Valentine's Day for the Garden
Star of Holland Rose
This year I thought I might observe Valentine's Day - that lovely, commercial, sentimental day beloved by florists and delivery firms. It goes without saying that I love Non-Gardening Partner, but I also love my garden...
My garden can be my special Valentine - right? I could give my garden a Valentine's Day present, to show my feelings of the greatest love.
Romantic Red Roses?
Hmm... How about red roses? My garden has already got a plethora of wonderful red roses growing (and some flowering at the moment). There's the lightly scented climber Etoile de Holland, my French connection, the lovely, strong growing shrub La Marseillaise, Santana on the pergola who never causes a fuss... In one of gardening life's little ironies, the best present I could give the Moosey Garden would be to remove the dreary blood-red Dublin Bay, who obviously has self-esteem issues. He feels the need to cover his scrawny self with little pustules of rust...
On a gardener's bedside tables you might find a little book on the meaning of flowers. But for older, wizened gardeners (steady on!) the reading is accompanied by a cynical streak. For example, a tulip is a declaration of love, and also symbolises fame, and I don't believe a word of it!
The Meaning of Flowers
Beware of False Promises!
My tulips symbolise false promises - their flowers make a brilliant outburst in the first year. A declaration of love (like tulips) shouldn't disappear limply after the first winter. (No, I don't lift my tulips, but I shouldn't need to...
Agapanthus - Selfless Love
Ha! I've spent the last five months digging out other peoples' unwanted Agapanthus plants and stuffing them willy-nilly into the difficult, dry-shade areas of my garden. I thought I was being tough and functional - using industrial strength plants whose essence was one step away from artificial lawn. Ha!
The word Agapanthus comes from the Greek agap, meaning selfless love, and anthos, meaning flower. So an Agapanthus is a flower of selfless love - the perfect Valentine's Day gift, and I do have more spaces...
The Agapanthus is Flowering
Hydrangeas may claim to symbolise heartfelt emotions, but for me they symbolise an older, wizened gardener's heartfelt need to brighten up the dark side of the house, and ability to provide enough water. I do realise that I'm judging my flowers in situ, still attached to their plant, and not sitting perkily in a jug of aspirin-fortified water.
There's one flower meaning which I fully agree with - that a Forget-Me-Not expresses true love. Yes! The little flower-meaning book has got this one right. For, no matter what an errant gardener does, no matter how neglectful, Forget-Me-Nots will survive. They'll appear and flower the next spring. They won't go away. Yippee - true love (even if a little annoying) year after year after year...
Happy Valentine's Day to the Moosey Garden for 2010. May your red roses be romantic, your tulips tantalising, your hydrangeas heart-warming and your agapanthus plants adorable. Forget not your Forget-Me-Nots and have a wonderful Valentine's Day!