Friday, May 14, 2010


Everywhere you turn these days you run into someone or some entity preaching the redeeming qualities of being eco-friendly. Everything we eat, everything we buy, everything we do is supposed to be eco-friendly if you are to be considered hip, savvy, or at the very least politically correct. Um, yeah....OK.

I know these "preachers" are talking about saving the planet from doom and destruction, or at least "global warming." I have another take on how to be eco. Call it Kristina's way. My eco is driven out of a little kindness, the generosity of others, a desire to improve the World, and dire necessity. My eco is economy-minded and has only a little to do with "living green." Above you will see Exhibit A of my Eco-K: a stunning ruffly-pink gem of blooming wonderfulness. This gorgeous bloom is on a Japanese tree peony located in my front flower bed just in front of a hedge of deep pink azaleas. It started blooming in mid-April and the last flower is just now fading. A wonderful knitting friend, Leo, gifted these peonies to me two years ago when he couldn't find space for them in his family's garden. It was a most generous gift to be sure. I read the catalogs and know what the sellers want for these high-end plants. I doubt I would ever splurge on them myself, but thanks to a good friend my spring garden has an extra dose of delight. Thanks Leo!!!

Below that gorgeous peony is Exhibit B: the flowerbed outside my bedroom window. This is a marvel of eco at it's best--composed mostly of plants found on the "scratch and dent" sale table at a local garden center. The towering foxgloves were marked down because bad weather an insufficient watering left them with broken flower stems. Who wants to pay $8-12 for a huge pot of busted blooms? Not me...and I didn't. There were 3 plants in each pot, so now I have a self-sowing, self-perpetuating perennial that is an eye-catcher in my garden and requires a minimum of care. I've grabbed foxglove "steals" twice now, once 2 years ago and again 2 weeks ago. Oh boy!!!

The pretty peach and sultry deep purple iris rhizomes came in a bargain box I was gifted a few years ago. Irises don't bloom for long, but while they do the aroma and beauty is unmistakable. They cover a lot of red clay too--and I have gobs of that here in Tennessee. I also have amazing blue irises that have the fragrance of the finest of perfumes...and I didn't have to go to Nordstrom's to buy it!

Finally, the spiky stems covered with pink and white flowers is another "scratch and dent" steal that also self-sows--Nora Barlow columbine. I've seen this plant on sale for cheap in catalogs before, but always preferred the more traditional columbine form of the Winky series plants, both the deep periwinkle/white and the pink varieties. I've changed my mind. Both are wonderful in the spring garden. Add a few bleeding hearts in both the cultivated and the native wildflower forms and I had a show outside my window! Now that's my kind of eco... Eco-K! And oh, that's pretty "green" too :-)