Half a year later...

I was looking out at this same rock garden at the crack of dawn and marveling at the wonderful textures and autumnal colors and thinking, could it really be that much better at the height of spring? Then I stumbled on this picture. Yes: a rock garden is prismatic and delightful in the spring. Of course, if I had taken the picture a few weeks before or after this shot, there would have been a kaleidoscopic shift of colors, and in fact there is almost always something blooming out there from February right through to now (Cyclamen intaminatum and Crocus speciosus are blooming on the shady side as I type on November 9, with speckled off season bloom on a half dozen other plants). This is about as colorful as it gets--and notice that only a fraction of the plants are blooming: that's because the blue and gray and green mats and blobs and cushions will be blooming sequentially for months. By midsummer it's garlanded with Origanum and sprinkled with annual poppies and a few alliums--an altogether different affair. This sort of garden has been the focus of my hobby (and my professional) life for over 50 years: the allure and fascination are stronger now than they ever were: each morning I dash out to see what's blooming now, if the Helleborus vesicarius is poking up, if the seed is ripe yet on Allium thunbergii, and is the Euphorbia epithymioides foliage at its most flagrant and fiery...Come to think of it, the sun is up high enough, time for another stroll!

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