and exquisite species. They are natural pollinators and attract both hummingbirds and butterflies making them a welcome addition to every garden. An additional plus is the fact they will bloom faithfully left undisturbed for many, many carefree years.

Of note is the underground rhizome which contains the largest starch particles of any plant, allowing its agricultural use. Its leaves may be made into paper, its stem fiber is equivalent to jute, its seed provides a lovely natural purple dye. It is just another of Nature’s miraculous plants that we may enjoy.

Take an air conditioned drive and stop to visit a garden that catches your eye; the gardener will welcome you and sharing is a quality of our nature!

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