Sunday, June 15, 2008

GBBD: A Sonnet for Stella

Sonnet I (For Stella)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love you from the breadth of your bright green foliage,
Waving in the breeze every summer day,

To the depth of your trumpet-shaped flowers that reach for the sun
And beckon the nearby bee to search for nourishment within.

I love you for your constancy:
While others show a flash of beauty and then fade away,
You are there from June to September.
I love you for your understanding: whether rain pounds you
Or the gardener neglects you, you forgive and never fail.

While others may call you ubiquitous or a cliche,
You are always welcome here.
And when your time is done, the green remains,
Growing ever stronger, doubling my joys in years to come.

(With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning and to any poetry purists who notice this sonnet neither rhymes nor has iambic pentameter.)

On this June Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day Stella d'Oro is the rising star in my garden. Her blooms just began to appear this past week, and, as you can see in the photos, her real show is still a few days away. While Stella is the most popular of all the hemerocallis, there are so many new hybrids in many different hues. I would love to have some of these, particularly the pink, but Stella has grown so large this year I will have to divide her up this fall or next spring. Planting other varieties would require more garden space, which means . . .more digging. I'll have to think about that.
Stella has been in my garden from the beginning, but a new star on the scene is the "Oranges and Lemons" gaillardia in the expanded roadside bed. This is a fairly new variety, I believe, that promises to "bloom profusely throughout the season." We'll see if it fulfills that promise. I'm just thankful it is blooming at all and didn't get pneumonia from the wet feet it had for a week.

An old standby is my yarrow, Achillea "Appleblossom" (I think). This will bloom all season long. In fact, I usually shear it off a couple times during the summer, and it just comes back and back. I'm glad I knew its nature before planting it and planted it next to some large landscape rocks with boundaries to contain it.

Another new plant that has been blooming since I bought it this spring is this Rozanne geranium. I finally planted it in its permanent home, and it seems to be adjusting rather well.

The Knockout roses looked much better last week when I captured a photo of "the perfect rose" for a post. Even though they look a little blowsy right now, they will rebloom all summer long right into fall.

I wish I had taken some photos last week of some of my other flowers. Though they are still blooming right now, the first blooms are withering and not as colorful as they were earlier. These include a "Walker's Low" nepeta...

and a "May Night" salvia as well as "East Friesland" salvias (not pictured)....

The clematis, which I believe is a Nelly Moser, still has some tenacious blooms hanging on.

This is a great time for gardening. While some flowers have lost that first blush, they will be back soon. And other plants are budding, ready to take center stage for awhile. These include my original "Endless Summer" hydrangeas...

...and my first love, the purple coneflower.

Wishing you all lots of blooms to enjoy.
And a Happy Father's Day to any dads out there reading this (and those that aren't).
A special wish to my own dad who is a young 82!
And a happy birthday to a little princess, my granddaughter who turns 5 today.

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day is sponsored by Carol at May Dreams Gardens; visit her to see more of what is blooming in everyone's garden this June.


  1. You have lots going on in your garden Rose. I love the sonnet despite no iambic pentameter (whatever that is) or rhymes (I know what these are). I am sure EB is happy you gave her the nod.

    I love the look of gallardia but I can't seem to grow them in my garden while a friend of mine pulls them out by the hand fulls. Just doesn't seem fair. This new variety of yours is very striking.

    I like the big rock in the one photo too.

    Happy GBBD. You have lots of fun going on today with birthdays and Dads to celebrate.

  2. Happy Birthday and Father's Day to your Dad. Your signature rose is perfect - I love them too. So many beautiful things blooming in your garden. For a "late bloomer," you are making up of lost time with natural skill.

  3. You've got a wonderful variety in your garden, Rose. I was chuckling about the yarrow- I was not a wise as you in my placement, and it's everywhere now-part of my "crazy garden", as my daughter calls it, the one that's really getting away from me with all the invasive self-sowers.

  4. So true. Stellas never fail.

    Your blooms are so pretty. I'm wondering why my hydrangeas aren't blooming for the second year in a row? I've never had them before and I think someone told me they like acidic soil. I don't know what to do!

