Behind the Fence

Monday, May 31, 2010

Poppy Tribute

The tradition of Red Poppies on Memorial Day goes back to World War I when Canandian soldier, John McCrae wrote the poem In Flanders Field. Moina Michael, an American woman, wrote these lines in reply:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies

The custom of wearing a red poppy on Memorial Day evolved.

My beds of poppies bring memories of a special WWII veteran to my husband and me. They are from seeds saved by my late father-in-law. A couple of years ago I found the seeds in my mother-in-law’s refrigerator, stored in a medicine container. It was labeled “Dbl Pink Poppies, Sp. 88. “Yes” my mother-in-law confirmed, they had been in the refrigerator for 20 years and yes I was welcomed to them. Both of us doubted they would germinate. I was thrilled that they not only germinated, but thrived. What a treasure! Some are single, some are double (kind of ruffled,) some are shades of pink and some are shades of coral. This year there was even a lavender one. Each year I save the seeds, plant some and pass some to friends.
I didn’t get a chance to really know my father-in-law as he passed away away shortly after Randy and I married. However, as I use his gardening tools and reference books, I feel connected. With ferns, mums and poppies from his garden, the spirit of Everett Janne is alive in my garden.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Symbol of Survival

Planted in the spring of 2008, the Peggy Martin rose on my arbor is blooming profusely.

The rose has an interesting story of survival. In 2003 Dr. William Welch, a horticulturist from Texas A & M, visited Peggy Martin at her home in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, While there he took several cuttings from a beautiful old pink rose. Later, he was saddened to hear his friend Peggy had lost her parents as well as her home and garden in Hurricane Katrina. However when Peggy was allowed to return to the site of her home, she was surprised to see the rose had survived, even after spending 2 weeks under salt water.

To assist in the rebuilding of gardens in Louisiana, Dr. Welch has propagated the rose and has made it available in several nurseries across the south, including Petals from the Past and Antique Rose Emporium. From the sale of each rose $1 is given to garden restoration in the New Orleans area.

You can read the entire story of the Peggy Martin Rose here.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Questions from the Coffee Shop

About a dozen folks joined me at Market House Coffee Shop yesterday for discussion of my potager and Square Foot Garden. We were fortunate to have horticulturist Kathy Keeny present and appreciated her sharing tips and answering some of the more technical questions. Following are some of the questions with my answers.