Monday, June 23, 2014

The Garden of Solar Desire: Can You Have Too Many Good Days?



             Everything is perfect (though, of course, it won't stay that way). But for now, in the garden as is life, everything is as good as it gets, and basically that's very, very good after nine beautiful days in a row, all of them either mostly clear and dry or completely clear and dry, and some of them, such as yesterday (June 22) completely stunning.
            All that solar energy is growing the little green tomatoes on the tomato plants in that epitome of the annual growing season, the vegetable garden. All the rest of the veggie plans are at least refraining from wilting or otherwise sickening dramatically -- or, as happens here too often for my liking, suffering from low-key failure to thrive. Basil, generally my most reliable good citizen, is lagging, and if that continues I may have to recruit some new prospects from the farm leagues.
            Among the perennials, the late June "yellow period" is starting to take over the back garden. Key performers are the yellow primrose, descendants of the flowers rescued from my mother's garden and shared with me by my sister, Gwen. Other yellows are the yellow stella d'oro daylilies, a flowering chammomile, and a creeping groundcover (that sometimes speeds up into full dash) with buttercup-like flowers.
            The rose period that had been dominating the month up until a few days ago, is still going strong. But roses, particularly the old-fashioned deep red sort of song and story... (and which in my opinion look a lot better on the vine than they do clipped and wrapped in plastic and presented on special occasions)... do fade. Some of ours on the old vines we inherited and resurrected on this property are fading. Others still coming on.
            The bigger point is that it's fun to be around your plants when they're doing good and, if I may be allowed this anthropomorphism, feeling good. You can tell they are feeling good (granted, in a plant-like way) and healthy because they have that shiny look on the foliage and the upward slant of their stems and flower spikes. Plant species are all different, but when they're happy and they know it they seem to do their own form of clapping their hands.
            Bushes are bushier. The red spirea is bursting its buttons once again and overrunning the bick walk. Since we're at the height for many species, it's actually time to cut back many of the plants that have passed theirs, so the next act can come on and strut its stuff: astilbe, spirea, day lilies, purple penstemon, coreopsis, loosesrife, achillea... And you can already see the next team lining up behind them.
            While I'm relying on "feelings" to tell me that nature is feeling good, I recently got got another clue on the nature of universal reality from the family meteorologist, Dave Eichorn. That lingering sensation of being on top of the world has some astronomical validity.
            As Dave explained, we linger on the long side of the earth's revolution in the northern hemisphere's summer. The earth's revolution is not completely uniform, I am told. Concurrently with the time of the year when the earth's axis tips the northern hemisphere directly toward sun -- our mid-summer -- its revolution bulges a little beyond the dimensions of a perfect circle. We're on the bulge now, the period of the earth's revolution that takes us a little bit farther from the sun, and the farther we are from the sun the slower we move (that's Newtonian mechanics)... So we get a few more days of being close to the summer solstice than we have on the opposite side of the year, the winder solstice. Lucky us.
            The fun will last a little longer. The weather will change and perfection will fade, of course. Every creature under the sun  -- every dweller in time -- does its thing, then goes away. Slowly, in the case of some some of us larger creatures.
            But right now we're at the peak.