08 April 2008
Spring's Shy Entrance
Wouldn't you know it? Here I am, buried in work and fighting off this durned ol' infection, and spring has decided to not only find us, but to hang around for a few days. This is the third sunny and mild day in a row, and you can hear the land and its life yawning, stretching and looking around. "Well! That sun sure feels warm, and the wind isn't blasting in...Maybe it IS time to get going with the season!" I haven't been outside yet today, but my LSS gleefully told me earlier this morning that I'd have to go outside just to walk around when it gets warmer.
When I was at NSAC on Saturday, I took a stroll down to The Rock Garden, which in my mind is the most wonderful public garden in Nova Scotia. Even on a dreary, cold day, with no sunlight in sight and a chill mist dripping on me, it was still wonderful to amble through the paths, pausing to look down at alpines clinging to stone, managing despite the day's dreariness to show bursts of colour.
This Hamamelis 'Jelena' isn't fully open yet, so it's hard to see the subtleties of colour in its wonderful flowers. But the vibrant fragrance was there, and that was enough to cause me to smile.
Spring's unfolding is a little like the Rock Garden's plants: a bit subtle at first glance. You need to take your time in an alpine garden, because many of the plants are small, short, evolved that way after millions of years of hanging on to whispers of soil in clefts of rocks on cliffs and mountains. Yet pause and study a sempervivum's complexities, or the delicate gradations of colour in leaves, or the stunning beauty of a mass of saxifrage blooms, and you catch the joy of these plants.
This saxifrage caught my eye from across the garden. Because (as with so many public gardens, as many of us have ranted before) so many people help themselves to plant labels (and plants!), there are few labels in the garden, so I can't tell you what species or cv this might be. All I know is that the saxifrages in MY garden don't turn this colour, so this is a WANT plant. Bernard Jackson will know--he's the man who designed and built this garden, and also was the first botanist and gardener at the MUN Botanical Gardens in St. John's, Nfld. We've very lucky to have him in Nova Scotia--he's a lovely man, very wise and generous and gracious too. This year I will get to his own garden--he's invited me in the past and last year just didn't work for us.
If spring unfurled all at once in a blast of colour and fragrance and sound, maybe I wouldn't cherish each plant's awakening as much as I do. There were certainly outbursts of colour at the AC, such as in the heath gardens behind the Hort building, but even without flowers, heaths and heathers are some of my favourite plants because of the glory of their winter display.
More to come, when I take my camera for a walk around the yard. I know we're not out of the weather-woods yet. But isn't it funny how a few mild, sunny days erase the scars of winter from our souls so quickly?