Monday, June 11, 2012

Rose petals and yellow water lilies

June is reaching the halfway point with a triumphal air of perfection.

A real summertime weekend - two days of bearable but noticeable humidity - has ceded to 70s and 80s again.

Ideal temperatures have been enjoyed from the start of the month. 

Warm sunshine, the freshness of the season, occasionally fluffy clouds and pretty flowers in the yards all refresh the spirit.

Out in the lake today yellow water lilies were a knot of color as they rode their water mattresses in strong northwest winds. This too is June.

The flowers were closed. They were hard knobs fastened in place on the green lilypads.

It would have taken Monet to render them Impressionist in mood. They were too drawn in upon themselves to look ethereal. Shuttered and separate, they would have been a trial for perhaps even his dream-worked interpretation. 

Give them a little time. Because - after all - they're early. They're early based on when we, in the past, were accustomed to see them bloom. Everything seems to be running a little ahead.

Fortunately the sunsets keep to their allotted schedule. June is their jubilee time. The long twilight at this time of year lets the sun linger high in the sky. 

Late sunsets distinguish our northern summer. It's nine at night for catching sundown. Sunsets have a few more minutes to go before the pendulum irrevocably swings back towards fall. We pay attention to things like that here. 

A group of us were on the party deck over the weekend. We watched a golden sunset melt and spread through the screen of trees. 

We commented to our host on two things. First we confessed to being disoriented in our direction. This is what driving country roads with all their curves and angles will do to you. The sun was going down on what seemed to us the wrong side of the house.  

After we got straightened out which way is west (where the light was, of course) our host nodded affably at praise of his glorious sunset. 

He mentioned a favorite sunset viewing spot above the garden. Probably all of us have a particular ritual that makes some part of our day special. It struck me he has found such a ritual in his sunset chair.

Trips to the Arboretum keep me attuned to the crescendo of blooming that June is so much about. I've taken to bringing pen and paper along. The large assortment of plants and interesting layouts are worth making note of. 

Someday this play at virtual gardening may blossom into something more substantial and real. Paying attention and educating myself are good enough starts for now. 

Give me this kind of classroom over any other. Blue sky for ceiling, the spires of evergreens for walls and no ring of the dismissal bell at all.

One closes in on the swirl of mixed colors in a rose petal. You quiet your senses to listen to the heartbeat inherent within nature. If all learning could be this natural! 

Over several visits I've collected the names of many varieties of rose shrubs. I write them down not only because of their beauty but also for the enticing names. 

Violas, delphiniums, white peonies, Ozark sundrops, Virginia mock orange, begonias, sedum, snapdragons, astibe and dianthus add to this list. 

Coral bells are there. So are dahlias, lantana, Texas sage (and Russian sage, meadow sage and culinary sage). Trees are noted. Herbs too and grasses. I see the splendor from afar.

My list rambles like some of the rose bushes. While these rambler roses mass with the weight of their flowers and preen with their prettiness my list has a hasty and overfilled look. 

It'll have to be edited. But for now the entirety of the impression of the artistry of these Chanhassen slopes is contained within the little notebook.

Everything was entered while crouching precariously over flower beds or brushing aside foliage to read the plaques. The word are scrawled, or run into each other, but all has now been figured out.

Visiting with my daughter I suggest we have the makings of a story. The mother with no green thumb but with a desire to create beauty turns to her darling offspring for help. 

She'll furnish the practicality and knowability. That takes care of that gigantic piece of the project, which otherwise could be a big worry. 

Acquisition of garden space and funding are stickier details. They remain to be worked out.

I urge her to picture the heartwarming tale of the joint efforts. The mother / daughter team plan, plant and likely pant with the digging, ditching and watering there is to do. It's a sure sell to any magazine. She laughs pleasantly. She says send the list.

I wasn't so busy with the flowers, grasses and trees that I overlooked something else. Actually I looked up to notice them. They're memorial plaques which hang in some trees.

The plaques are a neat way to honor a loved one. Some plaques come with an additional message that holds a reflection or thought. Here are two reflections I like:

Life is a work of art designed by the person who lives it.

Deep in their roots all flowers keep the light.

Inspiration doesn't just come from deep within gardens. A recent Arboretum trip was followed by a library stop. I came home with a stack of magazine reading - summers are my time to catch up.

An ad covered the back of one of the magazines. The product never clicked - I failed to see what it was. The accompanying words were all that mattered to me. "Be yourself by doing things you love to do."  

This is as near to it as I can get. I didn't copy it down. But the drum roll as I read it had its impact. Its wisdom got across.

Doing things you love to do is intrinsic to recent trips to the Arboretum. This brings to mind a quotation from Rachel Carson inscribed on one of the benches. "There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature." 

There was more to the quotation but I stopped writing after that. The few words say it all.

Ro Giencke - June 11, 2012

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