Monday, February 20, 2006

Are we gardening yet?

After an extraordinarily mild winter, we had a whopping snow storm last weekend. New York City, about 65 miles to the east, had the most snow ever recorded in a 24 hour period. Here's how it looked at Federal Twist.
Warm weather - again - the following week quickly melted most of the snow. The Lockatong Creek is running overfull, as are the little unnamed tributaries around us. I continue reading gardening books - now Dan Pearson's The Garden: A Year at Hope Farm - and ordering plants. As usual, I've reached the surfeit point and am feeling I'll never have time to build the stone walls I want to build, expand the front planting area, cut down the worst of the ragged cedars blocking the view of the sky, build the pond, and plant 30 Panicum virgatum 'Rotstrahlbusch', 25 Molinia caerulea 'Strahlenquelle', 15 Darmera peltata, and all the many, many other plants that will arrive, probably bare root, when I have only one rainy day left for gardening before leaving to get back to the City for work on Monday. Why do I do this?

As spring arrives, I'll remember, as in the past, all this will not get done in one year. And the better for it.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Christopher Lloyd

My March copy of Gardens Illustrated arrived today. The cover features Christopher Lloyd as a new columnist, and inside is a continuation of an interview with him. Ironic timing and unfortunate since he died a few days ago. I remember when Phil and I visited Great Dixter in 1985. We passed him standing in the rose garden, talking to a young man. I was too shy to acknowledge him, much less try to start a conversation, but I'd been a reader of his books for a few years, and liked his prickly, opinionated style. He wrote about many plants I had no knowledge of, and that challenged me.

He changed the Great Dixter garden in many ways since I visited. Pulled up the rose garden and planted a tropical garden, I understand. And continued to make waves in the world of horticulture. In his first, and last, column in Gardens Illustrated, he writes of his interest in learning about the native flora in the places he visited - for example, learning that opuntias grow on the southern shores of Lake Michigan. "Nothing extraordinary about that you'll say, and possibly also add that many opuntias are extremely hardy," he writes. "But I wasn't born with that knowledge. The whole of life is a process of learning, which will only end with my death."

Great Dixter will continue through the efforts of The Great Dixter Charitable Trust.

Friends of Great Dixter
Great Dixter House and Gardens


Related Posts with Thumbnails