Saturday, May 15, 2010

Life Returning to Normal in the Gardens of Shadows End

The back garden at Shadows End is normally packed with as many plants as I can squeeze in. The long freeze of this last winter put quite a dent in it however. Even though more and more it is coming back to life as the summer approaches, I still miss the great swaths of grape ivy that hung upon the fence. All the periwinkles that line the fence along the alley are gone and not yet replaced. Many old friends are gone.

The one that has me the most worried is the bleeding heart. She was from the old homestead plantings and I fancy her to be the spirit of the woman who along with her husband built the cottage I know call Shadows End in the 1920s. That bleeding heart has survived and prospered from the day I first began to bring the garden back to life. It has managed to force a coexistence with 2 confederate jasmines on the large arbor entryway to a side yard. It has always been so vital and strong – anything that can beat back confederate jasmine has to be vigorous and determined. No freeze ever touched her much until this year. So far, I have seen no sign of revival. I water and I pray.

But not all is bad news. The freeze killed so many plants that the soil in some areas is exposed to sun for the first time in years. Amazing visitors from the past have sprung up in surprise. The little patch of flowers right where I enter my car now has several successful wild primroses fluttering among the strangely unsuccessful thyme patch. The Swedish Ivy was on a big comeback until the hens discovered it. I really do have to do something with those girl’s feet. Native Florida violets are again peeking up in strange little places all over the yard. God I hope they spread again, I just love the shape of violet leaves and mine used to bloom very large and bold for violets. Again, the violets are a big hit with the hens - sigh. Even an old potted rose I had thrown out has burst back into renewed vigor and is back in a place of honor by the red gate..

So all in all, I guess we are slowly shaking off the disasters of those 11 days of freezing. I worried so much when it was over. My garden looked horrible. I had just lost a long battle to keep the school I ran alive and it was a most depressing time. Mood and money were missing for a big start over and I just reconciled myself to a smaller plainer garden. But William Alexander Percy (uncle of Will Percy) once wrote of his preference for old fashioned gardens that thrived versus the hybridized over colored spectaculars of modern breeding. As he put it “After all, life is a primary color”.

The realities of deeper shade every year from 4 major trees all within spitting distance of each other and the depredations of my killer hens notwithstanding, it seems Shadows End will continue to have her gardens. She is bringing them back on her own, without my money and despite my mourning. I really only have to sit and watch in awe. Well, and do something about those two wrecking machines Millie and Abby.

1 comment:

  1. Aww that's so nice to hear. Poor Millie and Abby, you still love them ^_~


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