Updated: Jan 31, 2021
I, like many, welcomed the arrival of the new year with open arms, with the hope that 2021 would be a fresh new start. The flip of the calendar page didn't exactly bring that to fruition. The Garden however never ceases to bring renewal. Under the blanket of fallen leaves, the slumbering garden is filled with trees and perennials whose roots continue to grow and thrive. The winter's nap allowing the plants to build strength for the year ahead. I'm thinking this is a very effective system nature has put in place. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to follow suit in my own preparation for the season ahead. With that, I'm choosing to use the down time that Covid has forced upon my studio to let my roots grow and thrive.
Earlier this year, I had the privilege to assist in teaching a workshop with the amazing artist Jeffery Stockberger.** I demonstrated floral arranging and concepts of design. I provided flowers from my garden for all participants to create their own still life arrangement. During Jeff's still life painting workshop one of his students insisted on seeing where all of the flowers had come from; she was relentless. I acquiesced and took her down the road to see my gardens. It was the end of September. She embraced the disheveled appearance of my season's end cutting garden and delighted in the structure and form of the perennials and trees. One of her favorite English gardens posts regular video tours of their gardens; her suggestion was that I do the same. She may be on to something that would be helpful to me.
While I don't want to create a video tours of the garden at this time, I have always thought it would be interesting to capture the metamorphosis it makes in a year's time. If I assess and document the changes through the year it would achieve two primary things . First and foremost the is the restoration and renewal I need to execute the plans I have for the year ahead. Strolling in January's winter gardens offers a new perspective of the same environment. The absence of leaves and flowers allows the true architecture to reveal itself which has it's own beauty. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder," certainly applies to the waking garden. The excitment and joy the return of a beautiful bloom brings is universal to every gardener I know,
The second benefit of a regular recording of the garden's changes through the year, is the ability to develop a catalog of the flowers and foliage and their availability windows throughout the year. This would be particularly helpful for event and wedding planning. This year's plan includes replacing some of the plants that do not provide value to my floral or botanical design work or to workshops. Many new plants are being introduced this season making it a perfect time to create such a catalog. Me thinks a reasonable or realistic goal would be a weekly check with a biweekly entry.
So what's been transpiring in the garden, the first few weeks of the year? Several varieties of hellobores and pink heath are blooming. The sempervivums, sedums, huchera and autumn fern are showing their winter color. One sweet hydrangea is not willing to completely disrobe for the winter, it's still clings to a few beautiful golden and red leaves; it is a diminutive cultivar called 'Little Honey' and now I see why. Next time, I will take a closer look at the evergreen trees in the garden. Meanwhile, I'm hoping that little four leaf clover found in the grass (pictured below), albeit a little rough around the edges, is a good sign for the year ahead!
**To enjoy Jeffery Stockberger's Artwork, go to JefferyStockberger.com