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英语美文欣赏:鼠尾草,你是我最好的舞伴

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  摘要:蓝黑鼠尾草的花朵悬垂在一英尺长(约合30厘米)的穗状花序上,穗状花序斜倚在周围绿色的景观中,展露出闲适自在的意味,给花园带来一丝灵动的生机。

  Sometimes when I am weeding in the late afternoon,I hear the vibrating wings of the ruby-throatedhummingbird before I see it dipping its beak into thelong tubular flowers of the blue anise sage (Salviaguaranitica) called Black and Blue for its cobalt-bluepetals and near-black calyxes at the base of theflowers. Hummingbirds are shy, but if I remainperfectly still, it is usually so intent on the nectarinside those deep blue trumpets that I can admire itout of the corner of my eye as it backs out of oneflower and moves on to another. Then, in a flash ofiridescent green and red, it is gone.

  我在傍晚除草的时候,偶尔会听到红喉蜂鸟扑腾翅膀的声音,紧接着,就会看到它把喙伸进瓜拉尼鼠尾草(Salvia guaranitica)的管状花朵里。这些花又被称为蓝黑鼠尾草(Black and Blue),因为其花瓣呈钴蓝色,花朵基部的花萼则近乎黑色。蜂鸟怕人,不过如果我保持一动不动的姿势,它通常就会专心致志从深蓝色喇叭里吸食花蜜了。这样,我就可以用眼角看着它从一朵花飞到另一朵花上。接着,它就会在红绿交织的绚烂色彩中一闪而过,倏而消失。

  Black and Blue holds its flowers aloft on footlong spikes that lean into the landscape,contributing to its laid-back personality and to the sense of movement in the garden. Thisplant has grown so big, it is leaning over the little chicken-wire fence that protects my Frenchfilet bean plants from the rabbits. The bean plants are full of snow-white flowers that will soonturn into slender bean pods, given all the bumblebees crawling over the blossoms.

  蓝黑鼠尾草的花朵悬垂在一英尺长(约合30厘米)的穗状花序上,穗状花序斜倚在周围绿色的景观中,展露出闲适自在的意味,给花园带来一丝灵动的生机。这株植物长得太大了,已经伸出了保护菜豆(French filetbean)不被兔子啃食的小铁丝网。菜豆的植株上挂满了雪白的花,有一大群熊蜂正在花朵上忙碌,所以它们很快就会长成狭长的豆荚了。

  One morning last week, I savored one of those serendipitous moments that no gardener canever plan for: the deep blue-black salvia flowers mingling with the pure white bean blossoms.Salvias are the perfect dance partners; they make all the other plants look better.

  上周的某个早晨,我体会到了任何园丁都可遇而不可求的一个时刻:深蓝与黑色相间的鼠尾草花与菜豆的纯白色花朵交相辉映,美不胜收。鼠尾草是最好的舞伴;它们能让所有其它植物增色生辉。

  I have a smaller, more demure salvia, S. coccinea Lady in Red rising out of the middle of a patchof cilantro, which I grow for its ferny leaves, to lend a pungent kick to guacamole. This herbshoots up to about three feet in a month and opens airy clusters of little white flowers, so youhave to plant more seeds every couple of weeks. Lady in Red is blooming through the cloud ofwhite, and waving her cherry-red lips at the hummingbirds.

  我还种植了一种更小、更娇羞的红花鼠尾草“一串红唇”(S. coccinea Lady in Red),它生长在一片芫荽当中。我种芫荽是因为它那蕨类般的叶片能为鳄梨沙拉酱增添一丝辛辣的风味。这种草本植物在一个月内可以生长三英尺(约合0.9米)左右,并开出一丛又一丛轻飘飘的小白花。因此,你不得不每隔几星期就种下更多的种子。“一串红唇”就盛放于一片白色的芫荽花丛中,对着蜂鸟摇曳它们艳丽的樱桃红唇。

  The salvia is a member of the mint family, labiatae, which accounts for its square stems andtextured, often fragrant foliage, and for those flowers that look like lips. Incredibly, more than900 species flourish around the world. They grow in many forms, from delicate rock-gardenplants with slender green leaves to six-footers with textured leaves in a range of shades,from chartreuse to dark hunter green, flowering in blues, purples, reds and even yellow.

