Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Flip Side


Photo courtesy Flickr

Japan’s famous monastery courtyard of white gravel artfully raked around a set of rocks gets all the attention. The back side of the place has a contrasting hall of mosses. New construction in the neighborhood has thrown my garden into deep shade. Fourteen months’ anticipation is being rewarded with autumn’s first landscape response to the radical shift in light and moisture. I did not expect to see how very much more beautiful the native plants have become in the sheltered and humid space that previously was the anvil of the sun.

Free of thermal and wind stress, the modest smaller herbage, like mosses and yarrow, are presenting themselves more openly and gracefully than before. The native roses are impossibly aggressive now in their damper situation and will have to go. The next time I plant wild roses, I will also plant elk to keep them under control.

I expected that the newly shady garden would be even easier to maintain than it had been. It is so. I could never have imagined that the gift of shade would have produced such a welcome and tender return of the true atmosphere of the local woods. I credit the decade’s tenure of the native plants and the soil of the property that has been undisturbed for a hundred and twenty-three years.

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