Thursday, November 12, 2009

Balance in the Gardening year

East ridge in mid May

What a difference half a year makes! The picture above was taken almost exactly half a year ago: the ridges at my home garden are in full foliage and the early spring bulbs are mostly done. You can see that by mid May the Agave parryi was already almost adult human height. Below, a month later (five months ago, seven to go), high summer has buckwheats, fleabanes and mariposa lilies in full throttle.

Last week, Merilee Barnett and Diana Capen visited DBG and we strolled through the Gardens together: they are the terrific owners of Perennial Favorites, a destination specialty nursery in Rye, Colorado. As we strolled through DBG, on a balmy day much like today, there were tons of fall crocuses blooming here and there, Cyclamen intaminatum in full bloom, and the autumn colors were really splendid (considering this is one of our less splendid years for fall colors). Quercus buckleyi and Q. shumardii are both fulminating purples and reds, and Korean spicebush (Viburnum carlesii) is truly spectacular. Diana said this was really her favorite time of year. I have to admit, walking through my gardens or DBG, I really enjoy the colors and textures of this season. Roy Davidson was another enthusiast for fall--saying it had as much color as springtime and a lot less anxiety.

Why, then, do I love sorting through my pictures of the garden in high spring and summer? Maybe because this time of year, our life is peaceful enough and rich enough to absorb not just the present but the past and future?

If so, then let's celebrate November as the very summit of the gardening year when the garden is still glorious, and we can perch from its summit and survey our whole gardening year. It's a terrific balance for the madness of May when you come to think of it!

West ridge in mid June

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