Friday, November 10, 2006

Crusades Through Garden Time

Already 7:30 here on the mountain, 42 degrees, with gray skies and a steady wind blowing brief spurts of colder air. Karl, the wonder dog, was not enamored with the morning breeze and cut short his typical morning venture to sniff every leaf from here to the mailbox. The newspaper delivery person still hasn't figured out Newspaper Delivery 101 as there was a paper in the box today, the first since Monday.

Today is Veterans Day, a day that always makes me pause and think about America and the history that got us to today. The peony pictured above is named Crusader and much has transpired since the crusades of old. Many wars have occurred and many souls have been lost as we climb higher mountains and approach greater challenges. I'll never forget the members of my family who died serving our country and I'll always be thankful for those who came home. The opportunity to be free, to do as we wish, to read, to vote, to practice politics and religion as we wish--these our opportunities ever so valuable to me.

Today the gardens are quiet in the messages they have to share. Several hard frosts have flattened most foliage and darkened the rest. Just the same there is beauty in the balance. The rudbeckia and spirea stems outside my office window stand tall, waiting patiently for Sunday's snow to cap their seed heads. The astilbe stems are turning a deeper rust color while the half dozen different ligularias around the little display pond still hold tight to their seed heads. If I get to it this weekend, I'll collect a bunch of seed and take it out back to a little woodland pond we have. Little of this seed germinates but the seeds which do may well produce some interesting hybrids. At very least, a new crop will provide more food for deer when they stop for a summer cooler.

No matter what time of year it is, our gardens provide a magical mystery and always provide us with ideas for change. I have a couple more things to pick up in the lower hosta garden today and as I walk around I'll reflect on the beauty of the summer and the great feeling it is to be free.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond, where two doves walk the ground under the feeder, picking up cracked corn that the messy blue jays have kicked around.

Peace and gardening wishes on Veterans Day!

George Africa

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