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  •    Outside of violent storms (hurricanes being the principal vectors), when Caribbean odors and tropical birds off course are part of our purview, true wildness is quite rare in our gardens. Annually, we have the laments of migrating geese and there is a period of passing raptors. Down the road from the entrance to Madoo across little Sagg bridge, right where the fulling mill stood, herds of littlest alewives thrust, swarm, and leap their way to spawn. The very air of the garden seems vibrant with them then.

  •    A magnificent spring it is, it is. On the immediate dry side, yes, but an annual superfluity of rain just might redress present lack.

  •    The hollows of winter are gray and black lines by Piet Mondrian, whose volumed boxes are filled or empty, rich and poor, according to how your eye copes with them, the time you expend in pursuit of all of their quiet wind and weather and the patience they ask of you. They are indeed conundrums, emblematic of the manner in which one may decide garden change (remembered or on the spot, even though the spot may be but a repeated summer memory or one as close as a much-stared-at window view).

  •     The dear dog of it, the garden, never halts, never rests unless it be December, when it seems determined to nap, to jump less, to be without surprise, to be a bit less demanding, indifferently nose an old bone. Yet bulbs keep coming, late bulb sales tempt and daily postings bring next season catalogs. Houseplants need turning in the light, grooming, and feeding, and some, like daturas and tibouchinas, a goodly cut-down and may join pails of alocassia and caladium in peat and the cool dark cellar for a winter of rest.

  • Birds have twigs and branches, and accommodate on lordly grasses. When in gardens we employ benches and chairs and, at times, a grounded tree trunk, our obliging constructs of metal, modified wicker, concrete and stone, as well as wood.
  •     An autumn day, after hard frost, and an early northeaster. An autumn day of Indian summer equal to that other stunner, that miracle, a languorous June afternoon when all is still. And painful. “The present usually hurts” — Blaise Pascal (“Pensées” No. 47).

  •     How they do go on, the guides, the advisers, the gurus, those beguiling blossoms on TV screens, those eruptions in print in newspapers, shining from the pages of glossies, becoming distinguished, often quoted, held in highest reverence, reputed to have the power to turn whole lives around, stamp out ignorance, ministerially lead the uninformed into the New Zion of knowledge, turn amateurs into professionals the way water was once turned into gold.

  • More and more I think it is the effort of the pruner that makes the garden.
  •      All of the Irene-slaw, ratatouille, pesto, or was it just plain gazpacho having been raked and tossed, wheelbarrow load after wheelbarrow load, on the 50-foot-long composting pile, remaining foliage is hardly in top form, being rent or chewed and singed by salt airs. I thought that the heavy rains following had done an antiseptic, restorative rinse, and perhaps they had, but the damage had been too marked for such alleviation and was imbued in the remaining foliage. (Fadeout of camera closeup: Forget aloe and lanolin!

  •     Midday and lovely, the 26th of August, well before the eve of the storm, a day and more before its brunt. Fell Irene, Irene most foul, Irene so lovely a name to be so affixed and hence besmirched. All of the other “I”s I can rummage up are equally fine, save, I suppose, Irma, which doesn’t sound like a name at all: Ivy, Ilene, Iphegenia, Ilsa, Ida, Ilka, Imogen. It would be a shame to abuse them by attaching them to a weather event brooding with the direct of consequences.