Wednesday, May 14, 2008

If I May


I went to school in a day when we still memorized poetry. One of my favorites was always James Russell Lowell's "And what is so rare as a day in June?/Then, if ever, come perfect days;/Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,/And over it softly her warm ear lays." Of course if I were writing that today, Earth, not heaven, would be the capitalized and feminine entity, but those were the old days. Still, the poem catches the rhapsodic feeling of these precious days. I believe that since Lowell was from New England, his "June" was equivalent to our May. Part of the poem references bird songs and nests, and that is certainly going on right now. I have to say that these are the most euphoric few weeks of the year.

Gardeners actually live most of the time in a sort of virtual reality of the imagination, all the while dealing literally with the solid ground. So most of the year I have to carry May in my mind and right now it is like entering into a dream. Most of my flower gardens this time of year are blue, white, and yellow, by preference. The main exception is my multiplicity of primroses in all sorts of colors. I'm especially fond of members of the borage family. These include the Virginia bluebells (pictured), forget-me-not, Brunnera, and comfrey. All of these are blooming in my garden right now and all are blue except for the comfrey, which is a cream color, and except for some white forget-me-nots. Most of them self-seed vigorously, which means forget-me-nots (true to their name) in almost any open soil, and gradually expanding islands of bluebells. These blend happily with the yellow Primula veris (cowslips) that have also self-seeded many places, and the other yellow, blue and white primroses, plus yellow wood poppies, white trillium, and the fresh young green of expanding fern fronds and hostas.

1 comment:

Buttercup said...

I'm usually conflicted about how much botanical detail to include. The borage family, though, (Boraginaceae), has a cute little feature that defines it: the "scorpioid cyme". This is a type of inflorescence (flower stalk structure) that involves a little twist at the end, and the oldest flowers, down the stem, develop first, following along up to the tip of the stem. In early days, these look a little like a chambered nautilus, which makes me think about Fibonacci sequences. Have a fractal day.