One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."



Spring continues in waves, I’m happy to report.

I finally remembered to have a stroll over to check out the magnolia tree outside the courthouse yesterday.   They’ve been out nearly a week, so the blossoms are a little floppy and carefree looking, the earliest ones beginning to brown a little.   But this cluster all looked pretty fresh and I just love them against a blue sky like that, don’t you?



The tulips in the garden have really come into their own this week and I’m quite happy with the color combi nations and also the vary ing heights of them all (although, those mustn’t have been indicated very clearly on the packaging they came in, or I might have been a little more careful about who went where).

I might still do a little shuffling of them after the blooming’s done, at that, to bring some of the shorter fellows around to the front of the stage for their moment in the spotlight.

On the other hand, the shorter ones  do weigh in well below the level of the bottom rail of the fence, and since so many other plants need more headroom, that does make the internal locations prime real estate for them.  Hmmm.   So much to think about.

I just love the way tulip blossoms change their colors as they mature.  This orange blossom has developed a fantastic pinky-red stripe to it that’s turned it all peachy, kind of like the dining room in the Nest upstairs.



These pink tulips with the green flame running up their sides are a little different.

Certainly there’s no lack of green in any garden, but since its my favoritest of the colors, I am always a little excited when it gets incorporated into the actual blossom.  Wouldn’t it be a fantastic design on an Easter egg?

I made a safari around the far side of the house yesterday, to look at some of the other garden beds over there.   The most amusing sight was found above:


“Soft, what light through yonder window breaks.  Tis the East and Juliet is the Cat…er, the um…uh, that is…LINE!”

In addition to cheap humor, I also found a lovely little cluster of bluebells or wood hyacinths by the foundation of the house.  I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between those two, as a variety of purveyors seem to call them a variety of things.  I suppose this is when knowing the Latin is handiest.  But anyway, they are both flowers I’ve always been VERY fond of, but haven’t had in any garden to enjoy for about ten years.

They are more from my favorite category of bulbs, the so-called “minor” ones.   Minor?!   I ask you to scroll back up and look at the group tulip shots.  And then picture them next year, after I’ve (hopefully) underplanted them with an assortment of these little blue bells and some grape hyacinths and maybe some pale blue scilla.


Sure I like all of them just fine on their own, segregated in their own little corners of the garden like cliques at a school dance, but aren’t they so much more lovely when they’re all out on the dancefloor together?    That said, I have long dreamt of a woodland garden underplanted with a drifts of daffodils, with a winding river of grape hyacinths running through the midst of it.



Coming back around to the front garden, I’ve found another reason to be delighted with the purple tulips there.   For the second year running, I’ve been happily surprised with an inexpensive, vaguely-labelled package of tulips.

In addition to the primary flower stalk (seen above), which stands about eight inches tall, there are several smaller plants now appearing at their feet, at about half the height.  I love this because – not only am I getting more bloom for my buck –  tulips often seem a little awkward when they’re standing on their own.  That’s the big reason I like them underplanted with other similarly-timed shorter bulbs.

Oh, if you look above the lesser blossom stalks in the picture to the right, you can see the rising foliage of the columbine plant I brought with me last fall.  I think this was actually a seedling I’ve not seen bloom before, although there’s easily a chance I’m mistaken.   Anyway, I’m not making predictions on what color that will be.   The surprise always sweetens the deal, I think.

And on the subject of sweet deals, I spied my first local violets (we saw some violet cousins from NYC recently over at Loose Ends) just a few yards away from home on one of my morning walks this week.  Now the festivities can truly begin.  They are such lovely little things.   I’ve since stumbled across more of them in a variety of locales since then and they are always a truly happy surprise to bring on the May.


Also on the subject of sweet surprises (not to mention the theme of cheesy transitions), I was a little caught off guard to look at the calender and realize that I started the Midnight Garden four years ago today.   It’s been quite the interesting four years, that’s for sure and I value the blog simply for its being a record of four years in the natural world…the weather, the wildlife, the flowers.  Of course, alongside those it has chronicled many other things, too.

I’m grateful for the web of friends and acquaintances and readers which has grown for me through the blog.   As each of us makes our way through Life, we’re regularly faced with those “eternal verities”, as they say, all the pondering who we are, why are we here, what’s important to us,  how do our lives have value in the greater world, 42, etc.  It’s often helpful to have the perspective of others to help one see things more clearly.  So, thanks.

And when all that Thinking and Pondering and Worrying and Wondering gets to be too much, goshdarnit, it’s nice to have some pretty flowers on hand.


I’ll leave you with the quote I started with, four years ago, which comes from Thomas Jefferson.   For me, it’s four years truer.

No occupation is so delightful to me as the cultivation of the earth…

and no culture comparable to that of the garden…

though I am an old man, I am but a young gardener.”


Comments on: "Four" (7)

  1. Indeed, you’ve started Friday, April 29, 2005 with “Chipmunk’s Eye View” and then Saturday the quote, wow 4 years, so happy anniversary [and btw. you are not that old :-)] and thanks. The tulips are great.

  2. Jiminy crickets, Greg, those are some beautiful flowers. Those pink tulips with the green are magical. And just… well… all of it. Wonderful color! (And one cute cat.)

  3. Happy Beltaine :)

    Thank you, Indigo! And good Beltaine back to you, too! Here we are celebrating with showers and peeper frogs!

  4. Tulips are sublime. If simplicity is an indispensable feature of elegance, tulips reign. I love the art shades as much as the starkly stylish solids. Your spring garden is coming into its own, Greg. Isn’t this your first spring at the nest? You must be on cloud six or seven by now.

    Cloud Six sounds about right! ; )

  5. Happy anniversary, Dear Gardener. It’s in large part because of your efforts that I’ve learned to appreciate tulips and daffodils more fully. I used to overlook them as boring. They’ll never displace violets in my heart, of course, but I’m coming to appreciate their many charms.

    Thanks, Pal, that’s nice to hear! I’ve only just come ’round to the tulips recently, myself, to be honest. And no, they never will compare to violets. :)

  6. Glad you’re still posting after four years.
    Your tulips are lovely.

  7. Love that composition of the magnolias close-up with the deep blue cloudless sky behind. All the colors of the tulips have given me an idea for an area that is getting overgrown with yuccas. And it should provide good coverage of the concrete side of the steps.

    Glad to hear I’m giving you some ideas, Steven!

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