    Oh, well, I'll just look at yours :o)

  5. The Stellas are a beautiful flower. And as you say, they bloom all summer long and don't require any maintenance. Your sonnet was most appropriate and I'm sure Elizabeth would have felt praised indeed. I love your salvias and saw a new one on Carol's that looks like a keeper also. I can't believe your granddaughter is 5 already!

  6. Stella is a reliable good performer however it is getting a little too popular around here.

    I was skeptical of 'Oranges and Lemons' when I first planted a couple of years ago. It has since completely won me over by being, hardy, profuse and beautiful.

  7. Those geraniums are great, aren't they? They seem to flourish regardless. I hope my flowers turn out to be as lovely as yours. We have a pretty yellow thing that looks like your first one - sort of lily-ish. I must take some photos too. Your garden must look wonderful.

  8. Hi have chosen one of my favourite poets and poem.....I also love Robert Browning.
    It was a joy to read your sonnet. I can see why this plant is a favourite.
    The rock with the achillea is a lovely photograph....

    You have lots going on and it was lovely to see all your blooms.

  9. Lisa, Isn't it strange how one plant does so well in someone else's garden but not in your own? I'd like your luck with astilbe.
    P.S. Iambic pentameter is a type of poetic meter--Shakespeare used it. Just a little bit of useless English teacher info:)

    Sarah, Thanks for dropping by. I don't know about my having "natural skill"; I think most of it is trial and error, and learning a lot from other gardeners, of course.

    Joyce, I learned the first year about yarrow and fortunately transplanted it to a safer place very quickly!

  10. Mary, I've read hydrangeas are very picky about where they're planted. Mine aren't as big as I think they should be, probably because I have them in the wrong place. Yes, they like acidic soil, especially to get them to stay blue. I feed them a little azalea food--when I remember:)

    Beckie, Low maintenance--that's always a big plus with me when it comes to plants!
    I know it's hard to believe granddaughter is 5--she'll start kindergarten this fall!

    Digital, Thanks for stopping by. I know the Stella is used so much in commercial plantings; I still like her, though. Glad to hear your gaillardia is living up to its description!

  11. Liz, The Stella is a daylily, the kind that repeatedly blooms. Asiatic lilies are beautiful, but I want something that lasts all summer.
    So how was the Springsteen concert?? I'll have to pop over to see your review!

    Cheryl, I think we have similar tastes in poetry; I probably like Robert's poetry better than Elizabeth's. I debated about using the photo of the yarrow with the rock or more of a close-up of just the yarrow. Apparently, I made the right choice.

  12. I have "Stella" all over my backyard, and though it is faithful and will bloom all summer, it makes my garden to yellow/gold, so I've been trying to get other colors this spring.

    Loved all your flowers! Thanks for joining in for bloom day. (I sort of remember iambic pentameter, but relate it more to Dante's Inferno for some reason?)

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  13. So many beautiful blooms. Love that gaillardia, so unusual.

  14. I think Elizabeth Barrett Browning would have said something very similar if Stella had been around while she was alive;)

    Love the Nellie Moser photo. That's my Dad's all time favorite clematis.

  15. Hiya Rose,

    I was so glad to hear you speak up for Stella. Never saw her before last year and she is precious to me: so dainty and low growing with that wonderful buttercup colour.
    I was surprised to read somewhere that in the US they are considered boring. Give me boring then ;-)

    Maybe we can do a swap? I have acres of the Geranium Rozanne. Not boring either and I let it all go where it wants to: a field of pink, rose and deep purple.

  16. You've shown that a common plant need not be banal if given proper siting & companions. The blue flowers complement its color so well. Your 'Endless Summer' is ahead of mine, but then I think mine wants to be somewhere else (in someone else's garden?). My Coneflowers are coming along too, but with all this rain, one of them is already over 3 feet tall. I liked your post about the U of I Idea Garden, but I hope my Oakleaf Hydrangea never gets that big!

