Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Botany for Dummies

The Common Household Husband took it upon himself, this past Saturday, to trim the bushes.  We have an entire hedge made of forsythia, which we (and by that I mean The Husband) trim every year right after it blooms, thereby preventing it from having an excess number of blooms next year, since forsythia forms next year’s buds right after it is done blooming.

Last year we planted a new bush in front of our house.  This spring it had one solitary bloom on it, which is about what I expected given my gardening results so far during the past 18 years. Remaining ever hopeful for next year, and thinking that the forsythia blooming principle might apply to the new bush, I specifically asked my husband not to trim the rhododendron bush. 

He said, “What rhododendron?  We don’t have a rhododendron.”

I said, “Well, it’s an azalea then.  The bush in front of the house.  Don’t trim it.” 

He:  “What azalea in front of the house?  What are you TALKING about? We don’t have any azalea in front of the house.”

Me:  “The new bush we planted last year.”

He:  “That’s not an azalea or a rhododendron.”

Me:  “Whatever it is, Don’t Trim It!”

My anti-trimming message got through, but the plant still has an identity crisis, as do a few other plants in our suburban cropland.  So, dear reader, can you help me identify these plants? If you click on the photo,  you should get an enlarged version so you can see the leaf shape better.

Plant 1:  The Bush In Front of the House with Solitary Bloom
I know the bloom is kind of blurry in the photo, but I can't go back and take another photo because this was weeks ago, and the bloom is long gone.

Plant 2: Either Grass or Day Lily
If it's grass, I'm yanking it.  If it's a day lily, I'll leave it for the deer and rabbits to eat when it flowers.

Plant 3:  Either Day Lily or Grass
See note for Plant 2.

I used to keep a map of this plot of land, showing where I had planted things.  (This is what my father did when he had a large vegetable garden.  He also keeps records of all his scores on Scrabble games.) I have to grow perennials here, because it is a hillside with poor soil, and it’s too difficult to plant annuals each year.  In the past few years, I have given up on the map.  I just stick some perennials in, and hope for the best.

I do know what the following plants are named, and am amazed that they continue to grace this hapless piece of land.

Bleeding Heart, type 1  (more delicate but blooms for short period of time)


Bleeding Heart, type 2 (less delicate, but blooms longer)


Angie said...

That is definitely an azalea. They grow everywhere here in Louisiana, I have several in my yard. It's ok to trim them, they'll still bloom next year, but I like them better when they grow naturally. You can buy fertilizer specifically for azaleas. That might help it bloom more next year. The others are possibly some type of lily. You'll have to wait and see, I guess.

Renee said...

As Angie said, definitely an azalea --the purple kind that will grow in colder climates. Now you can stick your tongue out at your husband and say "told you so!". Except, this is the guy who cooks, right? So maybe just tell him gently. :-)

mariah reed said...

Bob cooks?

Stephanie Anthony/She Rev said...

Love it. I'm am gardenly clueless, so I wasn't going to be any help at all, but had to chime in anyway. We have TONS of bleeding heart, on our super shady hill. I love it and the color it brings, but since it's sort of out of the usual planted part of a our woodsy hill (none of which I planted, but was planted by the previous owner) I assumed it was a wild flower. I was super surprised to see it at a nursery recently and find out that people pay for it. We have SO. MUCH.

Suzanne said...

I say it is an azalea too, but there is another flower I always think is an azalea and I'm always wrong. My Mom always says, "It's a ______!" I'll have to ask her.

Also, thanks for visiting my blog, I wanted to stop by and tell you I used about 30 peeps to make Peeps Crispies. They came out great, the kids loved them. :)

Common Household Mom said...

Thank you, everyone! I am interested to hear that the purple azaleas are for colder climates. That's where we are, all right.

Stephanie, we did buy our bleeding hearts. It's a good plant for shade.

Suzanne, I love looking at the recipes on your blog. I have saved the peeps crispies recipe for next year.