Friday, June 20, 2008

Welcome Summer, Bring Your Light

I feel like such an ungrateful bastard.

This winter, through frosty windows, I watched the newly-transplanted garden flood and then freeze over. You may remember how disheartened I was by the whole mess.

What I see before me these days feels nothing short of a miracle. The lilies are shooting toward the sky, as are just about everything else.

Mostly, this makes me very happy and grateful and joyous. But there's another part of me that's impatient, too. (Blah, blah, blah...pansies, marigolds, dianthus, over and there's anything wrong with that! See: ungrateful bastard. Completely.).

I know all these plants - the perennials - and I know what they've been capable in years past. This year, they have a location that offers so much more of what encourages them to thrive. I can see the buds forming, on just about everything. I know that someday - very soon - it's going to be like a fireworks display, with it all exploding at once.

Oh, I just can't wait to see it!! The anticipation is driving me crazy (as is the voice of Carly Simon suddenly singing in my head...). All things in time, I remind myself. If gardening teaches us about Faith, it also offers Patience as a lesson.

Here's something I am particularly grateful for. These tiny blue flowers and I made acquaintance in the Orchard Garden at the Eastham place. They are an American wildflower called Dayflower, in the spiderwort family. It's growth habit and leaf design give away its relation to the houseplant known as Wandering Jew.

I just love these simple little flowers. They're pared right down to the basics of what a flower needs, stamen, pistol, anthers and a few petals to attract the eye. Flower 1.0.

As you might guess from their name, their flowers are short lived, usually faded by late afternoon. The only guide I was able to find them in was that old one I mentioned from the 1950s, which suggests to me that its not as common as it once was. Of course, it's possible it's just been overlooked in more recent years (or perhaps I need better flower guides), maybe because of its stature. It's two petals are roughly the same size across as my fingertip, so they are on the mini-side. Which is all the more reason to cherish them, I think.

Anyway, I'm very happy that a number of these are growing in different parts of the new garden. I don't remember consciously trying to bring some, I remember they turned up just about anywhere I stirred up the earth at the old place, so the seeds were there. I'm happy to help spread them around and get their name out there(If you hit the "dayflower" tag down below, you'll find an assortment of better images of these guys in their last location, too.).

Here's an interesting contrast. In the photo above, to the right you can see two small clumps of allyssum, purple and white. To the left, is a great drift of allyssum, grown from seed scattered the same week I planted the others. Isn't it wild how the plants from seed have just totally outdone the nursery seedlings?

Also, you can see a few tufts of dayflower foliage coming out of the allyssum to the left, as well as behind the purple.

All the Shasta Daisies have formed the buttons which will swell and magically unfurl into delightful and nearly perfect daisies, each one pretty large. They are usually seriously doing their thing by July Fourth, so we should see the first of them popping open sometime in the coming week.

I had suspected that the viney things I'd seen twining around at the feet of the arbor vitae (just outside the window from the computer)was some variety of honeysuckle and I think I can confirm that with these flowers I discovered this morning. Look, there's white and yellow!

I'm pretty sure it is their sweet perfume that's coming in on the occasional swell of breeze through the window tonight. It's a scent I know mostly from things like soap or bodywash (which is soap, really...I don't know who we think we're kidding with the different name...are two more syllables really worth the additional expense??) just wafting in the window of its own accord, with no product to purchase. And smelling it tonight somehow brings to mind the outdoor explorations of my childhood(though no artificial version of the scent has done so previously).

Ta dah: the wonders of the Plant Kingdom.

I'm also loving these white pansies, which are along the path into the back yard. They enjoy some shade there, and seem to be keeping their form better here, than their white cousins in the front yard, which look so much different, petal-wise.

This evening, at 7:59, our Spring became Summer. In the southern hemisphere, Autumn became Winter. So we spare a thought for those poor bastards down there, and wish them well(cheers, Sh@ney and Nate! Come visit the garden whene'er you need to...) before turning to frolic and leap and dance and suck in deep lungfuls of air scented of rose and honeysuckle and every other natural perfume.

Ha, don't be so easily fooled. I was at work when that Big Moment of seasonal transition occurred, so I didn't get to make it the Occasion I might otherwise have liked to. But I'll find time for leaping and dancing in the week ahead.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


somewhere joe said...

Your dayflower's vivid blue reminds me of lobelia, which grew in lush cascades from window boxes at my friend Walter's house in the country.

Speaking of impatience - do you grow them?

Greg said...

Hey Joe! I love lobelia and impatiens.

In fact, I was realizing while prepping this post last night that I really need to get my traditional patriotic planter (red and white impatiens with blue lobelia) together if I'm going to make *any* kind of showing for July 4th.

In past years, I have grown rather a lot of the stuff (impatiens), but at this location- for a change -there is almost no shade in which to plant them...and I'm not a big fan of the variety that thrives in sun.

Cooper said...

Greg ... you are one of the wonders of the garden. I'd love to take a midnight stroll with you through your faerieland, and since I can't do that, seeing it through your eyes and words is a blessing. I have blue lobelia paired with white growing, draped over the wooden edging of some of my flower beds. That particular shade of blue is my favourite blue.

Happy Summer Solstice to you!

Greg said...

That would be fun, Coop--I love a midnight stroll! Glad to do it this way, until we can work out the logistics for the other, though!

Blue lobelia is the best--I'll be welcoming some in the coming week, I think...

Happy Summer back atcha!

Patrick said...

I hope the leaping and dancing is about to happen, if it hasn't already. If not, another stroll through a candle- and firefly-lit garden seems like a fine back-up plan. You are doing wonders for my nature cravings this summer; the walks here are helping too, but I feel like I had a marvelous solstice celebration just reading this entry. (A glass of wine makes a nice companion to the piece). When Cooper comes for a visit, can I come too?

Greg said...

Patrick, the leaping and dancing happens in my heart each time I step out into the garden, or catch a whiff of the roses...or more recently, the honeysuckle!

I'm so pleased to be helping satisfy those nature cravings for you, and just tickled to have shared the solstice celebration with you.

And of course you are welcome when Coop comes to visit, or whenever!

Wonder Man said...

I haven't seen honeysuckles since I left Ithaca