Wednesday, November 17, 2010
11.17 Spare Beauty
The garden has a spare, glinty beauty today. It rained last night, and the sun flared out suddenly this morning. Some more leaves have come down. I was sorry to lose them from the trees, but they glistened on the ground, the orange maple leaves from a volunteer tree sheltering under the oak lending a color patch next to a fence and the burnished cherry tree leaves circling around the garden’s focal center.
Big dark-blue berries on an evergreen planted in front of the evergreen fence. The caramel leaves of the chocolate flower decaying into tissue paper, soft material against the still solid foliage of the grasses, the evergreens and a butterfly bush which for some reason maintains its green as if it were July. The deep red foliage of the Japanese maple bush full at its own feet like flowers tossed before royalty.
Flattened yellow spears of the day lilies mingle with brown tree leaves. The spirea holds its foliage. The leaves of the plumbago have a deep rusty-iron red. The low, light-green thyme groundcover mats are still bright – like grass, like the parsley in the vegetable plot, they like this time of year – but are striped now with brown leaves.
I cut down some stalks last weekend – perennials, cone flowers, balloon flowers, everything that had given up the ghost and was wearing out its gaunt, harvest season welcome. Removing that layer of fading foliage and stems spared down and sharpened the look of the back garden landscape.
The space has a composition as a whole because, like a wild place, there’s enough variety. The colors and textures and different shapes and sizes weave together in a natural way. The garden is a miniature park. I wander along the maze of the curving paths, getting lost – mentally, that is – for a few moments here and there. That’s what you want. That’s the point.