More than a couple of decades ago, a neighbor took some cuttings from some sedum plants that were potted on the White House grounds in Washington, DC. (I won’t say which neighbor took them, and I won’t say which president was in office.) My neighbor secreted the cuttings in her suitcase and planted them in pots when she came home a week later. They thrived, and they continue to thrive in her garden until this day. The plants that I grew from the cuttings she gave me are thriving as well. The ones pictured above with the light pink blossoms are descendants from my neighbor’s original cuttings. This year, I added the rust-colored variety from a local nursery. It’s nice to have plants that come into bloom late in the season.
In another part of the garden, the purple cloud bush has burst into full bloom in response to the monsoon rains.
It’s the rock roses, however, that take the prize for the cheeriest late-season bloomers.
A few days ago in my post “Survivors,” I wrote about my cuttings that survived the winter. I was particularly fond of the Tall Sedum (pictured bottom left). Its four leaves reminded me of a propeller that was just waiting to be launched into spring. Imagine my dismay yesterday, when three of the leaves fell off, and the remaining one turned yellow. I was about to pull the cutting with a sigh, when I noticed new life growing at the base of the stem.
Speaking of misleading appearances, here is a true story: My husband and I had our careers in the San Francisco Bay Area, where people who don’t know each other keep to themselves and avoid eye when passing on the sidewalk. When we moved to Southern New Mexico, I was shocked when a stranger smiled at me and said, ‘Hello.” One day soon after when I was walking from the parking lot to the side door of Walmart, I became aware of a biker (in leather with multiple tattoos and piercings) closing in quickly behind me. There was no one else nearby, so I became a little nervous as he drew nearer. Imagine my surprise when he rushed ahead to open the door for me.
Honestly, Gentle Reader, this really happened in the Land of Enchantment.
As I look forward to 2021, I am starting to think about new life in the garden. All of my rose geranium, mint, and sweet potato cuttings have survived the winter in my studio (so far). Outside, the rosemary and dianthus cuttings are doing well, as well as a single cutting from my neighbor’s orange jubilee bush and a tiny volunteer from her golden ball lead tree.
On the other hand, all of my efforts with salvia cuttings have failed, and only one tall sedum and two citronella cuttings have survived. Today, I cleaned out all the failures. If the survivors can only stay alive for another two months….
Although it’s too early to plant seeds, I couldn’t resist opening my seed box to admire the contents — some carefully gathered by hand last summer, others ordered by mail, and others, alas, probably too old to germinate. In any case, they all look beautiful to me.