January 16, 2009

The Moods of Mother Nature

With frigid, dangerous weather all over North America and Europe, you'd think Mother Nature is in a bad mood. The temperature here this morning at 9:00am, with the sun shining, was only 11°F on the west side of our house. On the south side, it was 40°F, thanks to the design of our house.

I'm not complaining, because Garden4Joy, a garden blogger in Ontario reports -27° without the wind chill! She points out the dangers of "black ice" and why we mortals need to respect the mood swings of Mother Nature.

If we were as old as Mother Nature, we'd be forgiven our occasional bad moods. There are so many wonderful, beautiful examples of her good moods by all the wildflowers and the reseeding plants in our gardens.

When Mother Nature distributes the seeds of reseeding annuals and perennials, the results can sometimes be rather rewarding. Perhaps Mother Nature is working on a beautiful surprise for gardeners that will be revealed this spring and summer.

The micro-climate space in the cottage garden seems to be a favorite place for reseeding. This may be because it's a zone warmer than the rest of my gardens due to the passive solar design of our house.

One favorite combination is from two commoners-- a yellow Stella d'Oro daylily and a purple Wave® petunia.

I planted the daylily where it resides. I had planted petunias once in a different spot and they have come back in a few interesting places. I'm rather fond of the deep yellow and deep purple combination that Mother Nature designed.

On the other side of the path from the daylily-petunia combo is another combination that was designed by Mother Nature. Again, the purple Wave® petunia reseeded. The petunia grows in front of a grouping of 'Purple Palace' heuchera that look a bit amber due to the sunlight in my photo. Mother Nature also distributed phlox 'Robert Poore' behind the heuchera.

This is interesting since that phlox isn't supposed to reseed. That said, I like the combination and have started moving sprouts of 'Robert' to this grouping since I like the look. The standard form Encore® Azaleas are behind the grouping while creeping jenny is the gold ground cover.

Is it just coincidental that the volunteers in my garden tend to be purple?

Another volunteer in my garden is purple verbena bonariensis. The verbena has many nicknames such as "verbena on a stick" or "skinny verbena" or just "tall verbena." There's always room for this skinny little plant. It is an annual in most zones and is marginal in my zone.

Right now, verbena foliage is still green and lush in my garden as it laughs off the winter. I hope it will still be smiling after the 9°F low predicted for tonight. I'm not going to worry about it, because I intentionally helped Mother Nature a bit with the reseeding of verbena this fall. If all goes well, the tall purple verbena seedlings will emerge in spring and I can transplant them for mass accents throughout the sunny outer gardens.

Mother Nature will soon cycle back to a warmer disposition. The Vernal Equinox, or first day of spring, will be March 20, 2009.

I created a "Countdown to Spring" widget for you to add to your blog or website, if you wish. Just pick up the widget from the left sidebar of my blog.

Happy Gardening!

Photos and story by Freda Cameron
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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