Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | June 28, 2004

Even the garden’s in the patriotic spirit

My garden seems to know that it’s almost the Fourth of July.

The agapanthus are in full bloom, with their blue flowers doing a fine impression of fireworks. The two butterfly bushes in my my back yard remind me of “The Star-Spangled Banner’s” bombs bursting in air, as their purple and white blossoms explode toward the sky.

Although the finicky hummingbird bush’s red blooms aren’t cooperating in the patriotic display, my fuschia (also much beloved by hummers) is more than making up for it. It is heavily laden with red and white blossoms dangling lazily from its branches.

I love this time of year in the garden, when everything seems so lush and full, especially in the practical edibles section.

My tomato and corn plants look great. The tomato plants sport blooms that will turn into plum and cherry tomatoes, and the corn will be taller than knee-high by the Fourth of July.

We planted new strawberry plants this year, to replace the tired plants that were several years old and diminishing in fruit production. So far, they are the garden’s one disappointment, having hardly grown since they were planted and having produced no fruit.

But my new raspberry bushes are another story. The dozen buses lining the western fence of the back yard have taken off and even have rewarded us with a sparse few berries.

The flowers that bear less-than-patriotic colors are also blooming extravagantly. The 50 or so daylillies I planted a few summers ago are now proving well worth the back-breaking effort. Some of the ground I planted them in was so hard I had to swing a pickax to dig holes. Now they’re proudly displaying their showy but short-lived blossoms in colors ranging from yellow to peach to orange.

The thorny roses are also busily producing masses of sweet-smelling flowers in shades of pink, peach and white. Although the thorns aren’t my favorite feature, who can seriously complain when the scent of roses is so intoxicating?

Even my new pistachio tree, which I planted a few months ago after purchasing the rare Keith Davey specimen at the Saratoga Horticultural Foundation’s annual spring plant sale, has recovered from some post-planting stress and looks hale and hearty as we approach Independence Day.Although I’m sure they had much weightier things on their minds, the beauty in my garden makes me wonder if America’s founding fathers realized that having the nation’s birthday at such a wonderful time of year would be an extra bonus for the annual celebration.

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to speculate that in the wake of the events of Sept. 11, the nation’s celebrations of its 226th birthday will be more heartfelt and intense than those of recent years past. It may sound crazy, but looking at my luxuriant garden, it seems the plants are already in the patriotic spirit.

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