Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"Heigh-ho, the wind and the rain": A Garden of Photos from the Other Sort of Day

           In the play "Twelfth Night," Shakespeare gives the play's clown, Feste, a great song known as "The Wind and Rain." The last line of each stanza (except the final) goes "For the rain it raineth every day." Here's the first stanza: 
"When that I was but a tiny little boy,
With heigh-ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day."
 No it doesn't, I think. It only seems that way. I remember, quite clearly, when was it? -- two-three days ago? -- a whole day without a bit of rain. I have the photos to prove it. 
            (Actually, I think Mr. Shakespeare was intending a somewhat more philosophical meaning for "rain" in that last line.)
            In any event, when I'm not bemoaning the weather I'm taking note of the blooming times of various springtime splendors.
            It's poppy time. (Top photo.) They grow in front of the house and they're wide and bright and showy, like creatures from another planet -- or climate, at least. The have wobbly necks, I mean stems, and they're quite vulnerable to being battered down in the wind, as happened today in our late May nor'easter. Poppies grow all over the world, but I'm pretty sure these are not a variety much like those of Afghanistan that supply the world with opium. We get northern European varieties, I believe, such as Icelandic poppies. Apparently they don't mind the winters here. We are getting more of them every year.
            The obscure perennial in the shade garden (second photo down). I've misplaced its name and hope to recover it some day. The plant came back this spring after being trampled on by the folks trimming the trees in this area last spring. I'm impressed by its persistence.
            The columbine (third pic down) are blooming very late. I'm sure I found them in early May some years. They're advertised as part-shade and a woodland plant, and I've had mixed success with planting them in those situations. Some grow for a few years and then give up. But they do have an English-garden sort of delicate charm, a kind of dancing elfish look.
            The big white iris (fourth down). They popped open on a dark day a week ago when nothing else was looking that happy, so I was particularly grateful for them. We don't really have enough sun for most of the irises, so I'm happy when one is doing well.
            The plant below the iris is a larger variety of the campanula -- known as bellflower from the shape of the flowers. There seem to be an unlimited number of varieties, and I have found this defining sentence for campanula on line: "a diverse genus with varying attributes, but most are noted for their flowers, which can be tubular, bell, star, cup or saucer shaped." I put this plant in last year. It's looks happy, and I'm cheered to see it back this year. If I remember correctly, we saw dozens of these on the High Line park in New York City last year.
            I call these little guys (in the sixth photo down) white star-flowers because I don't know what they are. They spread themselves all over. I don't remember planting them, but I've been known to forget a few planting gestures over the years.
            The last photo is the Korean lilac that grows in the back garden along the fence. It's a very reliable bloomer. I've been giving it some lime in the spring. I don't know if it makes a big difference, but it doesn't appear to be doing any harm.
            It doesn't do me any harm either to look at these photos and remember that days do come when the rain that "raineth every day" is not so much on our minds.