Monday, March 19, 2012

Learning From A Master

Although written over 70 years ago, Elizabeth Lawrence's My Southern Garden,  is a classic that has never grown old or outdated.  My well-worn copy, read during the bitterest of a cold Chicago winter, transported me back to the sunny South where something was blooming year round.    Now that I am in Piedmont North Carolina I am finding new meaning in the meticulous records of Miz Elizabeth's Raleigh garden .

My first winter here, extremely mild, but not unusual, according to her writing : 
" In the South the progress of the season does not follow the accepted pattern of spring, summer, fall and winter.  Spring, when spring should come, has already been with us at intervals throughout the winter.   Summer lasts into fall and fall into winter.  The garden year has no beginning and no end. " 

Since arriving in early fall my eyes have been dazzled by the brilliance of the golds and reds of trees that grace the highways as well as parks and gardens.   Then came winter and the lovely berries of evergreen hollies and Nandina, silver grey of rosemary, roses still in bloom, camellias, Japanese apricot, and flowering cherries. 

A stroll in the park in Clemmons, N.C.

There are two months of winter -December and January and Spring comes in February according to Miz Elizabeth.   With Spring comes hosts of daffodils in almost every garden, both public and private. 
  " Everyone greets the first daffodil with the feeling that there cannot be too much sunlight or too much yellow in the world. "   Along with the daffodils are the Star Magnolia, Redbuds ,  Carolina Jasmine, Japanese Quince, Forsythia,  Dogwood, and ornamental Pear. to name a few.

                                        A cozy Carolina Cottage in Blowing Rock, N.C.

I see that there will be no rest for the gardener here and I am delighted to be in what I consider paradise.  As Miz Elizabeth says  " To follow the tradition of bloom in three seasons only is to miss the full meaning of gardening in a part of the world where at all times of the year there are days when it is good to be out of doors, when there is work to be done in the garden, and when there is some plant in perfection of flower or fruit . "

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