Terra Firma Flora Changes

My meadow got a cutting. I knew it was coming and sure it would break my heart, the loss of 3 foot high waving green gold lushness. Instead it is become a thrill of blanched silver honey that in moonlight and dawn is sand on beachfront. The dark green black bushes and trees at the river border, the orange curved bridge, shock it into compelling invites to explore, to walk across, to paint.

I have the good fortune of a very old, huge Bird of Paradise in residence at the meadow fence, my side, companion to a cherry tree, and a large pink blossomed mystery fruit tree. Two full birds have burst into bloom, I’d forgotten the brilliant electric blue spear at their center, tall enough to catch first light. Five, six, who knows, more fulsome stems ready to open. The fruit trees are in exuberant rising to blue sky following years of brutal pruning.

Right on the meadow side of the white board fence another massive plant, a rambling rose covered in small pink flowers. Easily fifteen feet up and sideways. I’ve pulled out all of their underbrush, dead branches and choking vines. The beautiful stems and bowers and bark are clear to see again. The morning population of birds gather, their tiny toes holding between the thorns until I replenish the feeder in the far garden, watching me, then zoom and dive and eat when I have stepped back apace to watch. I fastened a piece of dead blanched tree branch to the gate post and drew the rose branches that would reach to it. I’m making an arbor over the gate, it should reach in another few weeks.

Some orchids close to the bungalow are still in bloom others in rest. Spider plants with long arms flowering. The geraniums, reds, pale pinks, peppermint leafed, huge hot pinks, whites, are flourishing. Purple perfumed petunias and lobelia in hanging baskets. Apricot begonias. Blue daisies, a new blue hydrangea, apricot twist wallflowers, some exquisite tall vines with clusters of blue with yellow innards, rampaging nasturtium, ferns, orange daisies, primrose of every hue, gold and purple pansies. I uncovered a struggling wisteria that is climbing back up the trellis above the rock wall. The far borders are guarded by twelve foot stalks, great huge clusters of Pride of Madeira in brilliant blue, purple, and white. I can hardly stand it if it’s true but I think I’ve lost my hibiscus after a three year love affair, it was in continuous bloom. I’m hoping it will come back to life but it’s last bloom was over a week ago and the pretty lacy leaves are dry.

Great clusters of those very tall iris like plants that produce short-lived orchid looking white/purple flowers bisect the garden with some ancient, thick trunked lavenders, evergreen hedges, rosemary hedges, Breath of Heaven starting to make teeny pink flowers, ornamental grass, sea lavender, wild ginger. I don’t know what half the things growing around me are but intend to find out. There’s a forty foot pine about fifteen feet behind me, down the meadow, that drops impressive pine cones and lots of orange needles.

Past time to set up the easel. Thank God I’m not in Brooklyn.

6 thoughts on “Terra Firma Flora Changes

  1. Sounds heavenly, wonderful colors; I immediately pictured the backdrop for the ‘greeters’ as lots of wood, dark with age, & that kind of Big Sur tempestuous rich dark green undergrowth. Purples are gorgeous against russet colors.
    And you’ve made me long for a bloody Mary.
    Sounds like quite a busy day and only on half cylinders, you are something.
    This too shall pass, the annoyance and hurt. You’re a natural healer, spend some on Kate.


  2. What lovely words pictures you paint! I can see the rambunctious colors which are your trademark, and smell the swirling fragrances of your garden! I, too, am a fan of hibiscus, but up here, eith the cold, I grow it as an annual. I have one in a pot on my front deck, a lovely honeyed apricot, paired with a scarlet bugler, orange marigolds, and a small low purple flower, whose titles escapes me! See? Your rambunctious colors are contagious!


    • Thank you Kate! The description of your clearing land was a breath of fresh air.
      You’re very kind, sometimes the whole shebang sets me drooling or fainting or both. I still have Brooklyn references in the brain, I mean, I NEVER discussed hibiscus with a living soul before in my life. Imagine. If they could see me now…
      And your description of the multicolored flowers and hibiscus will send me off to Griggs. I’m only thirty seconds from their botanical garden delight. I am MUCH relieved to hear that one can even think to treat a hibiscus as annual, I thought, well, that’s my hibiscus and now it’s gone and I can never have another one. Now I will. So much to learn. And speaking of apricot I was drawn to and got something called Apricot Twist Wallflower. It’s spectacular. I got a second and want to fill the garden. They do okay with not full sun, spindly much flowering stems that go up and out and sideways, totally charming and now next to a blue/violet hydrangea and I swear they’ve fallen in love. They both like a lot of water.
      Great to read toothsome posts from you again, it’s a sign.


      • Yes, let’s hope this is a good sign. I painted my main room, partially, for about 4 hours, then teeth started acting up. Took my antibiotic, then my smoothie yogurt probiotic, met with my guys, sent them home early with a full days pay, went to my bed, laid down with my iPad, took 1/2 a pain pill, played with my new kittens, then back to sit on the bed, and just made my dinner – a bloody Mary. Can’t eat much, although I got some soft mushy frozen dinners I might be able to manage.

        I ADORE hibiscus, even though the flowers only last a day. I’m thinking I need a red and a yellow one in pots at the beginning of the ramp up to my front deck. My greeters, so-to-speak. Then I’ll plant the allylums (that purple flower I couldn’t remember) – purple for the yellow, and white for the red. I love Grigg’s nursery. Haven’t been there in years!


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