Budded Up

   

I was in bed long before midnight New Year’s Eve.  I never worry that the new year will get held up at the checkpoint unless I am watching.  Buck and I had a quiet dinner.  I turned in early; that sleep was deep. Did anyone enlist my help or interview me about the a year coming to a close, and a new year on the horizon?  Why would they? I am just one person making my best effort to garden my way through a life.  Just one gardener in a group of many tens of thousands.  Sure enough, the year, the season turned over without a hitch.  I had coffee at 5:20 am, as usual.  Everything seemed this first day of 2012 as it did the last day of 2011.

It will take two weeks for me to reliably make the change on my check date to 2012.  I may spend some time wringing my hands over my one year older age.  And then there will be the dreaded winter.  But in spite of the cold and the grey, there are signs of life in the garden.

A bud is a protuberance.  It is a growth sent forth from a previous structure.  Many trees, shrubs, and evergreen perennials put forth budded structures in advance of winter.  In early fall, the dogwoods bud up in anticipation of spring.   It is easy to tell the leaf buds from the flower buds.  I water my dogwoods copiously in the fall in anticipation of that budding, but they respond to another voice.  My dogwoods flower heavily every other year.  The spring to come will be a on year-a dogwood extravaganza.  The buds tell me so.

The forsythia start setting their flower buds not long after they bloom.  Late summer or fall pruning means you are pruning off the flowers to come in spring.  Lilacs and rhododendrons need pruning immediately after they bloom.  The summer and fall they devote their energy to next year’s flowers. The budding-a sure sign of the miracle of nature.  These fat buds will swell in the spring, giving rise to large and showy flowering trusses.  The flower heads must be 10 times the size of the bud. 

The magnolias and pachysandra bud up early in the fall.  You can spot their spring intentions in October, should you look.  I did walk my entire garden today-New Year’s Day.  My holiday obligations are done.  I have some time to myself.  Though the temperature was barely above freezing today, I was reassured, warmed by what I saw.  My garden has made plans for the spring.

All of my yews show signs of budding.  Those brown knobs contain the structure and the energy which will open up, and push new growth in the spring. In a good year, 8 inches of growth will begin and grow from each bud.  Each plant buds differently.  The structures, colors and forms are individual.  This means there is a lot to look at, even in the winter.  The winter is a tough time for me.  It seems to last at least a lifetime.  Todays tour tells me different.  Every tree and shrub has bet on spring.  I cannot really explain this, but I take great comfort from from the buds.   

 In embryology, the term budding refers to the process by which the living past gives life to the future. So simple, this sentence.  So beautifully complex and mesmerizing, the process.

 The new year finds sustenance from the compost of the previous year. Every plant has a plan to bud.  To emerge, in the spring.  It may seem that the winter is a long, quiet, and silent season.  But there is plenty going on out there. 

The roses look a little worse for wear, but for those bright red buds.  How they manage to look so juicy and alive in spite of the winter weather is nothing short of astonishing. 

  

A tree of heaven has many undesireable attributes, but that shiny brown leaf bud directly above last year’s leaf scar is quite beautiful.

This mass of forsythia is in a quiet stage of life, but inside a whole lot of yellow is brewing.

Ms. Indie

I had a visit from a very old client, and a great friend yesterday, December 30.  We have known each other a very long time; we have a relationship that has endured.  She is self effacing to a fault, and equally independent in her thinking and her gardening. This is a long way of saying we have been reliable friends for decades.  The moment she walked in the door, I could not take my eyes off her handbag. Did I know she made things such as this? No.  I persuaded her to let Jenny photograph it.  This hand knitted handbag is studded with no end of buttons and beads and holiday bits arranged in what amounts to a very personal celebration of the Christmas season.

My friend SW is very reserved.  Should you challenge that reserve, and should she decide to respond,  you would be graced with a completely unique and utterly independent view of the world.  Her landscape and garden is entirely of her own invention, but for some occasional coaching from me.  I see her infrequently; we have no regular social relationship.  But I am always happy to see her.  Her holiday visit-unexpected, and welcome.  We instantly had a topic of conversation.  I wanted to talk about that bag.  Nothing interests me more than heartfelt and original expression.   

Creative people of the utterly independent sort make my world a vastly better place to be.  People like SW expose me to ideas I would not otherwise be able to access.  As for you, Ms. Indie, your hand knitted and hand decorated holiday handbag is beyond gorgeous.  

I find it hard to believe that people do not flag her down in the grocery store or the library to talk to her about it, but she says not.  That might be attributable to shyness, or the reluctance to address a stranger.  I find any truly individual expression worthy of interest and acknowledgement.  This is one person’s vision and represention of the idea of celebration.  It has a quirky, funny, and visionary quality about it.   

Each button and bead has been collected with an idea in mind. The back of the bag has fewer B and B’s-I forgot to ask if she adds to this bag as she finds things she likes.  The holiday light bulbs sewn into the fringe-this is more than enough fun to make me laugh out loud.  The top of the bag reads just like a thick coating of snow.   

The handles, spirals and side decoration are skillfully fashioned.  Love that pink with the red.

Getting a good look at this bag was a treat.  I will confess I am a fan of handbags.  There are so many made with great style and interesting materials.  A daily bag permits me to haul around what I feel need carry.  This includes my camera, and may include a three inch pot of this, or a cutting from a troubled plant.  My orange bag is old and worn, and I would replace it with exactly the same bag if it were still being made, or if I could find a vintage copy in better shape than mine.  So far, no luck.  I love the color, and greatly appreciate the rubber bottom- the dirt from a garden wipes right off.  A gift of a clutch encrusted with rhinestone flowers I have yet to carry-I just look at it.  Would I carry a bag such as this-absolutely. This is much more than a place to stash a wallet and keys. It is a celebration she carries with her the entire month of December.   

 SW actually had another reason to stop by-she had a New Year’s gift for me.  The yummiest colored warmest hand wool and mohair knit mittens it has ever been my pleasure to own.  Of course I had to test drive them.  Not only are they comfortable and very warm, I could focus and push the shutter on my camera wearing them.

I am always glad that my Christmas gifts routinely include warm winter gear.  New coat, new boots, new hats-and now new mittens.  I hate being cooped up inside all winter-my friends know that.  New winter clothes help me gear up for the longest part of the gardening year.  Am I ready for winter, for the New Year?  Yes I am, in part thanks to you, Ms. Indie. 

 

 

The 2011 Garden: 24 Moments

I took this photograph in January of 2011.  How different my garden looks today.  In fact, my garden looks different most every day.  I tried very hard to pick only one picture to represent the garden each month-that was too much pressure.  Given that I have 23 pictures dead ahead, I will quit typing, but for this.  My garden gives much back to me.  I could not do without it. 

January 2011

February 2011

February 2011

March 2011


March 2011

April 2011

April 2011

 May 2011


May 2011

June 2011

June 2011

July 2011

July 2011

August 2011

August 2011

 September 2011

 September 2011

October 2011

October 2011

November 2011

November 2011

December 2011

December 2011

A Last Look

winter containers with flame willow and bleached leaf stems

lacquered birch twigs and lavender eucalyptus

curly flame willow and aouthern magnolia stems

boxwood pyramid

 stone mason’s Christmas gift to his wife

winter arrangement with mixed eucalyptus

holiday front door

red twig dogwood and Michigan holly

 holiday packages wrapped by Jenny