A Comedy Of Planting


So, this came today. Jack, is that you? Jack-in-the-pulpit root, I think. It’s huge–3 inches long. How would you plant this slug?

OK, so something strange came into my life today. My wife and I had already agreed that most of the flowers that I bought this spring (not all, but most) will go under our clothesline, where we are establishing a few garden “holes” in a gravel area.

And, to cap a busy and cultural week, the first flowers arrived in today’s mail.

It was very warm—around 80—today, and I already planted some grass seed in my yard. I had also purchased, heaven knows why because past experience suggests it is a foolish gesture, a bag of “wild flower” shade garden seeds, and planted some here and there, about half in my gardens, half in the woods behind my house (trying to give garlic mustard something to compete with).

Anyway, I thought I was done gardening for the day. I like to garden, but don’t have much time for it at this time of year. For example, we’ve had a busy week, as spring often brings:

On Tuesday, my wife and I attended a speech by Cesare Frustaci. I, and the MMU handbell choir, played to open and close the program, but it was clearly all about Cesare and his compelling story.

As he noted, it’s a strange and sad thing that there are people in the world who deny the Holocaust, and his presentation about his experience in Hungary in World War II brought a packed crowd to the Chapel of Mercy.

Art wrapped in art. Sculpture tied with ribbons near Warde Hall.

Art wrapped in art. Sculpture tied with ribbons near Warde Hall.

On Friday, there was an “art invasion” of MMU, as high school art day was held. Part of the event was an outdoor installation involving lots of orange ribbon. I don’t’ know, somehow it just lightened the mood. Among other things, a giant sculpture behind Warde Hall was wrapped up, which improved its looks, I think.

More of my photos on Facebook.

Then, Saturday, we attended the excellent MMU production of “A Comedy of Errors.” I’ll never look at the sports editor of the MMU Times the same. If you read this before Sunday afternoon, there is a 2:30 matinee, and I think you would like it.

Anyway, so gardening was a bit of a quiet break from the pleasing cacophony of culture that attends being part of a university campus.

But, right before we were to go out on our date night, which included church, a restaurant meal and the play, the box arrived in the mail.

Containing a big, honking, enigmatic root seen at the top of this post.

I wasn’t even sure what it was, but because I am a little more familiar with the other plants I ordered, and because it was the one I’ve never planted before, I’m assuming this is Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Blog pals, and I right? In the right neighborhood? A small label said to plant it 6-inches deep. But it did not say which end to stick in the ground first. Which way would you say is “up?”

I spent a few fruitless minutes searching the Oralce of All Knowledge, but neither Ms. Google nor Mr. Wikipedia was all that helpful.

Oh, OK. the green probably points "up." I hope.

Oh, OK. the green probably points “up.” I hope.

Then I unpacked the other two roots. Oh. A giant green thing is emerging from one end. In my experience, that way is usually “up.”

It was 10 p.m. by then, and the radar said rain is west of us. So I decided to take flashlight in hand and plant these in a hole.

So I did. I just nestled them in among the wildflower seeds I had put in earlier—these are plants that tend to grow in shady areas anyway, so co-planting them with “shady” wildflower seeds seemed like a good move.

We’ll see. Some early flowers are in bloom already, check out these images.  And now, since our land is so dry, if only that rain would come on down …



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2 responses to “A Comedy Of Planting

  1. Dude, haven’t you read Harry Potter? That’s totally a mandrake root. It’ll come in handy for all sorts of things, later, just don’t forget to wear ear muffs when you’re gardening. 😉

    • CRGardenJoe

      You and I read Harry Potter. Sadly, there are many in the world who think it’s a series of mildly amusing movies. Then again, there may be future kids who avoid “The Hobbit,” thinking that it must be an epic series of books like “The Lord of the Rings.” Anyway, I actually solved the root mystery–went back to the catalog of the company I ordered from. Apparently, jack-in-the-pulpit is part of a large family of plants that is native not only to North America, but also Asia. I thought I was ordering a cool American plant. What I actually ordered was a “Cobra Lily,” the Asian cousin of the American plant. Oh well, it says it will survive in my zone, and I’ll add jack-in-the-pulpit to my garden some day.

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