Sunday, July 26, 2009

Time's winged chariot

You might have to click on this picture to see it, but what I liked were the yellow petals sticking to the roof of the bird feeder.

A slightly decayed and dilapidated look are part of a garden's appeal. Why is that? It must be the same idea that goes into "shabby chic," the wanting things to look aged and used, and finding that attractive.

We should be more that way about ourselves, too.

A garden has many delights and many lessons. One lesson is the brevity of life. These pansies, for example, are past their prime.

The lobelia are drooping in this pot. It's partly the advance of the season, partly the heat we've been having. Last night we had a thunderstorm, but before that endless days of relentless sun and heat. Not a typical Northwest Washington summer. We do usually get some hot, sunny days in July and August, but this year the hot weather started in June, and we've had very little rain.

The lobelia in the other pot are beyond droopy, perhaps beyond recovery. If I were more consistent in watering and fertilizing, they might have lasted longer, but with being gone from the house for ten or more hours Monday through Friday to go earn my living, I don't always have a lot of energy to devote to my plants when I am home. And weekends, they have to share with all other tasks and errands waiting to be done. However, they are a fairly high priority, just because I love them better than some other parts of my life. My deck has received more attention than the interior of my house, and I've spent more time tending plants than doing housework.

Robert Herrick has this good poem tying together the brevity of garden life and of human life:

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may go marry:
For having lost but once your prime
You may for ever tarry.

I'm not sure I agree with the third stanza. It's true that youth is the best time of life for marriage and childbearing, but I'm not sure that it's the best time of life, period.

. . .

I browsed the net and through books of poetry looking for something that expresses what I think (what oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed), but now I have to get ready for church.

Sweet rains

Sweet the rains new fall, sunlit from heaven,

Like the first dewfall on the first grass.

Praise for the sweetness

of the wet garden,

Sprung in completeness

where his feet pass.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Scenes from the deck, Part 7

At the west end of the deck, begonias and lobelia.

Begonias and lobelia. Sometimes lobelia will just up and die, for me anyway. So far, so good with these guys. Only one casualty, reasons unknown.

This is actually, an indoor plant, my spider plant. I bought it for my living room because a tag said it could tolerate having very little sunshine. But after some months in my living room, the windows of which are overshadowed by the upper deck, it expressed, "Very little, yes, but not THAT little." So I brought it outside for a little sun therapy. When (if?) it recovers, I'll plunge it back into deprivation.

Here's the best "deck"-oration of all. :-)

Scenes from the deck, Part 6

I bought two colors of fuchsias, both have two-color blooms.

The fuchsias that were bigger when I got them are in full bloom.

The ones that were smaller are just coming into bud.

The saxifraga. I looked it up online, and "saxifraga" means "stone breaker." The plants grow naturally in the cracks of stones. They are alpine plants. There is a Saxifrage Society consisting mostly of Europeans (looks like majority Brits, with some Dutch and Scandinavians).

Scenes from the deck, Part 5

I think my pansies may have cross-bred to make this purpley-yellow bloom.

By the pond is a frog! He's made of metal, maybe iron.

Now we're on the shady side of the deck. Don't you love how the stairs and railings make shade/sun stripes?

Walking closer, a little iron table, and on it . . .

. . . a white bowl full of small stones, with a white bird on the edge.

Scenes from the deck, Part 4

Looking up, you can see the geraniums I planted for the top deck. Mom and Dad should have some flowers, too.

A tea rose on the table and two more pots of lavender (a different breed than the English and French, but more like the English) in front of the table. Sadly, today I discovered nasty bugs on the tea rose. Whenever I have roses, they always get infested.

Among the heliotrope lurks . . . another fleur de lis!

The celebration rose is reliable to just bloom and not make a fuss.

And I did find the perfect plant for this little terra cotta pot with the fleur de lis on it. I forget the plant's name, but it is a succulent, with the fat, water-filled leaves, and it has a pretty bloom. I bought it at Haggen, and I picked the biggest, healthiest one with a color flower I liked. Then as I was driving out of the parking lot I had to brake quickly, and the pot fell forward and half the plant broke off. Fortunately, it is recovering just fine.

Scenes from the deck, Part 3

Looking back the way we came.

Plants in the middle include peppermint and French lavender.

The more English lavender in front of the herb barrel.

The thyme is blooming these tiny white blossoms.

Scenes from the deck, Part 2

The verbena I planted this year is a bright red. Last year I had purple. Last year's must have seeded, and one little purple "volunteer" showed up among the red.

The honeysuckle blossoms are in the bud.

Close up of the cross. I think it gives a European, old French kind of feel.

Scenes from the deck, Part 1

Okay, so you come down the stairs on the east side of the house and come around the corner, and here it is!

At the east end, close to the house, is the contorted filbert with verbena around it, and two pots of lavender in front of it.

Then the honeysuckle on the trellis, with purple petunias in front of it, and two pots of lavender.

And above the trellis, this metal cross.