  鼠尾草属于薄荷大家族,是唇形科的一种,茎呈方形,叶片纹理独特,往往带有香味,花朵呈唇形。令人难以置信的是,有超过900个鼠尾草品种生长于世界各地。它们形态各异,有的生有狭长绿叶,生长在精致的岩石花园里;有的高达六英尺(约合1.8米),叶片带有独特的纹理,颜色从蓖麻酒色到墨绿色不一而足,花朵的颜色则包括蓝色、紫色、红色、甚至黄色。

  Many are tropical and must be treated as annuals, but some are hardy enough to winter over,in the mid-Atlantic and tristate areas, especially in Zone 7, where winter temperatures rarely fallto zero.

  许多鼠尾草属于热带植物,必须当做一年生植物来种植;但也有部分鼠尾草足够坚韧,可以撑过冬天。这些鼠尾草生长在中大西洋地区(mid-Atlantic states,美国行政区划的十个大区之一,由七个州组成:纽约州,宾夕法尼亚州,新泽西州,马里兰州,西弗吉尼亚州,特拉华州和弗吉尼亚州——译注)和三州地区(tristate,美国三州交界地区,尤指纽约州、新泽西州与康涅狄格州的交界处——译注),尤其是第七区(Zone 7),那里的冬季温度很少降到零度。

  I have a garden sage, Salvia officinalis, which has survived bitter winters, my neglect and thestrangling vines of honeysuckle, to sprout its pleasingly rough gray-green leaves from woodybranches. (The leaves are delicious in stuffing and pork dishes.) It has grown to the size of abushel basket and sends up three-foot stems with fat oval flower buds that are an iridescentpurplish white for a few days before they open their big purple flowers. I used to grow it withtricolor garden sage, which has pebbled variegated leaves of purple and green, edged withwhite. The two were a pleasing combination, but the tricolor conked out during the hardwinter (variegated plants are a bit weak).

  我有一株庭院鼠尾草(garden sage),别名药用鼠尾草(Salvia officinalis)。它并未因冬季的严寒、我的疏于照料以及忍冬藤蔓的缠绕而死去。它的木质茎上生长出了灰绿色的叶片,纹理粗糙得喜人(这些叶片用在填料和猪肉菜肴中很可口)。它已经长到了一蒲式耳(约合36升)的篮子那么大,抽出了三英尺长(约合0.9米)的茎,上面带有肥大的椭圆形花苞。花苞呈现出斑斓带紫的白颜色,再过几天,就会开出硕大的紫色花朵。我曾把它和一株三色庭院鼠尾草种在一起,这株三色庭院鼠尾草有着卵石花纹的紫、绿杂色叶片,边缘则为白色。两株鼠尾草是一个令人愉悦的组合,但是三色鼠尾草没能熬过严冬(杂色植物都有点娇弱)。

  Another favorite is Mexican bush sage, Salvia leucantha, which some people call a bicolorbecause its white flowers are hugged by velvety light purple calyxes. It bloomed until frost, butlike other tender salvias in this zone, succumbed to the snow and ice last winter.

  另一株我很喜欢的植物,是墨西哥灌木鼠尾草(Mexican bush sage),别名紫绒鼠尾草(Salvia leucantha)。有人说它是双色花,因为白色花朵的基部有着天鹅绒般的淡紫色花萼。它的花期一直持续到霜冻来临,但和本地区其它柔弱的鼠尾草一样,它也没能熬过去年冬季的冰雪。

  It is possible to take cuttings of these tender plants in the late summer and grow them in potsin a greenhouse or sunroom in the winter. You can also dig up the root ball before a hardfreeze and store the potted plants in a basement or garage. John Whittlesey, who foundedCanyon Creek Nursery in Northern California 20 years ago and now runs it as a design-buildlandscape firm, explains how in "The Plant Lover's Guide to Salvias," published this spring byTimber Press.

  你可以在夏末将这些柔弱的植物剪下 ,扦插到花盆中,冬季就把花盆放到温室或日光房里。你还可以在严寒的冰冻期来临之前,将根球挖出来,把盆栽放到地下室或车库里。约翰·惠特尔西(John Whittlesey)在今年春推出的新书《植物发烧友的鼠尾草种植指南》(The Plant Lover's Guide to Salvias)(Timber Press出版)中讲解了具体做法。惠特尔西于20年前创立了坎宁克里克苗圃(Canyon Creek Nursery),如今已将它作为一家园林景观设计与建筑公司来运营了。

  Of course, once we garden nuts fall in love with a plant, we want them all. Or at least all theones we can grow in our area. So I wasn't surprised when Allen Lacy, whose garden books linemy shelves, emailed me recently to mention casually that he and his wife and tireless sidekick,Hella, had planted 100 or so salvias at the Linwood Arboretum in Linwood, N.J.

