The Neglected Garden

Rose of Sharon morning light. 1/15 sec, f/6.3, Sony AFii with 18-200mm lens set at 200mm with 20mm extension tube. Bob Grytten Photo

Part 1 of a series…

We didn’t set out to have a jungle; but somehow along the way, it got out of hand.

Now, when we walk the lower quarter acre, we take our clippers with us to trim back more wild growers.

It may have all begun with our interest in water gardens years ago, then appreciation for native species, which we would travel long distances to locate for our photography projects. Joining the local Native Plant Society, I soon had access to species to grow in my own yard.

Adding a second pond to house the native aquatic proliferating, it soon became a wildlife refuge. Frogs loved it. And again our plants thrived. Not a season goes by that doesn’t remind us what we planted where. Every morning new blossoms seem to say, “Look at me, I’m back!!”

This morning the Rose of Sharon is a spotlight. It’s not native but found its way into our garden as a gift, so it stays.

A bit of history…

Hibiscus syriacus has been grown as a garden shrub in Korea since time immemorial; its leaves were brewed into an herbal tea and its flowers eaten. As early as the 16th century, it was introduced in Europe. By the 18th century the shrub was common in English gardens and in the American colonies, known as Althea frutex and “Syrian ketmia”. Today the Hibiscus flowers are sometimes made into tea, syrup, jam, and stuffed fritters. The mild-flavored flowers should be used as soon as they are picked.

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