The August lilies are starting to bloom.
The August lily is one of the few hostas whose spiky flowers are not only attractive, but, fragrant as well. They bare the essence of lilies – or honeysuckle. These hostas are such a boon to the waning summer garden as the coneflowers and daisies and roses all start to fade and send energy and nutrients back to their roots. I don’t know why every garden around here doesn’t have some.
They are also an entree to any deer’s dinner.
The August lilies have bright green leaves and are so forgiving. I love to water them. I’m one of those nuts who gets pure enjoyment from watering the garden. Really. You just stand there with a hose and water and think – or don’t – and are rewarded with a big, perky thank you from whomever is thirsty. The hostas are the most gracious. I love to get under the leaves with the life-giving wand on the end of the hose and give them a good swig of water. By the time I am through, there they are, once again standing tall and proud and grateful.
Our abundant border of August lilies were here when we moved in. I eagerly watched them emerge the first spring and was filled with delight at their presence.
We had August lilies in our garden in Elmhurst. They were originally brought by my friend Linda, who had divided her plants, and arrived in a few healthy clumps. Come the following spring I was in such a fret with no idea of where we had put them and how I would explain my careless behavior to a good and generous friend. A few days went by, then a week. Tom found me in the front garden and beckoned me to the back. “What?” ”Come see.” There on the path, previously hidden with brush from the past autumn, were the clump of hostas, sprouting! They are hardy travelers indeed! That’s the amazing thing about these hostas. With apologies to all of the garden centers, nurseries, and hosta breeders, an August lily is really a proud perennial that you should never have to buy, especially with good gardeners like Linda. A springtime or autumn division is all you need to get started and there is almost always someone around just ready to divide their patch. Plant them when they are delivered, however. Forevermore, Linda will bring divisions of this or that and chuckle and say to just plant them on a brick path.
I was thinking a bit about the simple beauty and affirmation of the August lily this morning. Up early and taking my morning trek from windowpane to windowpane, looking to see what was happening around our little acreage, I spotted the blooms, then the spotted fawn asleep just a few feet away. It was almost pastoral in the early morning mist and I thought of our gathering last night where a truly remarkable crowd came to honor Danny and Lisha while they were in town. Dan is a former pastor of our church; a good and godly man with a remarkable woman at his side. They were in from California where they tend a new flock. Dan shepherded most of the group gathered several years back and played a big part in our Katy’s spiritual development, and ours as well. He officiated at Katy and Tom’s wedding six years ago this July 31, just as the August lilies were starting to bloom. I thought of their steadfastness and hand in growing the spirit of so many and how blessed we were to have them here for a short while last night. I smiled as I wandered from room to room, my steps and my thoughts alive in gratitude.
I think I’ll go out and cut a few stems from the hostas. I’ll drink in their fragrance and remember with wonder all I have today to be thankful for; family and friends, grace and growing, and all of life’s wonder.