Thursday, October 29, 2009

Garden Plants

We have two lovely tree ferns in the NE corner of our section. Last summer we had many delightful lunches sitting under their fronds. But then last autumn we had the neighbour’s trees topped to allow more winter sun into our house. An unanticipated consequence of this was the exposure of the tree ferns. A cold winter and spring and a constant succession of chill southerly winds has broken existing fronds and blasted the uncurling new ones. The two plants look sadly disheveled.

Unlike another neighbour’s snowball tree. An old-fashioned type of tree it’s covered at present in showy white balls of flowers, a shrub in full glory. It’s a type of viburnum, sterile in that it produces no berries. Last week on the anniversary of her son Patrick’s death I bought a bunch of flowers for Anne – included in it were snowball flowers.

I went to the public hospital today for my six month neurology check-up. (Nothing new to report. Though Anne said I flirted with the young woman registrar. If I did, and it is likely, then that is probably a good thing). On the way I noticed that downtown the cabbage trees are beginning to flower. Those up our way high in the Wellington hills don’t show any signs at present. Microclimates.

I also noted a wisteria down our lane is coming into flower. My romantic heart has always heaved at the sight of a wisteria arch – it seems to me the acme of garden design – colour, grace and beauty. Some varieties have a delightful scent. Though I do know that it when rampant can be a beastly menace, vigorous suckers every where.

A memory I have is going to Toowoomba in Queensland’s Carling Downs area. The streets were lined with jacaranda – in full flower at that stage – a lovely sight. When I compiled my garden poem anthology I discovered this poem about a jacaranda. It seems to sum up the nature of gardening.

(for June)

The nature of colour is lost in contrasts
claimed by dull suburban gardeners;
a red Flame Tree by Jacaranda blue –
it explains nothing,
though it may be true.
You planned your home around the patio
where Jacaranda flowers fall
on the pool as blue as the sky –
reflections that differ,
like you and I.
I too built my home around those I love
scattered like leaves
on both sides of the sea –
a difference in architecture
not in design.

Tree, sky, pool - earth, air, water;
the eye can see all are blue,
and the heart love
the single relationship
that lies between them.

Our gardens do not grow wild with weeds
or tasteless colours in false dichotomies;
we tend them,
we cultivate them –
you and I.

Eleanor Horrocks

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