Monday, March 19, 2012

Immortality

Life is the childhood of our immortality. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This morning, I  have been thinking that there is possibly a little bit of immortality in any garden. 

When the old gentleman, who used to live up the street passed away and his wife went into a nursing home, his garden was left untended for a long time as the house up for sale sat vacant for months. 

Then, in the years that followed the house changed hands a few times. Presently, it is a home for Autistic children. None in this line of the new owners have been gardeners.

The old man's garden has been largely on its own for almost 10 years now. 

Common weeds and grass have crept into the flowerbeds. Despite the adversities that have befallen it  however, the garden continues to spring to life each year, despite the loss of its creator. In a few weeks, there will be are daffodils, narcissus and tiny blue scilla. 

Today, ushering in these first heady days of spring there are tiny, white snowdrops.



There are in fact drifts of these diminutive white flowers all along the white picket fence.


The bees are mad for them!


I believe that these particular snowdrops, with their tiny green-tiped inner segments are G. nivalis or Common Snowdrops. They are easy to grow and quickly naturalize themselves throughout any garden.


Even after he is gone, the old gardener still has a lesson for me. 

I had no idea what these tiny yellow flowers were, but a quick bit of research online reveals that they are Eranthis hyemalis or Winter Aconite. Apparently, they are originally from southern Europe where they bloom in late winter. They prefer moist, well-drained slightly acidic soil and a bit of shade. 


It seems that bees love them too.


Yes, I think that the old gardener lives on, not only in the hearts and minds of the people who remember him, but in his garden as well.

I dedicate this post to Carolyn of Carolyn's Shade Gardens and to Deborah of Green Theatre, two gardeners who absolutely love snowdrops.

26 comments:

  1. I do too - and these pics are really pretty! :-)

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  2. Jennifer, I am hoping that all the snowdrops I have planted at Kilbourne Grove will give pleasure to others in the future. Maybe it is my way of becoming immortal, they will certainly be hard to get rid off, even if you tried, lol. Good news that the snosdrops are just starting for you, if temperatures become normal again, they should hold on for another 3 weeks.

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    1. Deborah, I hope that the snowdrops hold out for your arrival at Kilbourne Grove.

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  3. I loved every photo and every word in your post, Jennifer ! Thank you !

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  4. Beautiful reminding of the last owner of this lovely garden. Great photograph's.
    gr. Marijke

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  5. The Winter Aconite is one of my favourites. At the Kodak mansion in Rochester they have masses of it growing under these giant trees - so very beautiful, and a reminder that these little bulbs look better in giant masses - often giving us their best show years after the gardener has left the earth.

    So true about all the brown still - the natives definitely seem to have a clock. The others, well fingers crossed they won't get clobbered if it gets colder. Looks like the bulbs are treating the old leaves like cocktail treats. Wouldn't it be easier to grow around rather than through those old oak leaves?

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    1. Barbara, I like your observation about the cocktail treats!

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  6. Beautiful snowdrops and a beautiful lesson. I'm living in someone else's garden this spring for the first time - it's so wonderful to see new friends growing in the garden.

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  7. Bulbs are amazing, coming back year on year, even when abandoned. When we move on, as long as no-one interferes, our gardens carry on without us. They might get more weedy, look more neglected, but underneath the soil the bulbs are building up their strength to keep on flowering once more. The snowdrops and aconites are lovely spreading in drifts when allowed, real heralds of spring!

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  8. Beautiful, beautiful images of snowdrops. I have not tried these in my garden for fear of the voles. However, I may just dedicate a protected spot to these beauties....they sure are worth it!

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  9. Indeed he does live on, and your beautiful photographs are proof of this.

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  10. Loved your words and images Jennifer. No bees in the garden yet, even with the snowdrops and 73° weather. Nice you have the little buzzers buzzing.

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  11. This is a lovely post, and very meaningful. And i am sure Carolyn and Deborah appreciates fully the dedication. When i first see snowdrops in Turkey mountain, and i might not see them again in person, my liking for it is instantaneous. Then i searched and learned more about them, even if they cannot grow here in the tropics.

    I guess the bulbs have the "immortality" in them better than other seeding plants. They are difficult to kill. My mother had a few amaryllis bulbs when she was young, she is now 82, and the amaryllis despite not being cared for are now becoming like a hedge in our property in the province. I am sure they will still be there way after my mother is gone, or her grandkids too. Immortality.

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  12. Jennifer, what a wonderful post. How bittersweet that the garden lives on even after the gardener has departed. Now I feel inspired to plant some snowdrops, they surely are pretty!

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  13. Such a thoughtful post and one that will leave me thinking about the future of the bulbs I planted today. Who knows how they might surprise someone many years from now. Lovely to ponder!

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  14. What wonderful photos and what a lovely post thank you for sharing with me I mean us my bad...........lol

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  15. What a thought provoing post Jennifer. The property I live on had a century old house before mine was built and I still see violets and spring bulbs popping up that I did not plant. It sort of gives me a connection with past owners.

    Eileen

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  16. How sad when a garden is no longer tended. I think about mine all the time, as I am not young, and who will tend it when I am gone. But how delightful that your neighbor's spirit and plants and little hints of his presence on the land do live on.

    (Great snowdrop pictures! They are hard to photograph and I never seem to be able to capture their prettiness)

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  17. I think about what will endure in my garden when I no longer tend it. From my last property I know that the Spring ephemerals and daffodils still bloom - nice to think that they will go on without our TLC!

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  18. Although we tend to think of plants in terms of our own lifetime and perhaps needing our care I think one of their most entrancing aspects is the idea that their lives can surpass us and they can live sufficiently on their own. Trees are the perfect example of this but bulbs like your snowdrops too are perfectly happy to live out their lives of their own accord simply blessing us with their presence.

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  19. So sad about the old couple, but yes, the garden lives on. Love the snowdrops. That first picture is wonderful.

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  20. I'm sure that your neighbor would be happy knowing that his garden is still there.

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  21. It's amazing how much our gardens don't need us as much as we think they do. But maybe he's there in spirit tending the garden without being seen.

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  22. What a lovely post - I am sure the old man would have liked to know that his garden was still being appreciated, by you at least. That is the nice thing about spring bulbs they seem to go on forever.

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  23. Your post brings back memories of the grandfather and great-grandfather, gardeners both, who created beautiful gardens. Thank you.

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  24. Oh I'm so looking forward to spring!!!!

    Thanks for your sweet comments on my sign blog post!

    xox

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