Too early, perhaps not too early, perhaps at precisely the appropriate moment, one obviously replete with caution and hesitancy, all houseplants go out for their summer without walls the 24th of May. These include a well-fed and robust datura taking as much nourishment as a bearing tomato and a tibouchina already in bud, a lusty papyrus going into a marble fount, a tub of lemon grass, one black caloeasia. Many agapanthus. Several weeks ago clivia, early because they can take night temperatures of 40, clivia I swear to repot, root trim. And, as a matter of course, high time I did all of the houseplants. It is a duty I have neglected. Mother must give you a pill because it makes mother feel noble.
All houseplants are doing well. The earth they are in is replenished with nutrition and is but a stabilizing influence, an anchor, if you will. But. . . .
We plant a topiaried rosemary to find that a rosemary of no particular sort has survived the winter quite well and is the first unwrapped, uncossetted rosemary to have ever done so! There, for climate change!
So now the plunge. After all, the benignity of the winter has caused oaks as well as maples to leaf early, a well-known memo for the rest of the plants pending, those tender or of borderline physique: Italian parsley is one and six or seven kinds of hot pepper, eggplant, Italian sunflower, teasel, nigella, and all of those rarities from Chilterns in Wales. Swiss chard, broccoli, broccoli da rapa . . . don’t let them be abated by rabbits or even savored by them.
Bushes and trees in bloom are following bushes and trees in bloom with never diminished generosity until there is no more energy for them, it seems, and foliage not bloom matures. It is now the turn of various dogwood, every flower in erect pale green stance ready to come into blizzard bedazzlement. Madoo has a fine assortment, though not terribly numerous, a fine collection of Asian dogwood. Cream spreads through dwarf weepers and stalwart trees, the bracts as if doused in liquid and of impeccable shine without a touch of glitter. One almost thinks that primrose starts the entire transformation and, if so, it must seat itself back behind explosions of peonies and roses, tree peonies and rugosas before that monument, that wonder, “Paul’s Himalayan Musk” does its annual turn as a pergola all of its own, stirring the rhododendron to be more lavish, the mountain laurel less abating. June blast. June firecrackers. June drunk and randy. It is a factory knows no night, so brief the evening does not resemble the morning. Each walk through has its brief hero.
The garden is in strong heart.
Up in Newport last weekend, trilliums took the wind. Here, they are long gone, their foliage already maturing, ready to disappear for the summer, a turn so many take.