jeudi 13 mai 2010

Lessons in resilience

Chive flowers open

This was going to be a post about pretty flowers. Just pretty flowers. No drama. Of any kind. Marital, building or natural.

100% pure prettiness.

I wasn't even counting on taking any pictures today. Just post everything upon which my eyes have feasted that hasn't received due attention, but the rhododendron by the gazebo caught my eye; it was blooming. I had seen that the first buds had started to open under an enormous and enormously prolific (this year) 'Pierre de Ronsard' rose against the south-facing wall. So, instead of continue directly down the center stair direct to the wood pile, I took a jag to the left and went to see.

There are no pictures of this. I respect your right to imagine beauty, and I haven't touched this part of the garden in months. It shows.

Making my way past clematis, in which I nearly got my feet all caught up, and a 'Ghislaine de Féligonde' climber that have gone crazy this year (What's this about? Established at last after one full season in place since I planted them May 5 two years ago? Favorable weather? A little of both?), I took the secret stairs down to the lower garden, picked my way through the fresh piles of dog pooh in the weed-ridden and strangled grass, peeked in a skimmer and noted a bloated, small mole that will need to be removed and then went to take in the devastation the presence of direct sunshine and the absence of an automatic sprinkler system wreaked on the hydrangeas. I had already gone to see them a few weeks back.

It was bad. I didn't even know why I was going to look at them, except to remind myself of what neglect will do.

And then... in the very worst of cases, even the ones in the nursery pots my husband had nagged me to plant, and which I had spurned, there were leaves! Down at the base of the plants, brave new leaves had appeared. Life had done it again, gone and given proof of its resilience, its desire to continue.

Instead of pretty, we get to think about Beauty, the Beauty of Nature and Life. I get a second chance.

I went and got my camera.

"Divine!!" I said to my husband, seated at the end of the table in front of his laptop, trying to stay alert after a night on duty, Guess!! He looked up.

"Les hydrangeas qui sont mortes? En bas du jardin, près de la piscine? Elles ne sont pas toutes mortes!"

He raised his eyes from the keyboard to look at me over the tops of his magnifying glasses, the ones he uses to read and see the screen, the ones that when he doesn't use them let him think that I am pretty.

"Il y a des feuilles qui poussent des bases des plantes. Je vais pouvoir en récupérer pas mal, mais pas toutes." I stopped my announcement to draw breath before continuing, reluctantly, "Il y en a qui sont allées trop loin," I admitted, making it sound for all the world like I wasn't really at fault.

I went on to explain that I might remove those that hadn't been done in once and for all and plant them in safer, more protected areas, since the sun has proven itself too much down there. I tried very hard to sound very wise and recalcitrant, like this could happen to anyone. Any gardener, when it absolutely could not, would not.

"Ils allaient très bien dans la cour," he remarked.

It was true. The hydrangeas had done surprisingly well in the entry "courette", despite the abysmal soil for these acid soil-loving plants. I could try put one or more back up near there, enriching their soil, and distribute the others in the shadier areas of the garden, along the sides.

I have my work cut out for me. I have to get out of the house and away from my computer and get to work on the areas of the garden that I shove from my mind, which I can do because I don't have to look at them from where I sit, or bust up a slab, or install oak flooring, or sit, catatonic, and contemplate how small I -- and our means -- am before everything I have to do.
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