While I was gardening

The art of gardening and the science of life.

Colors of a Storm

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Walking through the garden after an early morning rain storm I find dark, water-soaked soil beneath the mulch.  Perhaps the preceding days, hot and dry as a prairie, are forgiven.  A break in the cloud cover pierces the garden with yellow and white intensity.  ‘Baby Blue Eyes’ Picea pungens sparkles in fresh, clean air against billowing clouds.  Cryptomeria japonica ‘Sekkan-sugi’ shines yellow and gold next to a dark Ceanothus ‘Julia Phelps’ and steel-blue blades of Big Bluestem.  ‘Indian Steel’ Sorghastrum adds to the palette.

Charcoal gray clouds begin a slow, lumbering roll towards the garden and threaten the occupants like a bully on a playground.  But like most bullies, something welcome hides inside and soon a drop of rain taps my shoulder.  I want rain.  I want to feel the heat and dust of summer slide off my skin as rain soaks me to the bone.  Outlined against the dark roiling backdrop are soft white blooms of Eucryphia x nymansensis ‘Nymansay’ and the enthusiastic pink of ‘Pecos’ Lagerstroemia.  I’ve waited a few years for Crepe Myrtle to show off, and it has finally complied.

A bright blue line of clear sky shows through the storm clouds but is quickly beaten back.  Deep blue/black clouds bring a strong wind that sweeps a riot of color before my eyes like a scarf whipping against an autumn jacket.  More rain drops.  Pink cosmos and dusty maroon smoke from Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ fly around the garden.  The door behind me slams shut.  Time to go inside.

I open the door and heat from the previous day rolls out to greet me like a large heavy dog.  Rain begins to hit my back and I go inside – I don’t want to be soaked, after all.  Better to stay indoors and appreciate the dance of colors from inside the house.

This rain is beautiful, but it’s just a tease.  Before long, summer will return hot, dry, and dusty.


Author: dphare2014

Horticulturist, Lead Steward Carkeek Park Demonstration Gardens, Author

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