  当然,一旦我们这些园艺痴爱上一种植物,就会想要得到它的所有品种。就算得不到所有的,也会想要得到所有能在本地种植的品种。因此,当艾伦·雷西(Allen Lacy)——我书架上还有他的园艺书——最近在邮件中偶然提到,他和老婆以及两人不知疲倦的密友赫拉(Hella),已经在新泽西州林伍德(Linwood)的林伍德植物园(Linwood Arboretum)里种植了100来种鼠尾草时,我并不感到意外。

  "The smallest arboretum in the world," as Mr. Lacy calls it, was once an electrical substationcinched in by three streets. That was before Mr. Lacy got one of his green visions and helpedfound a public garden there five years ago. The scant acre now has 1,000 trees, shrubs,perennials and annuals, including a bog for pitcher plants.

  林伍德植物园被雷西称为“世界上最小的植物园”,它曾是一个由三条街道围起来的变电站。后来,雷西萌生了建设绿地的想法,并帮忙于五年前在那里创立了一座公共花园。那一小块地方如今已种植了1000株树木、灌木、多年生植物和一年生植物,还有一片生长着猪笼草的池塘。

  Mr. Lacy, 79, is a former garden columnist for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal,and a professor emeritus of philosophy and horticulture at Richard Stockton College of NewJersey, and he shares my loathing of those squat little red-and-blue salvias you see in all thegarden centers every spring — "the torrid red annual bedding sorts that pain the eye and mademe long for a black freeze in early August," he writes in "The Garden in Autumn," one of hisdozen or so excellent books.

  雷西现年79岁,是《纽约时报》和《华尔街日报》的前园艺专栏作家,也是新泽西理查德斯托克顿学院(Richard Stockton College of New Jersey)的哲学与园艺学荣誉教授。他跟我一样讨厌每年春天充斥在园艺商店里的那些又矮又小、红蓝相间的鼠尾草。在他已出版的十几本杰作之一《秋天的花园》(The Garden inAutumn)里,雷西写道:“我一看到这种红得像火一样、又矮又小的一年生品种,眼睛就痛得厉害,恨不得在四月初就迎来一段肃杀万物的冰冻期。”

  These unfortunate flowers are yet another example of what happens when plant breeders takea perfectly wonderful species — in this case, Salvia splendens, a native of Brazil — and turn itinto a mall plant. In the wild, S. splendens is a vigorous shrub that can grow to nine feet tallwith bright green leaves and three-foot-long scarlet flower spikes. At that size, its screamingred flowers must be dramatic; squashed down to 10 inches of nothing but flowers (the leaveslost in pursuit of perpetual big blooms), they look ridiculous.

  这些可怜的花朵,是被植物育种者糟蹋掉的又一个牺牲品。它们本属于巴西本地品种一串红(Salviasplendens)。而植物育种者总是将原本完美无缺、令人惊叹的品种培育成适于商场销售的植物。在野外环境下,一串红是一种生命力很强的灌木,可以生长到九英尺高(约合2.7米),带有亮绿色的叶子和三英尺长(约合0.9米)的猩红色穗状花序。在那种大小的鼠尾草当中,红得耀眼的花朵看起来肯定很壮观;而缩短到10英寸(约合25厘米)、且只有花朵的鼠尾草看起来很奇怪(由于育种者不断追求更大的花朵,叶片已经被牺牲掉了)。

  That said, Mr. Lacy long ago discovered many salvias that have escaped the ruin of S.splendens. So when he mentioned fooling around with 100 of them, I got in the car and drove.By the afternoon, I was following my old garden mentor around, ducking in and out ofmagnolias and hydrangeas, looking for the best of the bunch.

  虽说如此,但是雷西在很久以前就找到了许多尚未被育种者摧残的鼠尾草品种。因此,当他提到他在倒腾100种鼠尾草时,我马上开车直奔了过去。到下午时分,我跟在自己的园艺启蒙导师后面,穿梭于木兰和绣球花中,寻找着长势最好的花丛。

  "We're going to leave them all in the ground this winter," Mr. Lacy said. "We'll probably lose 50percent."

