Thursday, November 12, 2009

World Wide Gardening

It’s important to take care of your little patch of earth no matter where you are.
-Jamie Durie

“The Victory Garden”

I have great news! My garden has gone global!

I have many visitors to my garden blog from USA’s coast to coast, which is so cool in and of its self. My visitors garden in cities in New York, California, Colorado, Michigan and Washington State to name some, and recently from Shiraz, Iran! I can’t tell you how exciting it is to have all of you as my gardening friends. It feels like all of our gardens combined create one extended global garden.

Having a visitor from Iran started me thinking about gardens around the world and I wondered how far Shiraz is from the site of the Garden of Eden. So off to my atlas I went and found that Shiraz seems to be close to the vicinity, at least from my perspective which is oceans away. What a spectacular garden Eden must have been. Genesis documents its location to an area encompassing a river that branches off to feed the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. This would put it in modern day Iraq, near the Persian Gulf. What is gardening like where you are in Shiraz? Do you have moist, tropical conditions like Hawaii and other Pacific islands? Or do you have dry conditions where Palms, Agaves, Cactus and Salvias thrive like our southern states and Mexico and Central America? Does Bougainvillea cover your walls in glorious color? Do you have Jasmine fragrance wafting in your breezes? Is it too dry there for native orchids? Perhaps you have an abundance of aromatic herbs and grasses. What kinds of vegetables do you grow in your family gardens?

Many of the plants we enjoy in North American gardens have come from the Middle Eastern region. For instance, Tulipa turkestanica is a native of Turkey (note the second word, ‘descriptive’ name), likewise the ‘fall crocus’ Colchicum autumnalis, pictured above in my garden, come to us from the Greek and Turkish regions.
Many of our drought resistant herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme and lavender come from the dry, sandy Mediterranean Sea coastlines. I read articles relating how these shrubby herbs are prolific on rocky cliffs and sandy shores.

I also am reminded of the many botanical explorers and plant collectors, past and present who travel the globe for intriguing plant species compatible to their own regions. They make the world a little smaller, allowing us to enjoy flowers and plants in our gardens that come from far away places. You may have met some of these plant collectors at the nurseries when reading the tags of the plants you pick up. For instance, if you picked up a pot of Camellia williamsii, you held in your hand not just any Camellia, but an effort and passion of the plantsman Williams. Many of us know a Camellia, but here the second word is the name of the person who either ‘discovered’ the plant in its native habitat and brought home seeds or cuttings, or it’s the name of the person who created it through hybridization. This particular Camillia was created by a plantsman named Mr. Williams who crossed Camellia japonica (‘japonica’ = originally found in Japan) with Camellia saluenensis. That word ‘williamsii’ (pronounced william-see-eye) is like his signature on his piece of art. I’ll write more explaining Latin botanical names in a future post because once studied it becomes really informative.

In reading this blog we all have an opportunity to share our gardens with each other around the globe. So let’s grow this garden blog into one vast global place of beauty. Visit me often, write to me your thoughts, tell your friends about it. The world may not be at peace, but we can create peace in our own world through our gardens. By planting in our individual outdoor spaces, or volunteering at our local botanical gardens, we can create places of serene beauty for ourselves and those who visit. Are you with me?

In bloom in my garden today: Abyssinian Gladiola, Borage, Eupatorium ‘chocolate’, Daphne, Coreopsis, Rose, Digitalis (foxglove), Salvia, Nepeta (cat mint), Solanum crispum, Gauara, Fushia, Phygelius (cape fushia) Schizostylis, Alyssum.

Food ready for the birds: Mountain Ash berries, Pyracantha berries, Echinacea seeds, Coreopsis seeds, Liatris seeds.

Author’s photo


Shari B. said...

Hi Joan!

What a fantastic post! Every time I read your blog I'm blown away by the depth of your gardening knowledge. Not just HOW to do it, but the science and history behind it all.

Well I may not have a real garden, but I'll be a part of your global peaceful garden with my single (and flourishing, I might add) aloe vera plant and as of last night, I can count SPROUTS in there too! So I'm getting there. ;)

Thank you for sharing such a beauitful post with all of your readers!

Joan said...

Hi Shari,
Thanks for writing and the nice words! You have an indoor garden, are successful at it and are enjoying what you do! That's what counts! Keep up the good work!