Friday, March 9, 2018


My garden has been unusually beautiful this spring and so it merits many leisurely strolls. A month of warm and sunny weather has brought out many of the plants all at once from winter dormancy. Some plants have already faded. That would be the Bradford pears (the bane of my gardener friends' existence; they claim these, kudzu, and privet are the worst weeds of the South; I do have a pear tree but is is a Cleveland pear), the Japanese magnolias, and many of the camellias. The glory of the landscape now is the eastern redbud tree, a small native tree that thrives in abundance in the woodlands across the South. It is pleasant, in early spring, to ride down a backwoods country road on a bright sunny day and marvel at the beauty of the delicate purple clouds scattered everywhere among the pines and oaks. I call it my Lenten tree. It is first covered with tiny flowers from dark pink to purple which gradually give way to big heart-shaped green leaves. Great beauty often comes in the simplest things, and the  incomparable redbud tree is one of them.

In view of all the ongoing unpleasantness of the schism, I like to end the week on an uplifting note and I can think of no better way to do this than to rejoice in the beauty of God's wondrous creation all around us. So, walking through my garden this week, this is what we see:

Pearl Bush (Exochorda x macrantha 'The Bride') and Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei). Pearl Bush grows to 5' and is covered in white flowers in early spring. Windmill palm weathers cold better than the ubiquitous sabal palmetto. It is the best tree form palm for frostier areas of the South.

White Flowering Chocolate Vine (Akebia quinata "alba'). One of the best vines for the South, its early spring blooms are sweetly aromatic. Flanking shrubs are boxwoods. This is an entrance to the smaller side of the garden. The tall evergreens are Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria).

Eastern Redbud Tree (Cercis canadensis). No words needed.

Dwarf Peach Tree 'Bonanza" (Prunus persica 'Bonanza'). A conversation piece at 5'.

Star Magnolia 'Stellata Jane' (Magnolia liliflora reflorescens x Stellata 'Jane'). A small tree kin to "Japanese Magnolia" but blooms two weeks later.

From the central lawn, looking south over the larger part of the garden. Flowering quince on lower right. In the middle is an oval of Dwarf Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria 'Nana') around a dwarf sabal palmetto 'Birmingham.' On left is a groundcover of Andorra juniper. Upright evergreens on right are Spartan juniper. On bottom, knock out roses leafing out. There are walk paths and seating areas throughout this section. It is also home to countless birds, most notably my favorites, the mockingbirds. Their music is nature's symphony. It will be another month before another favorite, the hummingbirds, return from their winter quarters far south of here.

In the smaller garden side looking southward toward the central lawn. Loropetalum on lower left. The arch trellis has newly planted Carolina jasmine. It is flanked by boxwoods.

My garden is my therapy and my refuge. The constant changing of the seasons, life cycles of all living things, and the incredible beauty of nature are my never-failing connection to the great order of God's universe. Whatever is happening in my life and in the world, I know that all is transient, that all is part of a grand and orderly scheme of all existence infinitely greater than myself. I hope this garden reminds you of that too.

(Note. With the cursor over the photo, a left click of the mouse should bring up a full screen image.)