I guess I have several favorite "fill in the blank" plants, though.
For example, my favorite ephemeral plant is the Great White Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum). Then again, Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is a close, if not equal, standout.
My favorite non-native plant is probably the Lenten Rose (Helleborus x. hybridus), although I have to also consider the tropical Bleeding Heart (Fuchsia spp.), an annual here that blooms all summer, and the Resurrection Lily (Lycoris squamigera), which brightens the late-summer garden.
Favorite cut flower? Where do I start? Every bouquet is unique, and most arrangements benefit from a combination of shapes and forms. A simple handful of Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria majalis) in a small vase, however, is unequaled in its graceful simplicity.
Sometimes traveling introduces me to a new favorite--like the Lantana (L. camara) I fell for during a trip south.
And the list goes on.
Earlier this year, when I decided to write a blog post each month about John Muir, I thought I'd be writing now about his beloved California, after traveling there for the Garden Bloggers' Fling. (I hope everyone had a great time, and safe travels!) Alas, finances and timing once again prevented me from attending.
But it had me thinking: What were John Muir's favorite plants? The man traveled the world over. How could he possibly pick a favorite plant?
|Calypso bulbosa; public domain photo courtesy the U.S. National Park Service|
He spoke highly of many plants--including White Mountain Heather (Cassiope mertensiana), native to California's Sierra Nevada; the Fairy Slipper Orchid (Calypso borealis or C. bulbosa), which he encountered in a Canadian swamp; and the Live Oak (Quercus virginiana), which found its way onto his sketch pad as he traveled south to Florida. Wherever he traveled, he found favorites.
But some of his most endearing favorites--as happens with many of us--hearkened back to his childhood. In particular, he fondly recalled the Water Lilies (Nymphaea odorata) that graced the edges of his boyhood Fountain Lake.
Describing the lake, he said, in part, "First there is a zone of green, shining rushes, and just beyond the rushes a zone of white and orange Water Lilies, 50 or 60 feet wide, forming a magnificent border. On bright days, when the lake was rippled by a breeze, the Lilies and sun-spangles danced together in radiant beauty, and it became difficult to discriminate between them.
"...even if I should never see it again," he said of the lake, "the beauty of its Lilies and Orchids is so pressed into my mind that I shall always enjoy looking back at them in imagination, even across seas and continents, and perhaps after I am dead."
As I recalled my own childhood favorites--fragrant Roses and Lilacs, and bright Hollyhocks and Snapdragons--I noticed that the Water Lilies in our pond are about to open. It seems a fitting end to this post and an appropriate transition to the next one--about the pond survivors.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Happy Independence Day to my American gardening friends! And happy seasonal celebrations to everyone else! As you enjoy the great outdoors during the next few days, remember to protect yourselves from ticks and mosquitoes. Click here or on the "products" tab for my review of a pleasant, natural repellent product.