  “我们打算今年冬天把它们全部留在地里,”雷西说,“我们可能会损失50%的植株。”

  That sounds like an odd thing to say, but not if your goal is testing a certain genus for thespecies that will survive in your soil and climate.

  可能雷西说的事听起来有点怪,不过如果你的目的就是为了检测一下哪些品种适合你当地的土壤和气候,那就不足为奇了。

  Though some of these salvias were bought locally, many of the more unusual varieties wereordered from Flowers by the Sea, a mail-order nursery in Elk, Calif., that offers about 400species and varieties. The website is packed with information about bloom times, companionplants and cultivation (707-877-1717; fbts.com). Plant Delights Nursery, in Raleigh, N.C., isanother good source (919-772-4794; plantdelights.com).

  尽管这些鼠尾草有一部分购自本地,但还有许多较为稀奇的品种是购自Flowers by the Sea,这是位于加州埃尔克(Elk)的一家经营邮购业务的苗圃,可提供大约400个科属和品种的植物。在该店的网站内,到处都是关于开花时间、搭配植物和栽培事项的信息(电话:707-877-1717;网站:fbts.com)。北卡罗来纳州罗利(Raleigh)的Plant Delights Nursery也是一家不错的植物商店(电话:919-772-4794;网站:plantdelights.com)。

  Mr. Lacy chose plants that would hit their peak bloom in late July and flower until frost, butmany have yet to bloom thanks to an extremely wavy jet stream bringing cold air from theArctic to the East Coast — not really the polar vortex, as many call it — and extreme heat tothe West. (Those cold nights slowed up my tomatoes, too.) Still, there was much to admire.Amistad, a hybrid salvia with long tubular flowers of bright purple and dark calyxes wasimpossible to miss.

  雷西挑选的植物,都是在7月底进入开花鼎盛期,花期一直持续到霜冻。但到现在,还有许多植物没有开花,这是因为呈汹涌波浪状的喷流(并非很多人所说的极地涡旋)将冷空气从北极带到了东海岸,又给西部带来酷热(那些寒冷的夜晚也延缓了我家番茄的开花时间)。不过,雷西的植物园里还是有很多值得欣赏的植物的。其中,友谊鼠尾草(Amistad,英文:friendship sage)绝对不容错过。这是一种杂交鼠尾草,有着狭长的亮紫色管状花朵和深色花萼。

  "Rolando Uri, a salvia expert, discovered it in Argentina and wanted everyone to plant it, butsomeone in England came along and patented it," Mr. Lacy grumbled. Mr. Uri found this beauty,about four feet tall and six feet across, growing in a garden bed near Salvia guaranitica, avigorous species with indigo flowers, and Salvia gesneriflora, a giant species with scarletflowers that can grow 10 feet tall. So Amistad probably began its life as a natural cross.

  “鼠尾草专家罗兰多·乌里(Rolando Uri)在阿根廷发现了它,他想要所有人都种植这个品种,但是英格兰有个人也发现了它,对它申请了专利,”雷西抱怨道。乌里找到这种尤物的时候,它有四英尺高(约合1.2米)、六英尺宽(约合1.8米),生长在一座花园里,附近生长着瓜拉尼鼠尾草和格斯纳鼠尾草(Salvia gesneriflora,得名于瑞士植物学家康拉德·格斯纳[Conrad Gessner]——译注)。瓜拉尼鼠尾草是个生命力很强的品种,花朵呈靛蓝色;格斯纳鼠尾草则是一个硕大的品种,可以长到10英尺高(约合3米),花朵呈猩红色。由此可见,友谊鼠尾草或许一开始就是天然杂交品种。

  Next to Amistad, which grows best in the semi-shade, were two other salvias not yet in flowerbut striking for their contrasting foliage. Salvia elegans, a pineapple sage with smooth veinedgreen leaves was nestled against Salvia confertiflora, whose brighter green foliage was sowonderfully rough and crinkled that I didn't care if it never bloomed.

  友谊鼠尾草在半日照的环境下长势最好。在雷西的植物园里,友谊鼠尾草的旁边还种着两种鼠尾草,虽然还没开花,但是它们的叶片形成了鲜明反差,看起来亦很壮观。凤梨鼠尾草(Salvia elegans,又称为pinapplesage)的叶片为绿色,表面光滑而有纹理;旁边的红色天鹅绒鼠尾草(Salvia confertiflora,英文:redvelvet sage)叶片颜色更加鲜艳,其粗糙的纹理和卷曲的形状如此完美,就算它不再开花我也毫不在乎。

  Mr. Lacy promised that in another week or two it would have tall spikes of orange flowers, "likeChinese firecrackers." And Golden Delicious, a pineapple sage with glowing yellow leaves,should soon be blooming the same screaming red. (Well, to each his own.)

