Friday, October 5, 2012

Enjoying Gaura

After a very hot and dry summer, the Gethsemane Prayer Garden has recovered beautifully. The Russian sage are still in blossom, the roses are abounding, there are patches of pink showy primrose which normally bloom in June, the white cone flowers and the even some of the daisies are peaking out their heads, there is a large patch of Japanese anenome in full bloom, and these are adjacent to abundant clusters of yellow coreopsis. There are brilliant red burning bushes next to the church and the ones in the garden have started to turn. And then there are the chrysanthemum, false ageratum and Autumn Joy sedum.

The most stunning of today's flowers are the gaura. Also known as 'Wand Flower', the gaura can be either white or various tones of pink. Close inspection of each gaura flower reveals four petals with a beard-like cluster of stamen and pistil. The flower heads sit on top of a long stalk that sways in the breeze. When one flower dies, the stalk produces another flower just above it in a seemingly endless pattern of beauty upon beauty. True love never dies.

As you first go in the garden, you will see a large patch of the white gaura, and these are the tallest. Elsewhere in the garden there is a mix of the white ones with a soft pink that somehow reminds me of striped candy canes. At the entrance to the garden are two plants, each 30" tall and equally wide. These two enticing gaura, shown above, are a deeper tone of pink.

In our area of Central New York (zone 4), some people have confessed that they have not been successful with gaura. They suggest that it is originally from Texas and may not be well suited for our environment. I think there are two keys to our success: the ones that survive are planted on a slope whereas the ones we have lost were planted on flat ground; and the ones that survive are either grown in sand or had sand mixed into our heavy clay soil. They seem to tolerate some amount of late afternoon shade but really prefer full sun.

If this autumn is like other fall seasons, the gaura should remain in blossom into November sometime. Please pay us a visit and bring your camera. Yes, it is a garden devoted to prayer, but sometimes we see things through the lens of a camera that encourages to dig deeper into that conversation with the Lord.

Many blessings,

End Note: The overall theme for this series of articles is flowers and plants, showing how they point to love. Sometimes I write 'how to' do something, other times the emphasis is a status update, or the article will be about how a plant or flower touched my heart. All of these writings are based on plants from the Gethsemane Prayer Garden in Syracuse, NY. Please consider some of the other blog articles: Index of Articles About the Gethsemane Prayer Garden.
Tom Clarke, Caretaker of the Gethsemane Prayer Garden