The Daily Muse

A Garden Journal -- March 2001

March 12 - afternoon

A strong line of storms moved through in the middle of the night, thunder rattled the windows and rain filled our muddy "pond to be" once again. By the time that I got up, it was crisp and clear, a perfect spring day in Austin with the temperature approaching the mid-seventies as I write this. With the ground saturated there is little for me to do in the garden, so I spent the morning patrolling several of my favorite nurseries. I found several plants that I have been looking for including Mexican oregano and Tuscan Blue rosemary, I will be using these scented herbs as accents for the entry "gates" of our labyrinth area. I love having these plants close to the edge of pathways so that I can run my hands over the foliage and pick up their earthy fragrance. I also purchased a Tangerine Beauty crossvine that I hope will cover a large expanse of our fence and attract some hummingbirds to the garden.

It is hard to believe that just six months ago we were enduring one of Texas' worst droughts and heat waves. In fact, we have had so much rain that I am expecting one of the best wildflower seasons in recent history. It will be a joy to take a little time off in the coming weeks to travel the back roads with my camera.

March 14 - afternoon

The sun just broke through after another very rainy day. The sky is clearing from the west and the retreating clouds are still hanging low and black off to the east. This is one of my favorite moments in the garden, when the golden light of the evening catches the undersides of the clouds and lights up all of the new foliage against the dark backdrop. The garden is positively glowing... the trees look as if they are bursting with the very first green the world has ever seen, and the air is fresh and cool. If we have a few dry sunny days the garden will literally explode with new growth.

I find it very hard not to be in the garden at this time, even though most of the work remains to be done. When I am outside now, I can feel the garden as it will be- the "bones" or structure of the garden is in place. It is important to take the time just to "be" in the garden, not to always "do". New ideas will come to you and, more importantly, you'll have a chance to experience the real gift of the garden- an indescribable connection with creation.

More on our progress... I have finished planting the boxwood hedges that will outline many of the "rooms" of the garden and we have now planted nine fruit trees (five peaches, two "Granada" pomegranites, and two apples), six "Nellie Stevens" hollies, six bald cypress, four bigtooth maples, five weeping yaupon hollies, one Japanese maple, one Mexican buckeye, one lacey oak, and one anacacho orchid tree.

I started my work in this garden by removing trees, now I have only a few spaces for new trees! And I have yet to plant the six possumhaw hollies that I have purchased, or the Texas redbud, or the rusty blackhaw viburnum, or the "Diana" rose of sharons!

March 29 - evening

Well, this month has certainly gotten away from me. The weather has been too wet and my life far too hectic for the gardener within. During the course of the past week we have been hosting my partner's parents. They are very worldly folks, from Mexico, and have travelled the globe from Egypt to Kyoto. Knowing of their varied experiences, I have felt very inadequate as tour guide to the Hill Country of Texas over the course of the past few days.

Yesterday, we did a share a very special time together at Enchanted Rock, certainly a highlight of Central Texas' scenery and geology. We arrived on a decidely wet and cool (COLD to them) morning, and climbed to the cloud shrouded summit. Once there, we stopped to marvel at the small vernal pools that form in the depressions on the top of the great dome. It was like finding mirrors in the sky, the tiny eco-systems trembled in the wind as they reflected both the grey of the mist and the pink granite of the rock. It was a beautiful, other worldly sight. It is no wonder that the native Americans considered this place sacred. After our time there, we followed a few of the best "wildflower routes" through the countryside back to Austin. I think that the Hill Country came out "OK" on the world traveller list. I certainly felt inspired by the trip, now I feel like adding a granite dome to the garden!

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