Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fresh Thymes

Each day in the garden is a vastly different experience, especially at this stage in the growing season. The leaves of my beloved Petasites—Giant Butterbur (we have a more intimate relationship now, so I can drop his species, japonicas)—each day grow more engorged, shading the Christmas fern and the Liberty hosta, the catnip (which reminds me; I need to move it as Butterbur has blocked whatever few rays of sun it had), and the base of the Asian Fairy Bells (Disporum flavens). It shades the rear-garden walkway and fills space. Disporum has passed its bloom time, and, in the front garden, the creeping phlox winds down its glamorous display of lustrous lavender.

New flowers appear: the yellow flower of Argentina anserina, a.k.a. Silver Cinquefoil or Silverweed, has appeared, just in time to complement the last run of Ornithogalum umbellatum, a.k.a. Star of Bethlehem, its yellow stamens set against the stark divine white of its petals. The neighbor’s rhododendron, which cascades over the original (91 year old) wrought iron fence, has bloomed, and the front garden irises—pale yellows and blues—have begun to regale us with their displays of vintage glory. (My “big yellow” iris, its blossoms still encased in delicate white paper sheaths, patiently awaits for the opportune moment to burst. The wait, I, the impatient one, must say, is well worth it. This yellow is truly one that does not contradict for it stops you dead in your tracks.)

And new plants appear…no, not ones I purchased; no, not ones that just emerged from winter hibernation, but ones that precipitate from generous neighbors. Jenn and Jane, who own Wilmington’s splendiferous Fresh Thymes Café (they make their scrumptious goods with farm fresh, organic ingredients; this café is a must for the Wilmington-bound), surprised me the other evening with two most glorious of gifts: the inimitable Lemon Scented geranium (Pelargonium crispum) and the delicious Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans). If the gifts were not enough, Jenn provided me with, er, sage advice: soak the leaves of the lemon scented geranium in rose water and apply to the face as an astringent. It also helps, apparently, mitigate wrinkles. Perhaps I should skip the soaking of the leaves and rub them directly onto my face…

Time after time: their generosity. Jenn and Jane are the quintessential optimists. They remind me of that which is basic and necessary in this world: appreciation. All the rest—friends, great food, great wine, conversation, happiness, whatever…all of it follows from appreciation. Without appreciation, we lose our way in the world by becoming side-tracked with unfulfilled desires. They teach me by their examples and with their quiet fortitude that, no matter the insurmountable obstacles life puts in one's way, one must still appreciate what one has. For from appreciation precipitates a particular kind of inner-calm, and the ability to persevere.

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