I’ve never successfully photographed this forty foot wide planting of Filipendula rubra ‘Venusta’. And that, I think, shows why being in the garden is different from looking at the photos in this post. This image isn’t real, it’s not even pretty, but it does show flowering has begun.
The garden has been a very busy place in recent months with my decision to create new structure and new plantings in preparation for the Garden Conservancy Open Days. Not much time for contemplation. Something William Martin said made me think whether I ever just sit down and take a moment’s pleasure in my garden. And yesterday morning I remember I did.
Because it’s hidden behind the house, surrounded by woods, invisible to anyone unless they walk through tangles of growth, I sometimes go out in the morning in boxer shorts and a tee shirt, sit on a bench in a far back corner where I’ve planted a Hornbeam hedge, and just listen and look.
Having groups of people in the garden is new to me. I seem to want to do it, but my feelings are mixed. Alone, in the mornings, I think I’d rather not have anyone else around, ever.
But I have to sit still. If I walk about I get involved in “gardening,” pulling weeds, feeling anxious about what I’ll put in to soften the view of the huge fallen white pines, what to put here or there to maintain a pleasing counterpoint of presence and void.
It becomes an exercise in anxiety. My latest challenge is how to manage the gigantic Inula racemosa, which is seeding at an alarming rate. I don’t want to get rid of it because it’s a beautiful dead plant, like sculpture in winter. I’ve a new idea. Rather than cutting off the seed heads, I think I’ll try to burn them with my small propane torch as they are maturing, just enough to kill the seeds without destroying the appearance of the plant. (There I go. You see how easy it is to get into mental gymnastics over the garden.)
Such thoughts run rampant when I walk in the garden.
Three days after the big garden event was over, everything started bursting into bloom. Now the changes will be rapid and continuous until winter.
The view out of the Hornbeam Corner (below). It’s like a child’s hiding place.
(Speaking of gardening, you can see how the Inula is popping up everywhere.)
Silphium laciniatum against the newly visible southern sky (since the white pines fell).
Perhaps I should build a yoga platform and learn to sit still, meditating. Perhaps not.
I’m thinking of Rory Stuart’s book, What Are Gardens For?