So, looking ahead briefly. At last, I will be spending this autumn at Heronswood. The original Heronswood, that is. I’ve been there before and anticipate my return. But more of that later.
First, the present. But for a few updates, I have not contributed to this website for nearly 3 months. Shameful. Conventional wisdom says that I should have, in some manner, a presence on the web. I know this certainly to be true. As of 7/21/07, I am told that 67,732 gardeners have subscribed to this site. I am overwhelmed, appreciative of the support and encouragement, and very contrite that I have paid such little attention to the process. Yet still I believe in gardening when I have the time and even stronger, believe in writing when I have something of merit to say. Too often as of late, some horticultural blahgs I attempt to read are nothing but meaningless and embarrassingly concocted twaddle. I am acutely sensitive to contributing to an inchoate heap of words better composted.
But first the present. Last night I awoke to rain on our roof. It is not a terribly uncommon thing for me to awaken in Indianola and think that I am hearing rain, as it is a sound that I love to hear. We have a small tumble of water outside our bedroom and often this transmutes to rainfall while in the fantasies of sleep. I arose, last night, and walked to the hallway leading from our bedroom where the skylight above the corridor confirmed that indeed fat shattering pellets were plummeting to the earth and, no less, in a tantalizing and uncharacteristic manner for late July in the Pacific Northwest. I returned to bed and listened, a sloppy kiss on my head from a stupefied Springer, her head on my pillow as I fell again from the cliff to the clouds of sleep.
I awoke remembering my hallucinations of rain and was grateful to see spiraling spirits of fog above the Sound and smell the delicious aroma of warm, wet concrete and sodden foliage blending with the coffee that brewed in the kitchen. There are numerous Yucca’s in blossom and soft yellow Opuntias, but their pallid tones disappear into the fog. It is the tangerine blossoms of Cestrum ‘Orange Peel,’ Dyckia ‘Cherry Coke’ and Gladilous garnieri that do the work this morning in making the garden present.
Looking behind, the past two months have been a dizzying concoction of experiences, so rich that I cannot believe that I have, in truth, not simply been consumed by delusions of grandeur. A lot of it has to do with eating which is quite evident when I see my profile in the mirror. White Asparagas in Germany, Pea Soup on a rainy day in Cornwall, Feta Beet Ravioli in Watertown. Much has to do with plants; how could it not? Ranunculus fluvatilis in the streams of Europe, hikes in the late spring high desert of E. Washington, perusing the plant collections of Kew, Mt. Auburn and the Chicago Botanical Garden (all resulting in a titillating trove of ‘recently acquired’ to trial in our garden). And lastly, most of these experiences have entirely to do with friends and blessed reunions, sometimes with associated honors that would be unseemly of me to mention.
I am home now, and for three luscious weeks, I am granted the opportunity to watch the garden unfold, the diaphanous plumes of grasses, the pendulosities of Dierama, the violets and blues of Agapanthus that are just beginning to reveal. We will host 200 fellow gardeners and friends for a tour and dinner in our garden to benefit the Northwest Perennial Alliance and make pies for the Indianola Days Salmon Bake. Friends will arrive from around the globe to enjoy life with us. Mariners baseball. Summer at its best.
Too soon, it will be the road again and the wacky concussion of food and friends and gardens will continue; Belgium, the Hamptons, Atlanta, Asheville. Taiwan and Vietnam. In between, I will speak at Benalla in Australia, during which time I will return to Heronswood, the original Heronswood that is, on the Mornington Peninsula, a nursery and garden founded in 1871. Along the way, I will write to all of you again, but only when I have something of merit to say.