Saturday, October 24, 2009


Bud of Viburnum 'Eskimo' / Snowball tree
They are gone forever, or so you'd think if you didn't know better. In reality they're just hiding and will explode again next spring in all their glorious force and blow off our eyeballs and minds with their tremendous beauty. Here they are, lurking and waiting to surprise us in just a few months.
For now, we wait, and huddle around the fire and count our blessings as one season leaves and another approaches.
We are alive. We have made it through another summer, another year, and so have they. O that we may be just as resilient and assured of what is to come as they are!
Buds of Cornus florida / Dogwood

Buds of Hydrangea quercifolia / Oak leaf hydrangea

Friday, October 23, 2009


Josephine Bonaparte was born and raised in the Caribbean. She had a penchant for roses and gardens and clothes. Those are pretty much our only similarities. She married a short man; I married a tall one. She was an Empress. I rule my own kingdom in half an acre. This faded oak-leaf hydrangea reminded me of Josephine. Malmaison, her house outside Paris, is now a museum that shows many of her personal belongings. Besides being a flirt, she was a tender and good-hearted woman and I'm convinced she would have loved these subdued tones. She faded rapidly after her divorce and died pining for her "Petit General". This blossom would have made a perfect offering at her grave.


Yes, it is richer and warmer and more complex than any other light at any other time of the year. It envelopes and caresses like a lover's last passionate embrace before a long voyage. If you keep your eyes wide open, you will see what's coming right behind it. But for now, all you want to do is cling to it, cover your skin with its warmth and hope against hope that it will never leave you.


Nandina domestica / Heavenly bamboo. Will grow anywhere, from Tucson to Siberia. Full sun to shade. And those berries...! Think of the flower arrangements! A true winner. As resilient and graceful as the Philadelphia Phillies, who, by the way, are going to the World Series next week! Go Phillies!


Callicarpa dichotoma / Beautyberry. Need I say more? Graceful branches arching down covered in the most astonishing, metallic purple. Not a birds' favorite, so they add color for a little longer in Furball Cottage's Fall garden.


Ilex verticillata/Winterberry. OK, here's the drill: Take a very good look at them now, because if you blink, they'll be gone. It happens every year. The birds adore these berries and they disappear in a matter of hours. I have seen pictures of snowy fields punctuated by brigh red berries on the bushes and ask myself whether there are birds anywhere near. In my garden, flocks of robins feast on them so quickly that I had to shoo them away with a broom in order to take these pictures. It;s a mixed blessing, but just for once, I'd love to see them against a fresh snowfall. Dream on.


Yes, Furball Cottage is surrounded with color! A magic palette has emerged overnight! Wherever I look there's mind-blowing brightness. Autumn in the Northeastern United States never disappoints.


Be dazzled. Bedazzled. Become dazzled. No other sky holds so much promise. The way everything, yes, dazzles under this slanting sun, the clarity wherever you look, the cloudless eternity of that patch of blue. There will be dark days ahead, but this sky will keep its brightness in my mind's eye long after October has given way to the frigid months ahead.


Late summer's special treat. Wake up and say it, Morning Glory/Evening Grace. Ipomoeas exist all over the world, I have seen them blooming in ancient crags in Crete and Dubrovnik, on empty beaches in SamanĂ¡ and Maine, under lamp posts in Philadelphia and Cairo, usually a washed-out purple color. But this beauty, this glorious blue of the morning sky that fills my eyes with Heaven and my soul with gratefulness, climbs and clambers and roams until it reaches my window and peeks in. Could anybody want a better way of waking up?


All of a sudden the light changes, there's a different feel in the air. Not chilly yet, but the warmth seems to be saying goodbye. The slant of sunshine that enters my window in the morning is brighter and lower. There's a sense of anticipation. Not one leaf has turned color and yet I know that soon there will be a riot of color all around me. The desire for summer's bounty recedes. That delicious watermelon does not appeal; there's no interest in cherries or peaches. My tastebuds yearn for the honeyed mellowness of a fig... the crisp grit of a pear. Autumn is in my heart before it manifests itself in the world.



About Me

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Moorestown, New Jersey, United States
Let's talk about our gardens. Let's talk about all the flowers and critters that thrive within the confines of our personal paradises. Let's talk about those we love and love us back, although once in a while they scratch us and make us bleed a little. Just to remind us that we are alive. Those roses and cats and people that thrive in our gardens... How important... How important they are...