A Matter of Perception

Posted by & filed under Annuals, Perennials.

I need an agent.

I’ve come to this conclusion after a few more weeks on the run.  Let me back up and explain.

A few weeks ago I was hiding in the trial beds as happy as could be.  Along came a gardener working hard to get rid of the weeds, so it was time for me to leave.  I was inspired by all the roses on trial in the beds there, so I headed to the Rose Garden.  This has been an incredible spring for the roses and I enjoyed them all.  There are so many blooming that the garden has been a riot of color.  Sweeps of pink, red, yellow and cream colors keep the eyes busy.  Some of the roses are very fragrant as well so those with noses enjoy the garden even more.  

I was able to stay in the Rose Garden for about a week and a half.  I enjoyed seeing lots of people come to visit the garden. The roses are so spectacular that everyone’s attention was on them and I felt pretty safe.  No one would notice little ol’ me sitting down low on the ground.  But that’s part of the reason I had to leave.  After all that ooohing and aaaahing that everyone does, the roses start to think a little too highly of themselves.  After awhile they get impossible to be around.  They put on airs and look down their thorns at the other flowers, so I just had to leave.

A Cardoon about to bloomA Cardoon about to bloom

I worked my way around to the Border Garden across the canal.  It is so pretty this year that I keep coming back.  I had to keep my head down a little last week because they were installing some African sculpture nearby for this summer’s special exhibit and late last week there was a lot of activity nearby when they removed the eaglet from its nest.  Poor thing, I hope it is doing well.

The border’s charms are clearly evident.  The foxglove is a little past it’s prime, but the daisies are going strong and the Canterbury bells are showing off nicely.  A nice variety of shrubs are in bloom to compliment the array of perennials.  None of the these flowers are nearly as stuck up as the roses were.  However, it hit me hard when I saw people stop and marvel at the cardoon.

Now the cardoon is a perfectly wonderful plant, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t see why people get so excited about it.  The things I like (and I guess others do to) is that this is a magnificent architectural plant.  It grows fairly large (2-3 feet tall) and has really interesting Gothic-type leaves.  When it blooms a strong tall stalk shoots up with a purple flower on top.  A beautiful addition to the garden.  The jealous part of me gets mad because I know that this is really an oversized member of the thistle family.  Once long ago, the cardoon was like me – a common part of the vegetable garden.  I was grown for wine, Cardoon leavessalads and seasoning while the cardoon was a great winter vegetable, the stalks blanched and eaten like celery.  (The cardoon’s close cousin is the artichoke, another good vegetable.)  Nowadays neither one of us is in the kitchen garden, but somehow it ends up as an ornamental in the perennial border and I’m considered a weed.  That’s why I need an agent.

I know I sound a little jealous, but do me a favor and go to the garden, find the cardoon and make fun of it for me.  Please.  It will make me feel better.