Saturday, September 17, 2011


I’ve read that all gardening is a sickness, a homesickness. A deep seated longing for our mythical home in Eden. Or an echoing refrain of our evolutionary beginnings on the African savannas. I know many people who plant lilacs or peonies because their grandma did. I grow cucumbers and pickle them in memory of my mother’s sour briny summer kitchen. And I am researching arborvitae, a native of my home state Wisconsin, for an article. This research lead me to Oregon last weekend to tour conifer nurseries, take photographs and interview growers. I saw many new beautiful cultivars of Thuja occidentalis, as well as standards like the stalwart ‘Emerald Green’. But when I saw these ‘cactus’ I had to stop. I imagine the owner of this car wash was longing for his home in the Sonoran desert when he planted them. Even the 'Stella D'oro' daylilies seem like yuccas in this context.