Sunday, June 12, 2011

My dearest, up in the aerie at half-past wine o'clock, raising my pink icefilled glass to Randy at the Sycamore Nursery, where D and I stopped by this afternoon to pick up a few plants - shadeloving specimens to fill in a couple of gaps in the woodland border; climbing vines to train up a sunny wood trellis. Randy is a delight, and I always enjoy visiting his beautiful and intelligently laid out nursery. Everywhere you look he offers in situ suggestions of plant combinations that are both visually beautiful and, in terms of their growth requirements, compatible with garden conditions typically found in our area, ranging from hot exposed dry sun to damp woodland shade. I came to him this afternoon with a focused mental list that I think he was surprised that I launched into almost immediately, before, perhaps, all the mutual 'how are yous' were quite done. (I didn't wish to waste his time on a June weekend, & also I'm bit shy or nervous, & also there's a part of me sometimes that wants to get right to it.) No matter. Randy carefully listened to each of my specific needs in turn, and the three of us strolled among all the plants, some naturalized in borders, some in pots at our feet, amiably chatting. At his expert advice, offered with disarming charm - "look at this evergreen specimen with the bloom that starts in March and only now begins to fade" - I chose three hellebores, to plant in the dappled shade. For the sunny trellis, I mentioned to him that I had been thinking a clematis. Randy named a couple of varieties and suddenly lit up. He recalled - extraordinarily - that I'm Polish. How about a 'Polish Spirit' clematis?, he mischievously suggested. Of course, I replied with a shrug, how can I refuse? I'll score points with my relatives!

The clematis doesn't look like much now, and takes two or three years to become well-established, but if it likes the spot (D is digging it in now), it will eventually form cascades of long-blooming purple petals. In the meantime, annual cardinal vine, a morning glory with exquisitely clear red-hued blossoms, will race up the trellis over the course of the summer, and - as I was delighted to hear Randy mention - attract hummingbirds.

I am always struck the couple of times a season that I visit Randy's nursery, how as I stroll around his verdant offerings and garden displays, anywhere my glance might happen to fall I'm greeted with an uncommonly lovely, charming sight. Enormous hostas form majestic focal points along a peaceful woodland path. A tall grove's understory is gracefully carpeted with swathes of daisy-like feverfew. On a table sit tiny pots of sculptural succulents. Lush vines clamber tantalizingly over railings. There's nothing overdone, nothing "chi-chi," and certainly nothing cutesy or cloying. Just unpretentious plants & plantings, simple beautiful ornaments and accessories, fashioned from elemental materials in rich earthy tones, all layered & textured and adding up to a myriad of inviting, magical effects. Anywhere I looked - a glimpse of something rare, unusual, and exceptionally pleasing to the eye and spirit.

So D's taking care of planting the vines at the trellis, and tomorrow I'll plant the hellebores along with a native groundcover, Meehania cordata, described on its accompanying tag as "1-inch trumpet-like flowers in lavender, blues and pink on a vining stem with dark green cordate foliage." I felt so energized from glimpsing all that beauty and chatting with Randy again, that when I returned home I weeded the raised beds which I've decided to devote to a cutting garden this year, and popped in annuals that I had happened to buy elsewhere - browallia, cosmos, yellow marigold, cleome, and a magenta-plumed flower (blooms soft & fuzzy to the touch like lambs ear) that I don't know the name of.

A mellow day overall, spent time this morning revising yesterday's post. Sometimes a post will get away from me. I wish to publish it as soon as I can, simply to connect with you, and yet it's not quite done as it turns out, needs tweaking, or more. Ideally I should be one step ahead of the game, with a post in reserve like a symphony conductor a beat ahead, and yet - I can't seem to do that, I need a certain element of spontaneity, of the dailiness, of what the moment brings. I tell myself that E.D. often tinkered with her drafts, played with variants, so that many of her poems, as we know them, aren't necessarily definitive. But still. My self-imposed rule tends to be - I'll tinker a bit the day following a published post, because on a fresh reading the next morning it will strike me differently - but after that, I don't touch it.

I think sometimes about the possibility of somehow getting my blog bound into a book, it would be nice to have. I don't know. Still toying with this idea. There are blog-to-book services, I'm not sure I want to go that route. I don't know. It's an unformed thought. I'm not consumed with desire to be published by a press, and yet it would be nice to be able to hold my output in my hands, as a tangible object, like my handmade, handwritten "August Project" from a few years back, that to me is a beautiful artifact. Am I going to copy out the blog by hand? No. And what would I do with the photographic images, never mind links & videos of songs, and the like? I may have to content myself with the blog being what it is, a hybrid form of its own, which works very well for me actually - except for its lacking in tangibility.

Anyway, these are just musings, thinking out loud. I'm going to wind this up now for the evening, go back out in the garden, enjoy the remaining daylight. It's only past six, among the longest days of the year, and yet it seems like dusk, it's been so rainy & gray the last couple of days.

I hope all is well with you, wherever you are. Całuję Cię mocno -
love, Belle

Excerpt from Arianna Huffington's biography of Picasso, p. 40:

Letter from Pablo Picasso [c. age 16, 1897] to his friend Joaquim Bas
And so goodbye. Please excuse me for not saying goodbye in Barcelona. Kisses to [here there is a drawing of a little hand holding a flower] del [here a drawing of a coin with a woman's profile on it and under the profile the words 'one ounce' between brackets]. Yours ever, P. Ruiz Picasso
Bas had been his chief companion on his nights out in Barcelona's Chinatown, and the kisses were intended for Pablo's favorite, to whom he was to return many times on his brothel rounds. She was known by the name of Rosita del Oro, a name that Pablo's love of codes transformed on paper into a flower and a gold coin.

darling I wish I had the exact Picasso image to go with this thought, I simply can't find it

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