  雷西保证,再过一两周,它就会开出花序很高的橙色花,“就像中国烟花一样。”凤梨鼠尾草有个叫“金冠”(Golden Delicious)的品种,生长着鲜艳耀眼的黄色叶片,它很快就会开出同样耀眼的红色花朵(对于这个品种,我只能说萝卜青菜,各有所爱吧)。

  A number of smaller, more delicate varieties were flourishing on a sandy berm built for rockgarden plants, benefiting from the good drainage. There were many varieties of Salviamicrophyla (which means little leaf), including Hot Lips, a bicolor deep red-and-white; PurpleLeaf, which is named for the undersides of its bright green leaves and cobalt-blue flowers; ElkVelvet, a silvery pink-and-bright-red bicolor. These drought-resistant sages have smallerflowers with wide lower lips, which make it easy for bees to land.

  一些更小巧、更娇弱的品种生长在一条沙质窄道上,这条窄道是为岩石花园的植物修造的,排水很好。这里生长的鼠尾草是小叶鼠尾草(Salvia microphyla)的若干个品种,包括“烈焰红唇”(Hot Lips),一种深红与白色相间的双色花;“紫叶”(Purple Leaf),其亮绿色叶片的内侧为紫色,花朵呈钴蓝色;Elk Velvet,一种银粉与亮红色相间的双色花。这些耐旱鼠尾草的花朵更小、唇瓣更大,便于蜜蜂降落。

  Some of the larger salvias were complementing shrubs: Amistad, the lusty purple, and S.guaranitica, with deep blue flowers, set off the loose white trusses of a Hydrangea paniculata.The pale-blue flowers of the six-foot Salvia guaranitica Argentine Skies provided a foil for theluminescent vermilion and blue-green leaves of a smoke tree, Cotinus Grace. And Salviafarinacea, an upright plant with dusky blue flowers, was the perfect companion for a vitexcovered in powder-blue flowers.

  有些较大的鼠尾草与灌木相映成趣:友谊鼠尾草(饱满的紫色花)和瓜拉尼鼠尾草(深蓝色花)映衬在松散的白色圆锥绣球(Hydrangea Paniculata)花丛中。六英尺高(约合1.8米)的瓜拉尼鼠尾草“阿根廷天空”(Argentine Skies)开着淡蓝色的花朵,衬托着一种烟树(smoke tree)——“优雅”(Grace)黄栌那呈现出荧光红与蓝绿色的叶片。粉萼鼠尾草(Salvia farinacea)生有直立茎,花朵呈暗蓝色,与开放着浅灰蓝色花朵的牡荆是完美搭配。

  There is always some rarity to covet in the smallest arboretum in the world. Before I left, Mr.Lacy made sure I took a long look at the redbud tree, Cercis Rising Sun, which has apricot-and-yellow tones in its heart-shaped lime-green leaves. Salvia Amistad was leaning into it with itsclear purple blooms.

  在这个世界上最小的植物园里,总有些稀有的植物品种是值得艳羡的。临走之前,雷西让我好好瞻仰了一下某个品种的紫荆树——旭日紫荆(Cercis Rising Sun)。其石灰绿色的心形叶片上夹杂着杏色与黄色斑纹。开着亮紫色花朵的友谊鼠尾草,就斜倚在上面。

  But the pièce de résistance was Faye Chapel, a boisterous cultivar of Salvia splendens, orscarlet sage, with its dark-green satiny leaves and three-foot stems of lipstick-red flowers. Mr.Lacy had planted this sun-lover in a big pot along a bright path — just to show what the salviacan do, if the hybridizers don't turn it into a dwarf.

  不过,真正的压轴好戏还要数Faye Chapel,这是一种生命力旺盛的一串红(英文:scarlet sage),其叶片表面光滑,呈深绿色,三英尺(约合0.9米)高的茎上开满了口红色的红花。雷西把这株喜光植物种在了一个大花盆里,把它放到一条光照充足的小径边——只是为了充分展示,这种鼠尾草在没有被杂交育种者变矮的情况下,能够发挥出多大的能量。

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