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  18. What a beautiful garden you have! I enjoyed visiting!

    Thanks for the well wishes. Hopefully Ill be back in the dirt soon! As for those potted hosta's, they are just waiting for my lazy bones to get out and dig that new patch in the back yard for them. My front garden is full sun.

  19. My Stellas have yet to blossom! I do have a stunning Clematis and other pretties! Don't we just love our blossoms!! Nice to meet you and your Stellas and friends! NG

  20. A haiku for Stella:

    Orange yellow gold
    Flowing sunshine on green stems
    Elegantly wave

    ~ Monica

  21. Carol, Stella is one of the few yellow flowers I have, but it will need to be divided soon. Looks like I'll have some passalongs, for once. Thanks for sponsoring GBBD.

    Gintoino, Thanks for dropping by. Isn't it amazing how we can see so many plants on other blogs we've never seen before? At least that's the way it is for me.

    Roses and Lilacs, Probably the first sonnet I've ever written. I'm not much into meter and rhyme:) Nor am I very original...
    Glad you like the clematis; its blooms are pretty well gone, now, but I'm hoping for a second bloom later in the season.

  22. Love your poem - and the stellas too!

  23. I too, like Stella. How she got such a bad reputation, I don't know. Not too many flowers give of themselves as much as Stella. Gardeners are a fickle lot.

    We've got many blooms in common! Beautiful photos of yours, Rose!

  24. Joco, If I lived closer to you, I would jump at the chance to do a plant swap!

    MMD, I seem to have a lot of purple in my garden--it goes well with pink, but also with yellow, I've found. The coneflower I showed is 3 feet tall, too; I hope it doesn't blow over in the wind we have been having.

    Laura, Those hostas can wait till you're better...mine aren't even ready to bloom!

    Nature Girl, The stellas are really growing this year...I may have to find new homes for some of them.

    Garden Faerie, Love the haiku!

  25. Dear Rose,
    Your gardens are so pretty. Filled with lovely blooms.
    I too grow Stellas. I was gifted with one a number of years ago and it found a spot in the day lily bed. She does like to bloom.
    There is a place for iambic daughter has a master's degree in poetics... and a place for free form... and always a place for a poem from the heart.
    Thank you for taking me on a garden tour. I enjoyed seeing your lovely flowers.
    Happy Day of celebrating, cake for everyone!

  26. Your garden looks beautiful Rose, despite the weather you've had.

    You've commented at mine about my new blog list. It is a new feature from blogger and you access it from where you would have done your old list.

    Let me know if you need more help!
    Hope you're having a good day:)

  27. You have some beautiful flowers Rose! I especially like the Gaillardia. I'm going to have to scout around for that one!

  28. Hi Rose, your ode to Stella was so sweet. The photos you took are real glamour shots! Here in TN the stellas are used in every commercial location's green space and most entrances to housing developements, shopping centers, etc. And why not? Low to no maintenance and non stop bloom. There are huge expanses of them planted along the highways around Asheville, NC, a sea of yellow. We tried that gaillardia but it did not return the next year. We have so many of the red and yellow ones, we do tear them out by handfuls. Love the achillea too, with the large rock. Thanks for the tip about shearing it back. We have a dark red one, new last fall that is lovely right now but getting pretty tall. It will be given the haircut a la Rose.

    Frances at Faire Garden

  29. Any perennial that blooms it's head off like Stella is great in my book. I had Stella at my last house and she never failed me. This house I decided on Happy Returns. Wish it was smaller like Stella but with the same lemony-yellow blooms.

    Geranium Rozanne is my favorite geranium, and might be my favorite perennial. It's a fabulous bloomer, and fabulous plant. It ain't perennial of the year for nothin'!

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  31. Hi Rose,

    Your ode was fun - and you've used 'Stella' very well, surrounding her with softer, fuzzier blooms in purples and blues. I can remember how exciting it was when she came out, named after the Stella d'Oro breakfast cookies....and so expensive that first year that I had to wait for the price to come down to own one.

    Your gaillardia looks great!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose


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