If it’s possible, I think I love my garden best in winter and find it more exciting than in spring. That’s because something is in flower, and most often it is fragrant, nearly every sunny, warm day from Christmas week on. Spring, when everything explodes into flower at once, can be overwhelming. So much is happening that it all becomes a big blur. But in January and February, the garden slows down, and it is easier to appreciate and luxuriate in each of the garden’s treasures.
What? How could it be October when jolts of fresh colors and sensuous fragrance have been reverberating in the garden all month?
I don’t mean the last roses of the year or the Coreopsis Full Moon that has been flowering its little yellow heads off since July in the Mimi Meehan Native Plant Garden.
The fog, drizzle, and downpour on Saturday morning reflected the mood of the scores who attended a funeral service at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Hampton for Jim Jeffrey. Nature shed tears for the loss of a friend and leader who touched the lives of many in the diverse pockets of our community: music, A.A., the congregation of St. Luke’s, gays and lesbians, and not least, gardening. I can’t speak for the other groups, but in the East Hampton gardening world, Jim was patriarch.
The seamless integration of house and garden with the landscape is the ideal, even the Holy Grail, of garden and landscape design. Here on the East End a few jewels meet the challenge.
Recently, I was introduced to a place on the bay in Springs that meets that ideal. Thanks to the Cultural Landscape Foundation, one of a series of garden dialogues throughout the country was held at the home of Bob and Margo Alexander in which Thomas Balsley, a prominent landscape architect who helped create the Alexanders’ garden, spoke about the process.
The great rush is on to select colorful annuals for summer beds and containers. But this season may prove traumatic for the many who relied on impatiens for great swaths of nonstop color in shady areas.
By now word is out that the popular workhorse Impatiens walleriana, including the double rosebud and miniature types, has been affected by a deadly downy mildew disease. Reality probably won’t set in until you actually go out to purchase your plants.