21 July 2012

welcome morning, by anne sexton

There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry "hello there, Anne"
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn't shared, I've heard,
dies young.

20 July 2012

centaurea montana

My mom grew this in a partly shady garden next to the stone wall on the south side of our yard, and I remember vases of the blooms on our dining room table when I was growing up. The flower always seemed a little odd to me, a little vulnerable, vague, and sparse. I wanted more petals. They're such an intense blue, but I thought there were too few of them. It's a pretty flower, but not in any usual way.

Mom must have moved the plant to her garden at the lake house where she and my dad spend most of their summers these days, because she still cuts it for her flower arrangements. And I have remained ambivalent toward it.

This means that I've never asked my mother for a piece of her plant to put in my garden, and when I've seen it or its gold-leaved cousin at nurseries, I've thought, Oh, I should buy that because it reminds me of home, but I never have.

Then last summer, my friend Pam offered me a piece of her plant, and I thought, Oh, all right, let's try it. She told me not to be sad when the leaves disappeared after I put it in the ground. "It'll do that, and you'll think it's a goner. But then it will send up new leaves and maybe a bloom or two, and you will be happy." Well, it did send up a bunch of leaves last summer, but it didn't flower until this spring. And when it did, all my ambivalence disappeared.

The sparseness of the petals seems delicate and elegant to me now. The plant is huge and has been in continuous bloom since May, a real plus in my gardening book. The blue is gorgeous, and by happy accident my Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue' is planted right next door, so that the interplay of these two odd birds is kind of wonderful. I'm such a fan that I'm considering buying the gold-leaved version, too, and, in fact, I did buy another centaurea this spring, Centaurea macrocephala. It has a yellow, thistle-like flower that makes it look like C. montana's football-playing older brother.

I'm glad I got over my reservation about this wonderful plant. I don't know why it took me so long to decide to grow it up here on the hill, but I'm happy I finally came around. I feel like I should tell my mom that I get it now.

And thank you, Pam!

a million little stars

The other night, after I watered all the squash I just transplanted (transplanted! in midsummer! so dry! what was I thinking!), I took a rest in the vegetable garden and noticed how sweet the flower bed in the middle looks. B has planted thyme and more thyme and yet more, and it is in bloom.

19 July 2012

midsummer triptych

In spite of the dry summer we've had so far (note crispy Heuchera in the header), the garden looks lush; even 'Rozanne' is hanging in there, and she's in full sun!

Foxglove with a backdrop of 'Blue Angel' hosta.
Fern, astilbe, pachysandra.
Geranium 'Rozanne' and Cotinus coggyria 'Royal Purple.'

16 July 2012

finally . . . an update and some fall-blooming crocus ordered

How embarrassing not to have checked in since the days this spring when the poet's narcissus were in bloom! The garden continues to grow, however, and much is the same (while much is different). Spring has turned to summer, and with summer have come thoughts of autumn in general, and thoughts of fall-blooming crocus in particular. I'm always late to the party where ordering special bulbs is concerned, but this year, THIS YEAR, I've gotten my ducks in a row now and have just placed an order with Brent and Becky's Bulbs for the following:
A few years back somehow I got my hands on some lovely pale-purple fall-blooming crocus that I planted in the perennial garden in September when space was at a real premium, which means that I tucked them between a raft of Stachys byzantina and a cloud of Anemone 'Honorine Jobert,' way over on the end where I never go. (I wonder if every gardener has a spot in the garden that's filled with plants that don't fit anywhere else.)

The crocus got a little lost there, as you can imagine.

I noticed and dug them this spring (never saw them bloom last fall), locating the bulbs by looking for their fading, threadlike foliage, and planted them throughout a bed of Vinca minor at the top of the driveway. Doing this has several advantages: the dark foliage of the vinca will be a nice backdrop to the flowers; the ripening foliage won't be a distraction in spring, and B and I will actually be able to see them when we drive up the driveway! I'll plant the new additions to the family in this bed, too.

Very excited.