Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's Electric

A drenching rain fell upon Wilmington last night, which is good since several days ago I emptied the full rain barrel into several old cat litter buckets to save for, well, a not-so-rainy day. (The rain barrel is, by the way, perhaps the wisest addition to my garden--that and the Mr. Froggie rain gauge!--and I think I shall look into getting another one for the rear of the house.) Neighbors to the south, in Newark, received hail—hours after my friend Claire planted her vegetable garden.

One afternoon in mid-August 2008, two months after I planted the east shade bed with the bounty bestowed upon me by Phyllis (see earlier entry), a ferocious thunderstorm wreaked havoc on Wilmington. Several inches of marble size hail fell. High winds uprooted a massive old tree in Brandywine Park. Our street turned into a massive, raging ice flow, garbage and recycling bins carried away for several blocks. Needless to say, very few plants and trees retained their leaves after such a devastating storm, and the garden never did recover that season. The optimist might say that the storm excused me from having to do my late autumn garden chores and readying the bed for its winter respite.

A different kind of electric storm brews in my sun garden. The Siberian irises—the very clump I “adopted” from 35 Lovett (um, notice how my language has changed in these entries from openly admitted theft to rescue and now to adoption?)—bloomed this year. Combined with the fluorescent fuchsia Rhododendron, the Technicolor display is something out of a Todd Haynes homage to 1950s filmography! And the “big yellow” bearded iris came into full bloom three days ago, just as the pale yellow bearded irises are nearing the end of their bloom time.

And our thunderstorm brought with it a bolt of divine lightning, as the first of at least 14 white Siberian irises bloomed overnight, its bit of yellow nicely echoed by the yellow tubular flowers of the Corydalis, reminding us that the divine is human and the human is divine.

A rivulet of chartreuse Lysimachia (Creeping Jenny) winds its way around Sedum ellacombianun and the Blue Columbine, leading us to the shores of the Creeping Juniper (which, because of my real estate shortage and its expansive needs, I’ve promised to my neighbor), and beyond to the geranium. The effect is exhilarating; when I crouch down at eye level and can’t see beyond the Columbine, I feel a peculiar kind of excitement and anticipation of the unknown—the sort that only travel to a foreign place can elicit—wondering where the rivulet will take me…I picture for a moment a raging Colorado creek, chartreuse water rafters fueled by surges of adrenaline, coming perilously close to hitting those brown leaf boulders in the creek, assiduously trying to avoid being propelled by the force of the Lysimachia into the spears of the juniper.

Standing up, I am brought back to reality, perhaps because of the click of the knee or the twang in my lower back, or perhaps because my eye spies a little weed, or perhaps the sounds of the birds and the breeze on my face, or perhaps because of the sight of peeling paint on the porch deck, or perhaps the realization and the assuredness that this garden is my creation.

The effect is electric.


  1. Soon you will accuse the Siberian Iris of squatting in your garden.

  2. I love the Lysimachia river.