Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Glimpse of Spring

Ssshhhh.  There it is.  Do you see it?  Be careful, don't spook it!  Yes, I'm referring to that pinkie-sized little burgundy-red bullet poking up from the cold, unforgiving ground.  Poor, brave little thing, the first sign of Spring 2016 has appeared in my garden.

I have almost forgotten the feel of warm wind on my face, the warmth of sunlight on my now dry and chapped skin.  It seems like an eternity since the last lightning graced the sky, since the Earth welcomed hot liquid rain to quench thirst and still dust.  You may have noticed my absence from this blog over the past 6 weeks.  My garden and I are strangers now, dreaming to be reacquainted like lost lovers torn apart by war, a civil war begun anew between North and South; only except this North and South are points of the compass and prevailing weather systems rather than quarreling political divisions.  

It's been a dry winter, the last rains ended before the ground froze. Afterwards only frequent frost and hoar to coat the ground and dormant grass.  We've had one snow, a few days of six-inch deep stillness, melted everywhere now except for the deepest north-faced exposures.  I've been lazy this winter, involved in work and in pursuit of hibernation, neglecting the colorful catalogs, unable to rekindle desire even from the most voluptuous and bountiful images of new roses.  The ennui of winter reigns my soul, sapping interest and energy.

But there, in the cold, Paeonia 'Sorbet' rises, slow and stiff and silent.   Somewhere, within the gardener's chest, a slow beat begins.  Lub...........Dub.............Lub...Dub...LubDub, LUBDUB.   Echos of the life without begin again within, a quickening ember fanned to low flame.  It will be weeks, yet, before the fire burns high, but at least I know now that it lives, that wish and thought and action will soon join again to dig and plant and nurture.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Mistgloved Christmas

The garden greets me from a shroud of mist on this quiet Christmas morning and I couldn't ask for more from the world.  Delicately diffused light covers the garden in a blanket of down, softening the harsh lines of winter, cloaking the blemishes of age.  There is stillness in the garden, mist muting the sounds of highway and neighbors, an oasis of rest and silence.  This blessed morn has given me a gift; a gift of oneness and peace with my garden and the world.

Outside, the cold ground meets the mist and coats the earth and plants with frost.  Grass flowers present as delicate sculptures and sparkle with mirth, turning slowly to and fro in the scant wind.  A frozen lilac hides its promise from the wiles of winter, protected within a damp icy blanket and staid among its fellows.

Today's gift of Christmas is the very definition of "hoarfrost," a maladroit moniker for the beauty it reveals.  Hoarfrost has its origins in Middle English and Old Norse from "hoary," something gray or white with age.  Uttering the name, one hears the low ancient mutters behind the name; old, decrepit, tatty, cold.  The synonym "rime" is no improvement, too near its rhymes of grime and crime to suggest any positive enhancement of the dreary winter world.

For future use, I'm going to suggest the word "mistglove" as an improved name for this natural phenomenon.  As I carry no ancient memories of predatory cave bears or saber-toothed tigers, the term "mist" holds only peaceful and comforting connotations, and "glove" amplifies that warm and protective image, making me just a calm and comforted ProfessorRoush on this Christmas morning.  Yes, "mistglove" it shall be.

And a very Merry Christmas to all, mistgloved or not wherever you may be!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

My Garden's Got Game

Until today, the sometimes dense ProfessorRoush has been under the impression that his garden has gone into hibernation for the cold days ahead.  Because of my "in-while-its-dark," then "home-while-its-dark" work schedule, my garden wanderings have become limited to weekend treks during the few hours of sunshine and tolerable temperatures.  Primarily, I get out into the garden for a few lovely minutes to exercise the portly Bella and make sure the trailer hasn't been stolen.

I was far wrong, however, about my garden being in hibernation.  While the plants may be biding their energy, a check of my game camera shows that there is plenty of game visiting my garden.   At least I can say "my garden's got game" with a straight face now.  In fact, I just realized that the number of larger mammalian bodies moving through the garden is greater now than at any other time of year, even without any attention from humankind.

From October 31st through December 3rd, my game camera has recorded 19 separate periods of invasion by large-furry tailed rats, some occurring over several hours time, with no discernible pattern as to time of the raids.  Early morning, late evening, middle of the night, all random.  On the camera, as shown in some of the photos here, I can distinguish at least 7 individuals, ranging from the beautiful and proud 10-point buck in the first photo, an 8-point buck, a buck with two broken stubs for antlers (left), an unknown number of does numbering at least two (several pictures have pairs), and at least two different fawns.

Interestingly, the ice storm seems to have affected their daily pattern as much as mine.  The only daylight photos of deer that I captured were taken in the days while ice was on the ground.  Perhaps they were desperate for food that wasn't ice-covered, or perhaps they feel safer moving loudly in the daytime than when they are alerting night predators with each ice-cracking step.

My garden's game is even playing games in the darkness.  The photographic evidence suggests that Follow The Leader is pretty popular, and Hide And Seek pick-up games are everywhere.  Look at the photo to the left;  Can you see the fawn standing in the bushes just behind the legs of the doe pictured here?  I'll give you a hint; locate the light-reflecting eye in the bush and then look for the hind legs to the left of it.

The only damage that has occurred to my garden seems to be part of a Purple Smoke Tree toppled by the ice, so I guess I won't get my dander up about damage that I can't find.  The deer can just have what rose rosette disease hasn't already taken and I'll pick up the pieces next spring.  Bella and I can still enjoy the garden, romping around in the sunshine as we did today.  I'll say one thing for sure; for a mildly obese dog, that Beagle-Border Collie mutt can run like a deer!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Ice Time

Rosa rugosa 'Hunter'
Ice, what change thou has wrought on the landscape of Eden!  A night of frozen tears, a dawn of day, and earth seems shackled in a skin of glass.  Breath of North, a frozen gale has bowed brave 'Hunter' down, closing pistil and stamen against the will of the bloom.  It's suitors absent, huddled in their hives, the red flower now becomes a jewel, a ruby amidst thorns.  This glowing center of winter's garden pleases under ice but will fade at the next kiss of a warm breeze.

The view from my southern back window is lightened this morning, the garden itself somehow cleaner and calmed.  In contrast, the front, north-facing windows are opaque with ice, mere light without form in their distance.  Under the weight of solid water, the Sawtooth Oak on the left sighs and spreads, hoping to ease the burden of load.  

I worry for the trees, especially the proud but precarious Redbud to the west.  The favorite of Mrs. ProfessorRoush, a stiff wind could undo it in seconds, cracking it to kindling in a contest of will.  The existing gale already broke the resolve of the garden's photographer, sending him fleeing into the warmth of house, to the fire of hearth. 

There will be no further sticky-fingered tree frogs on my bottle tree, blue cobalt turned death trap for amphibian skin.  Summer is long past, and I pray that whatever moist skinned creatures survived the droughts of August have long burrowed into shelter.

'Carefree Beauty'
'Fru Dagmar Hastrup'
The orange hips of Carefree Beauty are preserved today, cased in glass, but will soon turn brown and shrivel.  So to, the relucent redder rugosa hip of 'Fru Dagmar Hastrup' will dim to dull.  Life in these hips has been stolen by the relentless ice, the seeds yet to spill upon the ground.

The cherub of the peony bed presides over all, calm and quiet, chaste and cool, reminding that this day was anticipated, nay expected, in the course of seasons.  The gardener heeds the stoic stone at last, slowing heartbeat, resting thoughts, reassured that the garden will survive again the orbit of years.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...