Friday, June 15, 2007

A Rainy Day


I have been busy renewing a long-neglected garden. Most plants are planted and seeds are sprouting. It has been a long time since I've had a spring that was free to spend in my garden and my potting shed. Yesterday I stopped at a little nursery I love and picked out just a couple more flowers to plant--white ones--nicotiana, penta and nierembergia. But I'll have to wait a couple days until the garden dries out a little. We had quite a bit of rain last night. The storm has left the garden looking like a bad party. On bright sunny days the golden coreopsis stands tall, swaying with the lightest breeze, attracting the rusty colored Fritillary. This morning its stems are laying every which way leaning into nearby feverfew and peony. As I approach to get a closer look a cloud of goldfinches takes to the air. I wonder why they were in the coreopsis. Can there be seeds there already for them? The fairy rose that normally arches gracefully with long branches of light pink blooms has become heavy and sodden—drooping over an area much bigger than its allotted space. I have to find a tall stake to prop up the clematis, “Polish Spirit” that is pulling over a trellis far too small for all its exuberant growth. It is thick with purple starry flowers. My son brought it home for me from a nursery where he held a summer job last year. It was tiny when he gave it to me in a black plastic pot. True to its name it now needs a sturdy support, which my husband promises to build for me in the west border very soon. The lady’s mantle is mud-splattered, a fading lily has lost its last petals and the borders generally look beaten down. But I know the earth has benefited from the deep soaking of the storm followed by a night of steady rain and the next sunny day will bring a burst of growth similar to a rain forest. I’ve seen it many times. I check on the striped green caterpillars of the black swallowtail. There were about ten of them on the rue, parsley and dill. There are fewer now and I wonder if some of them have fed birds that are always looking for morsels in the garden. I have read that a person can have many butterflies or many birds, but not both. At dusk two deer come out of the back woods to visit a salt block and nibble some nearby grass. They are pretty but I hope they don’t make their way up to the garden. As I get ready for bed I hear the distant call of a whippoorwill.

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