In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Garden dreams come to life

The wildflower garden I dreamed about at the end of last summer is beginning to emerge. It will be a project of several years, I think. Even though the garden itself is a very small space.
Last fall I moved wildflowers from around the property and from other places on the island. I had some help, too. Eager mullein came and crowded up against the outside of the picket fence, and so did yarrow and wild mustard and musk mallow. It was the musk mallow -- blooming of its own accord all along the side of the house last summer -- that got me thinking about this project in the first place.

This is fireweed. I found it in the cellar of the McNutt foundation. I haven't seen it anywhere else on the island.

I transplanted some of the foxgloves that bloom down in the lower orchard. They are as beautiful as orchids, with their speckled petals.

The daylilies are just beginning to bloom. They were growing here when we moved in, but I have divided them each fall and I'll continue to spread them out for a few more years. I have grown fancy hybrid daylilies in other gardens, and I have always gotten tired of them eventually. But there is something so purely, glowingly orange about the common daylily. It is the best. I will never, ever tire of it.

The musk mallow was the inspiration for this garden. Later this summer it will fill the garden bed with its lacy leaves and delicate hbiscus-like blossoms of pink and white. The bees will be delirious, and the sound of their humming will be deafening.

The mullein's tall spires and fuzzy broad leaves make it a particular delight. The bees love it, too.

Later in the summer, goldenrod and blue asters and Queen Anne's lace will take over in the front of the garden. They already look promising. After this summer I will begin to move things around and see if I can place everything more strategically in terms of garden design. For now I am happy to have them on their own terms.

What I love best about this new garden is being able to admire these beauties each time I come in or out of the house. I think they are under-appreciated because they are common and hardy and, well, wild. Now I have the opportunity to appreciate them more.

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