Thursday, December 30, 2021

Dine And Dash

Other than one small incident, the short trip to Florida for the family Christmas dine and dash went smoothly and was pleasant enough. On the back roads that I take to avoid the worst parts of I-26 and I-95 through the dying small towns of South Carolina with names like Denmark and Sweden, I drove right through a police check point in the middle of nowhere without stopping.

Driving south on a cloudless day directly into the low winter sun with a layer of haze and plenty of glare, I could not see enough detail to see the police stop and check point until I was in it. My mind and eyes were processing something else. I was going too fast to slam on my brakes and just kept on going. They promptly made chase. I stopped. I was snarled at and given a warning after producing my papers instead of the suggested $500 fine. Thank you very much.

I was left feeling completely unnerved.

I arrived safely at my grandparents' house, my mother's childhood home, Bulbarella's wintering grounds, the scene of a majority of my Christmas festivities since my infancy. Much has changed over the last 64 years.

The rotting front deck was rebuilt in Trex this past summer. Good thing, This Omicron Christmas was going to be spent outside. That is not unusual for a Florida Christmas. This year the weather was particularly nice.

My grandmother's much larger former garden has been reduced to an acre and a half. Rampant vines and thick creeping ferns have had their way in deep thickets of azalea. The river view corner was recently cut back to the nub in an attempt at rescuing the azaleas still there.

But it is over. The magical garden of my childhood is no more. It died with my grandmother. She was the true gardener of this plot of land. It is time to let go. The vines and moss will not be kept at bay in the absence of the gardener.

I have some really nice pictures of this Florida garden from March of this year when it was in full bloom and hinting at its former glory. They are currently trapped in the hairball of my former picture editing and storage system that I have yet to deal with. It is supposed to rain all weekend. Maybe I can get in there and post them.

Put the people here.

Twelve people in this picture have known this house and garden since childhood. This might have been their last Christmas in Orange Park. It is time to let go.

Back in a still warm North Carolina I saw snowdrops popping up and a faint orange glow in the distance made me think the witch hazel 'Jelena' was already in bloom. It was and we have not had winter yet.

I was still having trouble with the fact that I drove right through a police check point in the forsaken back roads of dying small town South Carolina. Coming home from work yesterday afternoon I paid attention to how I was seeing. It was not good.

My cataracts are back. Technically that is not possible. Dr. Google says a different process is at work and it happens to 50% of cataract surgery patients. Easy laser fix. Visually the effect is the same if not worse. I have been living in a fog with blurred lines and sensitivity to the sun again. It is my eyes, not the low winter sun. Oh my God. I just drove right through a police check point.

The first available eye appointment is Feb. 15th. I will be having at least two months of another winter of Monet, should winter decide to ever arrive.

That could be on Monday after three more days of hot spring rain turns to a first snow(?) and a current suggested low of 19 degrees on Monday morning. Oh my God. This kind of weather is not good.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

In The Blue Solstice Light

Make Mary. Do it.

You will feel better.


Saturday, December 18, 2021

On A Rainy Day From Above

At the annual unveiling I always lament the stresses the conifers and evergreens endure during their time in a summer meadow in a less than full sun life. They grow and endure in their skylights. They have grown big enough to become a visible winter garden. I have dwarf conifers growing in natural bonsai conditions on numerous levels. It took a while to get here.

A failure has emerged. It looks like the three 'Koster's' Chamaecyparis obtusa I planted this spring to replace the underperforming 'Emerald Spreader' Yew have dried up and died. Cause unknown. I take that to mean I should have been patient and waited to find the Picea abies 'Pusch' I really wanted. This spring I get the 'Pusch'.

The plan view is the primary view from which to design a garden. It is not so common to experience a garden in plan view, when the primary view is the view from above. That experience changes things. I see the bulk of my garden from above on rainy days 

These pictures start in the highly contrived bottom bowl of Creation and look out over the long sweep of the garden up to the driveway. In the open space of winter, the full plan comes into view. The designer in me keeps drawing on the plan. The garden wants to grow more complex.

The fog rolls into many things in many ways. The plan goes in and out of view.

There is empty space in the top right corner of the plan view like the drawing was never finished. It is the shadiest part of the garden and the hardest to successfully plant. Wish me luck. I plan to fill it in and complete the canvas in a shady, fading into the distance kind of brush stroke.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

No Blooms Today

December is the one month of the year when I have no flowers for Bloom Day. I still have a lovely garden to wander.

Blooms will be along shortly, as in late January weathers depending, with the Witch Hazels and snowdrops. That isn't long to wait. 

In the meantime, a good garden without flowers is something that can be planned for to keep you outside.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Light And Shadow

The mountain across the scenic byway is fourteen years taller. The sun is having a harder time rising over the tree tops. I think the quality of my winter sunbeams are shrinking. The solstice is near.

A swirl of Cephalotaxus. I think I need another swirl.

By 3 in the afternoon the shadow of the mountain has cast the Under Garden into a smoky blue shade. The smoke in the air this winter has been particularly bad. It feels like I am going blind in smoke and low light.

Joe Pye is gone. The Cotoneaster struggles with the competition. All the conifers and evergreens do. I have not provided them with optimum conditions. They suffer.

I took the first picture with the help of some umbrella shade. When the sun finally beams over the mountain top, looking up my driveway is staring directly into the sun. It's low. The solstice is near. There has been no snow.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Joe Pye Is Falling Down

That means when the sun and as warm as it is going to get comes out tomorrow, 
Another layer of the Under Garden, 'Streib's Findling' Cotoneaster is going to come out of hiding.

An executive decision was made.
I need another swirl of Cephalotaxus harringtonia 'Prostrata', just out of frame in the top right corner of this picture. Two wounded ones that followed me home are already planted there. I need more.

There will be an open door in the bottom Doghobble hedge. Then it is going for an aimless wander deeper into the forest and down the scenic byway, I'm going to need a lot of rooted cuttings. The Under Garden wants to grow.
In constantly shifting light I ponder this, this act of gardening that slipped out into the visible realm.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

In Constantly Shifting Light

I ponder.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

The Winter Garden Of Ku'ulei 'Aina

In constantly shifting light. It is coming along nicely. Click on a picture for the slideshow.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Da Bones

Will now play in winter light and weathers.

I will mostly sit back and watch.

And pick up sticks.

I have good garden bones now, if a bit unusual. 

Imagine time.

Ku'ulei 'Aina in constantly shifting light.