Monday, June 13, 2016

I Need Clyde Redmond

Nine years ago this week I arrived high on the low spot of a North Carolina mountain top. The view down into the utility easement was of an orange earthen scar and burn spot lined with rolling potatoes, as the trackhoe man called my rocks.

Things change.

And change again. While a cozy little cabin was being built, the earthen scar healed to a tangle of thuggish invaders unsuitable for a garden, even a wild cultivated garden. They had to go.

Editing and planting began in earnest when the cabin was done and the septic drain field installed. Now I have plants like Carolina Lupine, Thermopsis caroliniana, instead of thuggish invaders.

Some things took to living high on the low spot and some things didn't. I have a sack full of plant tags of the departed. Competition with the wild things is fierce.

A pair of caged shiny balls reflect on life high atop black locust trunks after the fall. It was a cold and snowy day when I slid quickly to the ground. I didn't scream. There was no point. Deep in the forest it wouldn't make a sound. Good fortune was with me. My leg was not broken, just my pride.

I have only been back up once to fondle the shiny balls. Now I use a rake handle to roll them around when needed.

Did you now that plants can fall out of the ground? It happens around professional gardeners quite often. They are generally looking for a better home. I try to accommodate as many as I can. Some of my best plants fell out of the ground and followed me home.

I had a bike, an antique, back pedal brake Schwinn that I pedaled through two years of college. It was gone when I came back from Maui twenty years later. When it was time I put out a call to the universe. I need a bike. Sometimes I get a notion that won't let go.

And sometimes I just go with the flow. I watched and listened to the 'aina for many years before the real gardening began. I edited. Nature made many excellent suggestions.

There are two cats in the yard. Sometimes three. That didn't stop the mice from chewing their way back into the house this week. I'm pretty certain I found the hole and silicon caulked that sucker shut. They won't chew through rubbery silicon.

Miss Collar languishes in the shade. Like me, they are thoroughly cold acclimated. As the temperature passes eighty, we languish. Movement slows. Shade is your friend.

That damn digging varmint has been on a rampage of late. Bags of lime and garbage, freshly planted verbena, germinating seeds and now potting soil ripped open, dug up and spit out. Then it had the gall to poop on my path in the same place twice. Big piles. Damn varmint! The two cats in the yard are not big enough.

I have more Louisiana iris now. Black Gamecock was my first. These southern swamp iris have done far better than one would expect high on the low spot of a North Carolina mountaintop. They grow bigger, have nicer longer lasting foliage and bloom more reliably than the bearded iris.

I'm getting that notion again. I need Clyde Redmond. Clyde lived with me on Maui for close to the twenty years I was there. He came as a seedling in the pot of another plant. I knew it wasn't a weed and grew it until it bloomed. An iris in Hawaii is a rare thing.

It was an iris named Clyde and I did not know it until I was living outside Clyde, NC. My notion keeps telling me Clyde Redmond belongs at Ku'ulei 'Aina. I am putting out a call to the universe.


Sallysmom said...

So somehow over the years you never acquired Clyde again? You need to do that. If it looks anything like the catalog picture, it is beautiful.

Christopher C. NC said...

You know how it is Sallysmom, very easy to get distracted. I found it online and may order some. It is a very deep navy blue. I thought of contacting friends in Maui where I planted some and have some sent, but figured the cold hardiness has been lost by now. Better to use a more local northern source.

beverly said...

Yes, you have to have an iris named Clyde outside Clyde. Black Gamecock is my sole 'Loosiana' possession right now but it's so beautiful I want more. Thanks for the recommendation.

Dana Foerster said...

Enjoyed the reflections of your first nine years on your mountain. The Clyde Redmon iris is a fitting plant to grow 'Outside Clyde'. I'd like to get one for my friend on Chambers Mountain. Perhaps 'Grass Roots' is a source?

Lola said...

Yes, you need a Clyde on you mountain.

Lisa Greenbow said...

It is fun to look back. You have done so much in a few years. I would love to see a few before and after photos. I sort of remember how it looked when you first started blogging.