Thursday, June 7, 2012

Roses in the Rain After four days of rain and more wind than I want to see again any time soon, the sun comes out unexpectedly this morning. Then, while the sky’s still half filled with sun, it starts to rain. A little while later, the rain clears and now the sun is shining full on. High clouds, but big patches of blue sky. A pefect cool June day, temperature around sixty. We send the hardy gardener (my all-weather self) out there to survey the effects of the weather and make a casualty report. Peonies, on their way out when the wind and rains started, have now spread thick coatings of the dense white petals that make up their flowers on the ground and spatter the brick walk they overhang. Stalks of foxglove flowers, the biggest loss because these are biennials, have gone horizontal from the flattening winds. Foxgloves pick their spots, and half the time I forget where their summer location plans are, but if they’re showing in the spring it’s pretty easy to pick out their leaves and try to clear a spot to make sure the flower stalk develops. This year it’s the white ones with pink centers in their horn-shaped blossoms that are showing. Last year we had deeper colors. This is still the season for spiderwort, a vigorous perennial with crooked leaf spears and round purple blooms. Some of these have been blown flat, but I expect these will pick themselves back up. Not so my flattened foxgloves; those I fear are headed for cutting and vase work indoors. All the rain has made for a lot of green growth everywhere I look, and that means a lot of overgrowth. So now everything needs weeding and cutting back. All these past-flowering violets, to take a conspicuous presence – maybe it’s time for you to go. When the clouds hold off for a few hours, I go back out later in the day to see what repairs I can make. I notice a few strawberries turning red enough to eat. So I pick a small bowl. Many more care oming, but not nearly so many as in past years before the raspberry bushes started eating up their space. But the roses are holding up, shining through the rain, and blooming a red fury when the comes out. With the air finally dry I spray the roses, they’re sparkling in four different places, the June bloomers already peaking. Rain doesn’t stop them from bleeding. I even manage to stake a couple of downed foxglove flower stalks back up, using odd bits of string scavenged from last year’s stakings. Finally I give in to the pleasure of simply sitting among the plants and trimming beds and picking weeds. It’s not warm yet, but it’s delightful to be out of doors, fighting the bees to pay attention to the blossoms. I examine the laurel bush too. It looked weak earlier this spring, with nothing but old leaves showing, but it’s had a great burst of new growth over the last month. Some of the new leaves cover the flower bunches, but I’m gratified by this evidence that the plant is doing well. The day lilies are about to bloom, significantly ahead of the old late June schedule. The spirea buds are out, and showing color. One of the blue Ansonia plants, one of last summer’s class of newcomers, is blooming a pretty light blue color. Things coming, come and gone, and to come: it’s pretty much pleasure in any direction that you look.