Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shrub of the Year

Fall reached out and grabbed me by the throat this week. Somehow, I have been drifting mindlessly thru life for the past few weeks. Yes, I knew it was October, then November, but somehow my eyes were shaded and my heart closed. But no more.

Over the weekend I spent part of three days pulling weeds and cutting perennials back and - my favorite - digging in the dirt! The feel of clean, gritty dirt under my nails. Who would think that I had missed that feeling? But having it back was luxurious.

Someone has painted all the trees red and yellow. I've waited too long to find the perfect tree, because it is raining today and beating the leaves down. The roads are littered with them and the trees are starting to look boldly bald. The yard looks like Midas has sprinkled big coins all over.

How I wish I had starting looking a week ago for the perfect tree. Brilliant reds and golden yellows everywhere make my heart ache. This fothagilla turns to flames in the afternoon sun - every day - like a gift wrapped package... just for me. So, I've chosen it as the perfect shrub this year.

And, there are surprises, too. Like this lovely iris that I planted in July. I don't know if it's confused or a true rebloomer. Either way, it has eight buds on three stalks and if we get a couple of warm sunny days may open before we leave for our Thanksgiving trip farther south - at least I hope they will.

Other plants are giving me one last flush of bloom. A miniature rose that came from my aunt's garden more than 10 years ago is covered with both blooms and buds, and the volunteer nandinas that I transplanted from all over the yard have finally started to make me a hedge. From twigs less than 12 inches tall, I now have three-foot tall shrubs covered with berries. Where in the world did they come from... and when?

The true answer - of course - is that they have been there all along. It was I who deserted the garden this year. First because it was so blasted hot this summer than I didn't want to venture out, and then later because Mother fell ill and I spent my days traveling from here to there, and finally spent weeks in a daze after her death.

At a time when nature is going to sleep, I am finally waking up. As a daughter of Demeter and a sister of Persephone, that's okay. I will take my winter's sleep in a month or two, but like the iris I am blooming out of season this year. The important part is that I am finally starting to bloom.

Garden mums are growing everywhere - filling the yard with lavender.

The "pacific daisies" [they're really mums, too] are also in full bloom.

This mini rose is predominently white, but some blooms have pink picot edging and
some are more streaked - like this one. It makes for a lovely flush of blooms.


  1. Look at all those blooms! And the gold bush! You know, we had several of our rose bushes start to bloom again, which seems really strange to me. Glad to see you back. :)

  2. Nothing like gardening to bring one back to earth. I love the change in seasons, but does it seem to come faster and faster? It's wonderful you still have some flowers to enjoy this time of year.

  3. Great post Webb...I love your comment about 'the important part is that I am finally starting to bloom'. It is a great feeling isn't it? I think it is what keeps us going...sooner or later, it happens. Your garden looks beautiful...as if it has been waiting to say hello to you :)

    Jeanne xx

  4. Fall did the same with me. One day it was nice and sunny and the next thing I know things are doing from frosts and the leaves are falling.

    How did fall get here without anybody noticing?