And now, for something very different, dear Minnesota Prager fans and others interested in conservative lives. I am a man of several lives competing for my passion and time. I have been very, very lucky in life.
My passion to reach folks concerned about America’s moral and political decline is paramount, but I hope temporary. For my life was destined primarily to be drawn to the art of the landscape garden. I would like to share the following blog article I wrote a few minutes ago while listening to Dennis Prager’s radio show devoted to common sense:
”WHY IS OUR 2011 LANDSCAPE GARDEN SO BEAUTIFUL?”
If you have been ‘playing’ in your landscape garden the past month you may have noticed that this October of our year, 2011, was special…..If so, why?
My grounds throughout is at its most colorful best this early November than in all the 37 years I have lived here in the Hopkins area. It is a landscape garden about 1/2 acre in size, laid out over the years by my passion to create beauty in the land over which I have domain while I live.
I have noticed I have been spending more time ‘being there’ in the garden the last few weeks than previous Octobers. Beauty has its lure. It sure beats drugs by anyone’s observation, I would think. I noticed yesterday and today, I’ve been loathe to leave its beauty, so I have been manufacturing various tasks to keep me here.
These tasks are governed by the garden’s beauty. I prune, rake, cut back some perennial foliage, clean fallen leaves from the conifers…..nothing well organized, nothing planned, simply enjoying a daily three mile walk or more walking its paths, “Being there”…..and thinking why is this year’s Autumn so special in my landscape garden?
We have had no killing frost here. I think that’s the answer. There have been only two evenings when the temperature dropped to 31 or 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Statistically, October 10th has been the average date for killing frosts in our Twin City area. That is nearly a month ago.
We don’t have much sunshine these days. The maples, Ohio Buckeye, Kentucky Coffeetree dropped their leaves by mid October. There are no garden shadows without sunlight. And November is Minnesota’s most cloudy month, meaning that in the landscape garden there is no shade from the major trees by late October, except from oaks. If there is no sunlight, there is no shade, and with no killing frost, color at ground level to small tree level is not only still displayed, but not visually damaged.
Most of all, this color can be seen from left to right and right to left in its entirety. No killing frost allows many garden perennials to extend their bloom, no longer in mass but as high lights and small groups. Their foliage, led by the chartreuse, yellow, gold, and orange of large hosta clumps throughout the grounds, many floppy, still display a coloring never before seen in such quantity during the growing season. Some hostas, such as June and El Nino, are still in their summer season form and color.
The fire colors of the major barberries and the maroons of the colored ninebarks, velvet cloak and grace smokebushes and white oaks in the distance, and all of the seed pods, blackened dead or golden brown, the blue from late summer blooming geraniums and reds from fothergilla, my annually pruned red oak at the back door entry to my chocolate brown-red sided house is nearly beyond inspiring.
Then I walk my paths and notice a large clump of Korean lilac , whose autumn color beauty I haven’t seen for many years……a color of soft, dusty, pink, tan, rust, orange all blendings on leaves the size and appearance of butterflies resting enmasse on the lilac’s autumn ’twigs’.
Yet, no matter how beautiful the colors of this scenery I have described may be in anyone’s eyes, they are insignificant without the most important color and collection of plants to glorify the setting……the greens of our evergreen conifers, from ground covers to magnificent trees. It is they who are now entering our Minnesota garden world dominating its beauty until mid May every year, that command its scenes.
Until this week, the most inspired I have ever been by my landscape garden was in early February some nine years ago, at 3:30 AM in a light snowfall of large snowflakes sparkling from a full moon peeking through the cloud cover.
I was to go to a colleague’s wedding in Hawaii…..and I thought no place in the world could be more beautiful than the scene I was leaving. I went to the wedding in Maui. Everything was beautiful, but not as beautiful as that morning.
Nor is the color of today’s display, but it is its equal.
Use your own imagination, fellow Minnesotans. What setting without color could be as or more beautiful than this year’s extended, special Autumn, in Winter? Picture it yourself.
I doubt it could be a garden scene without the beautiful forms of our Northern conifers and silhouettes of what they enframe on a moonlit evening graced by huge sparkling snowflakes.
The most important plants in our Northern landscape gardens are the evergreen conifers!!!
Winter is our longest landscape season…..as long as Spring, Summer and Autumn put together.