I don’t claim to speak for gardener’s as a group, but I suppose that like me, many are fascinated by the beauty of simple things, today perhaps the tiniest violet (below), considered a weed by many, but richly colored and beautiful enough that the gardener momentarily forgets the woes of this world. There are plenty of green leafed violets in the weedy lawn that are tolerated, though not loved, but this lovely dark leafed violet was planted years ago, somewhere, I forget where, and it has scattered itself around this end of the garden. Never is it obtrusive, nor does it aggressively invade beyond its welcome. Occasionally, a clump appears in a crevice between boulders that border a patio. Perfect.
There are a few benches and several small patios in the garden that were constructed, not to entertain our few visitors, but to serve as points to linger, to contemplate, and now more than ever the gardener must have pleasant distractions.
I am often fascinated by flowers or foliage, but I’m also captivated by the antics of birds and squirrels that are seen in abundance, and marvel as tiny frogs leap for safety as I pass by. Over the weekend I lounged on the patio closest to the house, bleary eyed for the moment, lost in thoughtlessness but admiring new growth of Solomon’s Seals (above) just poking above ground. Cardinals hopped from branch to branch between Japanese maples that border the stone patio, and in front of me is a crudely constructed stone path that runs alongside a stream lined with moss covered stones.
The shimmering water and richness of the bright green moss was interrupted by movement, a cat, I thought for a moment, since neighbors’ cats constantly prowl the garden and one overly friendly white cat is now a regular visitor. But then I was startled to see a red coated, well fed fox, a husky fellow that my wife and I have admired from the kitchen window in recent weeks. I suppose I saw the fox before it saw me. It strolled around the turn in the path heading onto the patio, ten feet away from my comfortable chair. Startled, I managed a yell and a forceful stomp, and fortunately the fox had the wits to turn tail and scurry off, perhaps more frightened than I was at the moment.
And while confrontations with potentially dangerous wildlife are not everyday occurrences, there is more to enjoy in the garden besides flowers.