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Monday, January 4, 2010

Hellebores vs. Kiwis

I've put my family on a post-Christmas fiscal diet, although the only one it really affects is me, the spender. No where will it be tougher than in the garden. Spring without an unlimited checkbook will doubtless cause wailing. But after all the gifts were given, I ended up with an extra American Express giftcard, and I figure that it is OK to spend it on seeds or plants (funny how I can always find a way....).

So here is the dilmmea. The new Heronswood catalog has a picture of a compelling, beutiful hellebore on its cover, and I want it. Bad. It appears black, although it is a deep purple, as are all the so-called "black" flowers. I have just the place in my garden - in fact, two places. I love hellebores. In my Zone 6 garden, they don't bloom in the winter as all the books and catalogs claim, but in early spring, along with bloodroot. They both cause my heart to race, my eyes to widen, and giggles to fall out of my mouth. Early spring flowers are unadlterated joy. Every year, it is as if spring has never come before, a miracle just unfolding for the first time. Hellebores are the first sign of the beauty to come, proof that life renews, and that it is good. Better yet, the herds of deer that roam my yard seem to be content eating every living thing except my hellebores. And Heronswood's hellebore would complement my existing patches perfectly.

Except then I can't get the kiwi.

Locust Books in Westminster, Maryland, always highlights books I simply must read. A visit last spring resulted in the purchase of The Backyard Homestead. It is just my type of fantasy read: how to make your little suburban lot into an (almost) self-sufficient mini farm. I already wanted chickens and bees; now there was more to do! A couple a weeks before purchasing the book, I tore an article out of the local paper about local fruits - some of which I did not know were native or hardy. The book confirmed it - my little yard was native fruit deficient.

Enter the hardy kiwi. According to the garden catalogs, it is not like the tropicl kiwi we all put in our fruit salads, but is smaller and not fuzzy. Full of vitamin C, and tasty. But it was the picture that captivated me. The leaves are incredible - green and pink! Like a coleus in the sunshine, a decorative vine that bears fruit. Plant a male and a female on a trellis. OK, I said to my self, I am adding that to the yard next year!

But then we have to buy or build a trellis or arbor. And there is just one little gift card.
Hmmm. A great flower or healthy fruit?

Copyright 2010,

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