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via Introducing…Capability — David Austin Wedding Roses
Isn’t this new rose just beautiful??
The slender green shoots of Ipheion uniflorum have popped out between the flagstones at the back of our old garden, visible now that most of the leaves have fallen from trees and shrubs. Unlike most spring bulbs, the starflower sends up its leaves in the fall, where they add an unexpected spot of soft green to the autumn tones of red, orange, yellow and brown. In early spring, they will be covered in small, star-shaped blossoms of light blue that give off a soft, pretty fragrance when left alone. If the leaves are bruised, they smell like garlic. Scott Ogden has this to say, in his wonderfully useful book Garden Bulbs for the South:
After the new year, any brief spell of sunny weather will coax these leafy clumps into bloom. The flowers are a cheerful pale blue and resemble six-pointed stars. Once they begin to appear, the blossoms continue steadily into March.
These lovely blue flowers present a perennial mystery for gardeners who discover them in the grass. They seem to have created consternation for botanists as well. The usual questions are “What are they?” and “Where did they come from?
I’m not fussed about what they are or where they came from. In my garden, what they are is lovely and welcome. Where they came from is random, as they spread so quickly and readily by offsets, seeds and runners. I’m always happy to see their harbingers, the tender green shoots of their leaves!
Photo: Wendy Kremer, finegardening.com.
Today’s assignment: describe where I write. I like to write in any of the rooms that look out over my garden. That could be the sunroom, on the main level of our house, or the master bedroom upstairs, or a small study off the bedroom. All have walls that are almost entirely windowed, to let in as much light as possible. The master bedroom and study also each have a built-in window seat that runs almost the whole length of that wall, and under them are built-in bookshelves where I keep many of my hundreds of gardening books (some of which I quote in my “Saturday Snippets” on this blog). Our house is built on a slope, so the sunroom actually sits a full story above the garden, which gives a wonderful view over the flowerbeds and shrubs, and creates the impression of being in a treehouse among the other trees. The bedroom and study are yet another story higher. Our lot is not large, but it is deep and the plantings are mature, so the tall trees around the perimeter make it seem larger than it is and conceal surrounding homes from view.
Right now the foliage is changing color and I am looking out at a tapestry of green, red, orange, yellow and brown. It looks much as it did when we brought our first baby home from the hospital in early November, when I spent days with her in my arms, nursing her and looking out at the changing leaves. This is the time of year when we look forward to holidays and start to plan their celebration — a specially joyous activity once we had children. Perhaps because of this, as well as all the planting I normally do in autumn — especially spring bulbs — I associate fall with hopeful new beginnings instead of decline.
Of those rooms, my favorite in which to write is the sunroom, as it is uncluttered and I don’t get distracted by looking around and thinking of the household chores I should be doing instead of writing. It is also close to the rooms where my children do their homework, so we can be companionable in our separate pursuits.
Photo: Pinterest. Not my own windowseat, but very similar!
A wonderful book by veteran gardener and garden writer Ann Lovejoy, whose books on perennials and mixed borders are among my very favorites, Fragrance in Bloom sums up this season very well:
For gardeners, fall is less an ending than the beginning of another great cycle of work and rest and fulfillment. In fall, we plant the bulbs that will illuminate the spring yet unborn. In fall, we dig and divide and recombine our plants into fresh combinations to enjoy next summer. In fall, we commit new plants to the ground, giving trees, shrubs and perennials a chance to make strong root growth before winter. In fall, we can relax and let our plants ripen into maturity before they sleep. Autumn is also glorious in its own right. As the night air cools, leaves catch fire, the tired greens igniting to lava reds, ember oranges, and smoldering copper. As the slanting daylight lengthens, it gilds the garden with a soft haze. Numinous and transcendent, the autumn light turns mess into magic. When we can appreciate that the slumping, seed-spangled demise of summer’s magnificence is truly magnificent in itself, it becomes easier to stop being so concerned about grooming away every browning leaf. Instead, we can relax and simply revel in autumn’s richness.