You Must Remember This …

Judy and I both found ourselves humming “As Time Goes By” a great deal during this past weekend. The tune just popped into both our heads almost simultaneously.

Oriental Lily ‘Casa Blanca’

Which seemed like an odd coincidence, until I realized that the Oriental Lily ‘Casa Blanca’ was in bloom in the back garden. Clearly the flower provoked a train of associations, from ‘Casa Blanca’ the flower to Casablanca the movie, and to the song which features so prominently in the film.


Like the movie, the Lily ‘Casa Blanca’ is a classic. The flowers are large, gleaming white and richly textured. And that sweet, delicious fragrance – intoxicating!

While I lost several lilies in the sunny front garden this year, the ‘Casa Blancas’ in the lightly shaded back have been trouble free. Which is odd, since I always thought they needed full sun.


Incidentally, that plant in the background is the straight species American Spikenard (Aralia racemosa). An unconventional pairing, but it pleases me.

Clearly I need more ‘Casa Blanca’ lilies for the front garden. It’s on my list for fall planting.

In case you’ve never seen the movie or heard the song (hard to imagine), here’s a short clip. I apologize for any ads that may appear.

Here’s looking at you, kid.

July Fruit’n’Foliage

Don’t you think Fruit’n’Foliage would make a good name for a breakfast cereal? It could be made with kale flakes and blueberries. Or not blueberries – too common. Kale flakes and açai berries! You heard it here first.

Don’t look at the flowers! There’s other stuff, too.

But enough of that. Today I want to look at interesting things in the garden that aren’t flowers.

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Highlights of the Minneapolis Fling

So I have been to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area about a thousand times. We have a son living in St. Paul, plus my brother and an old college friend live in Minneapolis. We felt that we had seen most of what there was to see. So our expectations for this year’s Garden Bloggers Fling were modest.

Plus, the phrase “Minneapolis Fling” sounds a little incongruous, like “North Dakota Bacchanal”.

Turk’s Cap Lilies at the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden

Oh, but we were wrong to be skeptical. Thanks to the outstanding work of the (uncompensated) organizers, we found that there were a great many gardens in the Twin Cities we didn’t know about. And so many were full of delightful surprises and enchanting beauty.

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Blooms of Mid-July, Part 2

Following up on the last post, here’s a run down of the blooms in the rest of the garden: the Left Bank (the smaller part of the front garden that lies west of the driveway) and the shady back garden.


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Blooms of Mid-July, Part 1

By the middle of July it feels like we have reached the gateway to high summer in Chicago. Let’s see what’s blooming in the garden, starting with the main part of the front garden: the Driveway Border, Sidewalk Border, and the Island Bed. The remainder we’ll cover in a second post.


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Summer Containers for Shade

Recently there has been a strong movement towards perennials among the containers in our shady back garden. They got tired of buying hordes of annuals in spring, and then again in summer. Oh wait, that was me that got tired.

It took me a while to orient myself to perennials in shade containers because I have always had the mindset that containers should be about blooms – especially in shade where blooms are somewhat limited after spring. But I came to feel that it would be better if these containers were more dynamic, changing gradually in tune with the seasons.

hosta patriot

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Indian Pink, a Bright Spot in the Shade

So here’s a plant that probably isn’t as widely used as it should be: Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica).


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The Joy of Clematis

Book Review: The Plant Lover’s Guide to Clematis, by Linda Beutler

So there is good news and bad news about this book. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. Turns out that the correct pronunciation is CLEM-a-tis, not cle-MAT-is. Which means I’ve been saying it wrong my whole life, no doubt causing more sophisticated gardeners to snigger behind my back.


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A Weed By Any Other Name

A recent post on the blog of Chicago’s Lurie Garden addressed the question of weeds in a way that seems pretty sensible.

lurie garden may 4
Chicago’s Lurie Garden has a nuanced approach to weeds.

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The Great Wall of Purple

The Jackman Clematis (Clematis x jackmanii) reached its peak on Sunday. I can tell because that’s when the first purple petals dropped to the ground. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this year we extended the trellis all the way up to the rain gutters, and the Jackman Clematis took full advantage of the new space for climbing.


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