I could kiss whoever it was who decided snapdragons should be called snapdragons, couldn’t you? Talk about a sweet and spicy bite of language, right? So poetic and, yet, so accurate. I mean, even with my limited exposure to “Game of Thrones,” I can easily see that they look like they have a dragon’s head.
How could they possibly have that shape? Must be a good bit of magic, I suppose.
Anyway, snapdragons have become my new favorite flower, obviously because of their name, but also because I am absolutely sure now that, if they’re in the right circumstances, they can come back after winter.
I suspected this was the case two summers ago when little sprouts showed up in one of my pots and I waited to see what would become of them. Within weeks, I recognized the leaves and waited for the blooms to blossom. Then the snapdragons all appeared, in vibrant yellow, and, even though I had done nothing to make this happen (I didn’t even water the pot), I felt like a gardening champion.
I thought their return might have depended on a mild winter, though, so anxiously waited to see what would happen the next spring. Once again, snapping bursts of yellow appeared with absolutely no effort on my part.
I rejoiced and then snapped up as many colors as I could find. At $1.98 for six at Lowe’s, that can quickly result in a lot of dragons.
This year, they appeared again, though in three pots and also within my front garden. Some are red with streaks of yellow, some are light pink with dashes of magenta, some are orange mixed with a bluey purple.
I enjoy a hardy flower, I’ll readily admit that, and especially have an abiding respect for the unexotic blooms everyone takes for granted.
Take geraniums. Sure, they may seem a little predictable, but try to think of them growing in a windowsill planter in the middle of Paris or Barcelona, on a street where maybe fresh linens are drying on a line above and there is a bakery below with crusty, oblong-shaped breads in the window. Now we’re talking!
And, like snapdragons, geraniums have so much to give. A hanging basket of them will keep blooming all summer long, and only requires an occasional bit of easy dead-heading, which in and of itself is a satisfying two-minute process (because of the sound the heads make when they snap off the branch).
Impatiens, too. I mean, what a little workhorse of a flower. Once again, you can buy six plants for $1.98 and, by the end of the summer, each one has practically taken over their own pot. And they don’t even ask for a lot of sun! Every summer, my husband asks me what kind of flower this is, and, with only a slight amount of impatience, I tell him. I especially love their little leaves. Somehow, they look very English gardeny to me, with their perfect teardrop shape.
Then there are sedums. I know this isn’t a flower, more of a decorative plant, but still: what a dynamo, whether in the ground or in a pot. I have them planted in the rocky crooks of my back garden and they ask for nothing but dirt. They come back every year, they come in so many varieties, and steadily, slowly spread not because they’re trying to take over the world, just because they’re happily growing.
I have a place in my heart for a good dusty miller as well, because who can resist that silver color? I know they’re usually planted in a line or used as an accent in a pot, and all of that can look kind of cheesy and has-been. But maybe next year I’ll try to plant a few pots of only millers in them. I bet all that silver would look a little wondrous all together in the evening with fireflies flitting around. I just bet it would.
But, for now, nothing is better than my little, unbeatable snapdragons, especially with the rain falling right now and their glow just as bright as ever. Aren’t I lucky to have something as beautiful to lift my mood whenever I need it? And isn’t it nice to feel a whole garden of gratitude.