Sunday, April 29, 2012

Quiet Garden Joys

More photos of the garden I'm leaving behind, this time of the quiet little corners planted with a variety of stalwarts with diverse attributes. Herbaceous perennials, most of them, whose charms need to be appreciated at just the right time, as they tend to pop up, bloom, and then either just contribute their green foliage, or, in some cases, fade discreetly away.  And I'm afraid that none of these shots do them justice, although clicking to enlarge will give you a better sense of what I'm trying to remember as we pack up to leave for a month.

The long-stemmed Solomon's seal (Polygonatum biflorum) above and below all came from a few divisions Mom and Dad brought over from their garden and planted here about fifteen years ago. They never fail to astonish with their rapid growth, easily bounding up or eight inches in a week, before arcing into their floral stage. They're just beginning to drop their white bell flowers into action, and I wish I could be here to watch.
At their feet is a mix of anemones and true geranium (a Ballerina variety, it seems to me). To their left a bed of Vanilla-leaf (achlys triphylla) -- I'll miss their foamy floral spires, but am happy to witness the delicate lushness of their foliage yet another time. They're interspersed with the lacy foliage and purple flowers of the Dicentra formosa (Pacific bleeding heart). And climbing up the siding behind them is the Climbing Hydrangea (hydrangea petiolaris) whose flowering I have been waiting nearly fifteen years to see.  No hint of any blooms there now, but I'm always suspicious this guy's just waiting for me to turn my back before he blooms, shyly. It was in full bloom when I bought it from the nursery so very long ago, but I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever witness its lacy splendour lighting up this shady spot.

As for witnessing, I managed to catch this California quail following his mate -- he's probably annoyed that Paul removed some of the shrub he liked hiding in, but she's gone ahead and scurried into some nearby blackberry bushes. Several pairs were introduced by residents of our tiny island many decades ago, as game birds, I believe, and they've settled in quite comfortably (no one's hunted them for eons!). I love to hear their poultry-like chuk-chukking through the year, and especially love to see them shepherding their large broods across the open road, consternation all a-flutter.  (You'll have to click to enlarge this photo to see what I'm talking about, but he's scooting across that large flat rock.)
And the brunnera macrophylla, another of the dainty blue-flowering plants that bloom simultaneously and a bit confusingly right now -- omphalodes cappadocica out the front, brunnera in the shady side of the yard, myosotis (common yet still charming forget-me-not) everywhere, in white as well as in blue.
A few of the species tulips seem to have escaped the deer's notice, for now, but there's not enough sunshine for them to open, so I'll probably have to wait 'til next year to enjoy them fully again.
Even the weedy plants, tucked in the scrubbier corners, can please me -- for example, I really like the childhood-evoking cheer of this purple-blooming Lunaria annua, more commonly known as the  Money Plant for the transclucent discs that are its seed pods. I like to collect stems of these in the late summer for filling vases, and I save them to enliven arrangements through the fall and winter.
Not far from this purple are the two lilac trees whose purple blooms are still quite tightly budded. In fact, I'm becoming hopeful that unless we get a few really warm weeks here while we're gone, these lilacs might even save some of their scented beauty for my return.

But if they don't, no matter. I do have some compensations in store for missing these, as you know. Today we're heading over to Vancouver where we'll have dinner with Oldest Daughter and her family (which includes our dear granddaughter).  Meanwhile, I offer these views of the small garden corners that offer their discreet, easily dismissed pleasures. We often tell ourselves to slow down, to "stop and smell the roses." But we'd do even better to stop and notice the wee flowers, the fleeting blooms of the herbaceous perennials that emerge in the spring, their foliage often receding at the first signs of summer heat and drought. . .

15 comments:

  1. Your garden is really the Northwest version of mine, or mine the Californian version of yours:). Dicentra, hydrangea, ferns, myosotis, native iris, Japanese anenomes, and so on. Lovely. And I too like that feel of being in a woodland, suburban cul-de-sac evidence to the contrary.

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    1. And we both have ponds, and raccoons who rummage in them . . . compatible garden personalities!

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  2. And I would have to echo Lisa here, as your garden(s) are the west-coast version of my old garden: Dicentra, solomon's seal, hydrangea, ferns, native iris, myosotis, brunnera, lunar...... My old gardens were really just a controlled microcosm of the "civilized" and the "native" trying to bridge the gap between home and the woods beyond.

    My new garden will not have such wild leanings, being in a more formally planned community, but I am sure some of the same plants will find a home here as well.

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    1. "a controlled microcosm of the 'civilized'and the 'native'trying to bridge the gap between home and the woods beyond" Although my adjoining woods are teeny co mpared to your "woods beyond" you articulate exactly what my garden's about. And your reference to the effects of the neighbouring gardens is apt as well, and it explains some of the differences between my garden and Lisa's that aren't accounted for by geography and climate. Interesting the many different influences on the gardens we're lucky enough to shape. . .

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  3. I love your quiet joys! I have a lot here which fits that description. I love natives and as I garden high on a hill in North Wales around and alongside a 16th Century farmhouse exotics would look totally out of place. Lovely.

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    1. Your splendid garden is a perfect example of what I'm trying to say above in my comment to Mardel.

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  4. Hi Mater, it sounds like your trip is imminent, so good luck with tying up all your loose ends and safe journey! P.

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  5. You little piece of paradise will be there, waiting, on your return. That's the thing about a garden. It won't be as you remember, or even as you expect, as there are always surprises in a garden.
    Bon Voyage!

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    1. So true -- it will be a whole different garden by the time we get back -- with very long grass and a mess of dandelions!
      Thank you. . .

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  6. My lilac exploded into bloom only for it to be drowned by a week of continuous rain, the blooms have already browned! But we seem neck and neck with everything else garden wise. We may even be even greener now with all this rain.
    That end of term rush is familiar to me right now, although we go on for longer that gives me more time to prepare for the new academic year which I quite enjoy.
    I hope for your sake Europe warms up, I do think the central parts are hotter than the northern parts so you should be lucky. We are following your example and trying to go for a ‘carry on’ for our next trip, I keep looking at the space and marvelling at how you cope!! Happy packing.

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    1. I did see lilacs in full bloom here in Vanc'r yesterday, so it might just be that mine are behind because they're contending with the beach breezes.
      The carry-on packing is especially challenging for months like April, May, when the weather could be as hot as it was for us last year (remember that?!) or rain-chilly. Still, the ease of being able to heft one's own bag up the Tube escalators without making everyone around swear . . .

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  7. Thanks for the photos Mater. It's fun to see the same plants that are in my yard in a totally different setting (also gives me ideas!). Had quite a bit of rain lately and with the warm temps the plants are ahead of schedule, but so very beautiful. Just wondering, before you leave will you do a "polyvore on the floor" for us? :)

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    1. Spring is such a lush time in the garden, isn't it, especially with that combo of rain and warm temps.

      As for the Polyvore on the Floor, I didn't manage that this trip, but I did list the contents of my case in my latest post. . .

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  8. I love your garden posts. I think I would feel peaceful there.

    Martin is the gardener at our house. He plants what pleases him and throws away the labels so I can never really figure out what we've got except for obvious things like roses and tulips.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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