Biblitz delivers advise

ASK Biblitz about the Biblitz Garden.

'Visit the garden where the scarlet trumpets / are opening their bodies for the hummingbirds / who are drinking the sweetness, who are thrillingly gluttonous.'

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What are some good companion flowers for a garden, Leo?

Biblitz replies:
Lots of red ones, which act as a sort of lash to garden malingerers, encouraging them to give of their best. Biblitz favors perennials, which bankrupt you only once and, if you install them properly, they'll return each year bigger and stronger than ever - as will the various insects that feed on them! Biblitz is unsound on pesticides and wants to keep it that way, preferring to let each plant duke it out as it sees fit. I confess to menacing a few aphids and the occasional snail each year, but on the whole, there are voracious insects and birds in sufficient number to do the job, though, strangely, neither will even go near a weed. Why, Biblitz wonders? What do they know?


More Biblitz roses.

There are now three specimens of the David Austin Evelyn Rose chez Biblitz, each better than the last. Biblitz selected them as a tribute to the great Canadian ballerina Evelyn Hart of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, which rewarded her many years of loyal service by firing her without notice or cause at the height of her career - one more reason to hate Winnipeg if more was required!


In front of the apple trees, along the back of what was intended to be a French kitchen garden is a climbing noisette rose, Madame Alfred Carriere. After a rather bumpy start in a too-shady wooden planter, Madam is now throwing her full weight about with lovely, fragrant white roses shot with pale pink. She manages occasionally to fend off an intruding aphid but in her view, apparently, the humble aphid must eat, too. She will quite soon be flanked by buff-colored hollyhocks and a new variety of cosmos that promises double flowers of various reddish hues. Photos to follow next month!

To Begin With, the Sweet Grass


Will the hungry ox stand in the field and not eat
of the sweet grass?
Will the owl bite off its own wings?
Will the lark forget to lift its body in the air or
forget to sing?
Will the rivers run upstream?

Behold, I say - behold
the reliability and the finery and the teachings
of this gritty earth gift.


Eat bread and understand comfort.
Drink water, and understand delight.
Visit the garden where the scarlet trumpets
are opening their bodies for the hummingbirds
who are drinking the sweetness, who are
thrillingly gluttonous.

For one thing leads to another.
Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot.
Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in.

And someone's face, whom you love, will be as a star
both intimate and ultimate,
and you will be both heart-shaken and respectful.
And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved, whisper:
oh, let me, for a while longer, enter the two
beautiful bodies of your lungs.

(From Evidence, Poems by Mary Oliver, pgs. 36-37)


Clematis Viticella Madame Julia Correvon, a super-climber in full, glorious, burgundy-red flower in early June, 2010.

A hasty planting decision means Julia Correvon is, alas, practically on top of Eden Rose, also a climber, with pale, pink-rimmed double-cuppers like birthday cake roses but which don't smell. What's worse, excessive rain in June sometimes provokes an unpleasant outbreak of mildew in Julia, which then spreads to Eden, requiring a steady hand with the pruning shears. Happily, both are forgiving, though Eden commands restraint with large, penetrating spikes too savage to be called mere thorns.

Next to Julie and Eden is Roseraie de l'Hay, Hybrid Rugosa (Cochet-Cochet 1901), the first of the Biblitz roses to bloom each year and the last to retire in mid-October. Rosie is a garden champion with masses of large pink-red flowers that send their fragrance wafting through the open window of this draft-loving Biblitz householder.

To the right of Julia, along the Biblitz garage/greenhouse/labaoratory, where so many failed vegetable seedlings have withered and died, are three rambunctious peonies and a still tiny tree peony that has now survived four unhappy moves. He seems content enough though he has so far refused to regale Biblitz with the promised bright orange flowers of which he may yet be capable. The others laugh at him as flowers will but he will no doubt overtake them when the time is right, which it isn't. Peonies cry out for luxurious flower cages but, alas, their cries fall on the deaf ears of those who control the Biblitz purse strings. More about peonies, especially the Biblitz Krinkle White peony, which blooms even before lilacs, the traditional harbingers of spring.