Friday, May 06, 2011

Greener Pastures...

There's that saying, "The pastures are always greener on the other side." Usually it refers to trying to be content where you are and with what you have instead of pining after someone else's life and coveting what they have.

In my case, they (who ever said the saying originally) were, quite literally, right. The pastures were greener. And there were even pastures!

Gazing out the window of the five-flight walk-up with only a pretty, but invasive mimosa tree in sight, I could not have imagined my future happiness amongst green things. Life was too busy then. It was too hectic to stop and take notice of more than just the roses. Life is filled with more than just roses.

Last summer, we put in a circle of hellebores. At the time and from a distance, it looked like a gardener's interpretation of a chocolate chip cookie. I was told not to expect much for a few years while the plants had a chance to establish themselves. Luckily they came back after winter and grew in nicely. Some of them even started to bloom already! Above are two varieties of hellebores, an apricot and a jade star.

We didn't plant these, but I find endless happiness in this beautiful color combination. Wild violets growing along side dandelions produce a splash of vivid purple with bright yellow amongst the emerald green of the grassy lawn.

There's a secret little glen on the property that's covered with wild violets. They're different though from the regular variety, because all of the blossoms are snowy white. It looks like there's a carpet of the tiny white flowers.

Tucked along the trees are some of my favorites: trillium. The hills around the property are covered with the white ones. I spotted a purplish red one as well. They're not quite as plentiful as their white three-petaled sisters. I'm even told that there's a yellow variety on the property somewhere. I haven't seen it myself, but I'm told that this is extremely rare since the only available yellow trilliums are man-made and greenhouse grown. I'll have to make a point of tracking the golden trillium down. "In Search of the Golden Trillium". Sounds like an adventure novel, no?

Also located on the property is the dogwood grove. The branches look like they are covered in snow. This was one of my grandma's favorite flowers. When I was a little boy, she told me that the brownish "spots" on the petals were the blood of Christ. It painted a vivid picture in my mind.

I'm thinking of introducing some of the other colors, like the pinks and yellows. I'll have to ask around and see if they are hardy in this region.

One of my projects that I'm hoping to do soon is create bed of columbines. I really love their unusual shapes and vibrant colorings. They are perennial, so they'll come back year after year. When I was down in Asheville and even at Epcot during their annual garden show, I saw different varieties of them. It's strange that I only took notice of them as an adult.

I think that's the thing about having a garden and finding happiness amongst the roots, stems and leaves. There's always something to do and to dream up, of collecting and growing. You're too busy with your own to worry about anything else. Isn't that the lesson of Candide?


Lorelei Eurto said...

i planted a columbine 2 years ago, in full sun, but it never came back the next year. do know why or if they are persnickety?

Andrew Thornton said...

Oh, I think that's your problem. I believe they don't like full sun. Here's an easy how-to guide on growing them that I just dug up online:

DK said...

Trilliums are some of my favorite forest flowers. They grow all over my parents' property in Michigan, mostly white but more than a few red ones, too. And there is a trillium fantasy book series. They're entertaining enough, but none are an especially great read in my opinion.

Unknown said...

A dogwood pretty! My parents had a sun room with many windows and dogwoods planted all round them. A delicate tree they looked so lovely in bloom! The property must be so tranquilly satisfying to be a part of for yall. Ive always wanted to plant hollyhocks..they are delightfully old fashioned! Your pics are wonderful.

Spirited Earth said...

gorgeous photos, thanks for sharing..also visited your sisters new her paintings