1.17.2007

Auld Lang Sine, My Dear

Seamill Centre, photo by Eleanor McSeveny


I was adding some links to this blog and found myself with a lump in my throat. I'm struck again with the complexities of this whole distance thing and the conundrum I find myself in everytime I travel. I fall in love easily with places and new friends and then we leave.....
We lived abroad for a year, a whole life in a whole other place, and I can't go back there at the flip of a kilt. I gardened in that land, and laughed and talked and prayed and got dirty and was bit by midges. I know where to find the early snowdrops and where the heather grows wild in the garden beds, and the gorse smells like coconut. Soon it will be time to look for blooms on the daphne mezereum, and to pick the crocus that have naturalized in the lawns. Right now the leaves are off the sycamore trees and through them you can see the looming outline of the Isle of Arran. The stark white branches carry a lumpy, black assortment of detritus and debris from the past years: giant crow's nests and their raucus inhabitants, my constant companions and critics as I prune and weed in the weak winter sun. As the sun sets (4pm in the winter) we gather to watch the brightest visual stimulus of the grey day: the sun is a halo over Arran, glorifying and embracing Goatfell's craigy peak.
I know that weeds have again covered over my Victorian brick path, and most likely no one is noticing when the green fronds will poke up through last year's bracken. Somehow that's okay, because we chose to come home, with our own joyful (and graceful) souvenir, and I let the gardens go, but somewhere in me there is a groundskeeper who stills wishes she was there to tend, to pick, to unearth. For anyone living at Seamill now-GO OUTSIDE! There is fabulous beauty down near the burn, and so much to discover. Okay, the weather is bitter now, but soon, soon, put on the wellies and venture forth. And while you're out there, pick a snowdrop for the old groundskeeper, and pray for Scotland. And I suppose the whole answer to this conundrum is heaven, and the reconciliation of all things to the One who made them.

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Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.