The Gardener’s Eye by Allen Lacy

January 26, 2011

Published in 1992 by Atlantic Monthly Press, The Gardener’s Eye authored by Allen Lacy, a contributor to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Horticulture Magazine, author of Home Ground, Farther Afield, The Glory of Roses and The Garden in Autumn, notes in his chapter, “No Chauvinism Intended, But…” native plants are important to use but a garden should be a horticultural polyglot, “a floral United Nations.”

“Diversity and choice  … (would include) heaths (from Northern Europe), the hellebores (from Asia Minor and Southern Europe) and the Chinese witch hazel” to begin the year’s bloom.  But what about the native shrubs and small trees we tend to forget.  Allen Lacy draws our attention to the beach plum (Prunus maritima) for its spring blooms, attraction to honeybees, edible fruit, and gnarled trunk for a winter’s silhouette.  While hard to find, the clove currant (Ribes odoratum) “is one of the glories of spring… with a sweet and heady aroma,” the author writes.  Yet it is the yucca (Yucca filamentosa) which Lacy says should have been chosen as the national flower. My garden will attest to that.  My yucca is the sentinel waiting at the end of the driveway so as I pull out its yellow sword leaves too thick to wilt from the snow within its orb brings me sun .


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