Well, you've heard of Big Love. Here in our garden corner there resides Big Love in its second year of blooming.
Rose Mallow, Swamp Mallow, Kopper King ....whatever name you call this Hibiscus, this big beauty is the largest flower that I have in my garden.
In fact, it may be the most impressive and biggest single blossom I have seen, slightly larger than a sunflower. One flower on a Hibiscus stem of 8 or 10 blossoms is the size of a dinner plate.
I love its coloration.... the pink center on a delicate white background paired with coppery "rouge verdate" leaves.
Mallow Rose Hibiscus, Photo by Mary M Payne
|Stand of Mallow Rose Hibiscus photo by Mary M Payne|
My garden corner featuring Kopper King Hibiscus stalks Photo by Mary M Payne
|Close up of buds on the Rose Mallow photo by Mary M Payne|
And it's blooming is a sweet compensation for the massive battle that is going on behind it while Monsieur and I fight the big fight of removing an invasive bamboo. Big Battle. Big Enemy.
At our relatively old age when most people are calling a gardener, Monsieur and I are tackling this intrusive plants with picks and shovels and sheer will power.
We have already removed about 12 meters of roots and rhizomes to find that we have just gotten a glimpse of the power of this plant.
Although some bamboo species are well behaved (clumping bamboo), our invader is an aggressive creeper or "running bamboo" that can easily take over an entire yard. It's rhizomes (roots) can spread 12 inches a day and operate stealthily underground for months before surfacing with a complete system of rock-hard runners. These cleverly place themselves under the root systems of other plants...in our case a stand of Pyracanthas more than 25 years old.
Last year I cut down several shoots not realizing what was taking place "below stairs." In the neighbor's yard from which it escaped there is a stand of 25 meter bamboo, fine for the scale of their yard but not so good for ours. I thought it was enough to cut down the new shoots but I was mis-informed.
Bamboo roots that underscored the wall, photo by Mary M Payne
One needs to remove the whole root system or the enemy will increase in strength and more shoots will appear. Since we don't use herbicides in our yard, only hand tools will work. With the pick and shovel we also use a hand trowel to remove loose soil so we can see what direction the root is going so we get the whole thing. It is slow work.
In our case, the bamboo has grown carefully in several lines against the retaining wall so that chunks of cement have to be chipped off with a sledge hammer in order to remove the runners. From there the plant has sent out new runners and with them shoots of about a meter high are now cropping up among the flowers.
The odd thing is that I feel quite proud of sweating and struggling in the name of what I want... beauty and order. I am just grateful that we are able to do the work ourselves....health-wise, that is.
But while we labor and sweat we look over at our Rose Mallow and confirm that although a garden is a lot of work, it brings many subtle pleasures.
People give meaning to all kinds of activities as disparate as collecting curling stones or carving the tip of a tiny pencil.
So Hey, Among other things, I give meaning to beauty and harmony and to the adage of " Never give up".
Dear Enemy : I'll get you , I will....