Okay! So I lied. They are not golden apples at all, but Fuyu persimmons in my brother's front yard. We picked dozens and dozens and ate dozens and dozens and there are probably still hundreds if not thousands on the damn tree! California in winter is pretty nifty indeed. There were flowers everywhere and fruit and fall color galore (the Liquidambar not liquid amber at all but refulgent Rembrandtian purple) and of course glistening evergreens galore not scorched by snow and cold and brash winter sun on frozen ground. We ate mandarins and oranges and even the last of last year's grapefruit. And apple preserve from the apple tree, and lots and lots of Avocados too (Haas and some seedling types George kept apologizing for, but they sure tasted good to me)...The Golden state lived up to billing. We even found silver apples of the moon:
I lied! It's not a silver apple at all, but close! It's Pyrus pashia from the Himal Pradesh in India. One of innumerable treasures we encountered at Quarryhill Botanical Garden where we spent three magical days. Bill McNamara is this year's recipient of the Scott Medal: he brings additional lustre to this medal. Bill is a visionary designer, plant explorer and a very thoughtful and philosophical individual. We really enjoyed deepening our long friendship with him at this extraordinary place.
One of hundreds of vignettes from the trip: wouldn't it be fun to leave out your donkey tails and Succulent Senecios all winter? They do at the Elizabeth Gamble garden, which I only first visited a few weeks ago, although I've been driving by it every few years at least for the last half century...
Paperwhites at the Gamble Garden: the fragrance outdoors is not really cloying at all, and refreshing this time of year.
There must be somewhere in Colorado where I can grow Iris unguicularis. I saw it quite high in the Peloponese in Greece. I'm sure the leaves for us will brown and crisp at least at the ends, and the flowers will come in February or March, and even then freeze crisp most years. But some day I must tame this gorgeous winter iris, here blooming at Quarryhill (despite its non-Chinese origin: they have a few exotics in one or two out of the way spots)...
California, I love you!
The Song Of Wandering Aengus
I WENT out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands.
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
By W.B. Yeats