Thursday, November 22, 2012
Thanksgiving Day is a balmy, warm day here in the Midwest. I'm spending time with family in the Elgin, IL area, where I lived for a couple decades. Everything is familiar and yet totally different.
I have the opportunity to walk through a garden I established nearly 25 years ago and see that which remains.
The Boston ivy still covers the southern stone face of the house; trimmed back several times, but never obliterated when it was realized how it cools the exposed dark stone face.
The green ash I nurtured and which grew to 30' tall has fallen victim to storms and dry weather, as has the Calgary pear planted in the hellstrip by the city, the parent of my current smokebush-- gone, and a 'White Profusion' butterfly bush that had reached nearly as great proportions, also gone.
What remains? A holly grafted to have both the Blue Boy and Girl on the same bush, a green yew topiaried into a perfect 8' tall ball (that pre-dated me by 40 years), the akebia quinata, a French lilac, the two walnuts, a sweet autumn clematis.
Surprisingly, a 40' Chinese elm, invasive by anyone's standard, has made the hell strip its own. Transplanted out of the real garden space as a seedling on the tip of my shovel, nearly 25 years ago. It has surpassed the typical street tree life span by three times. It survives the crazy utility cutting crews, drought, wind storms, and 50,000 cars a day car exhaust in an area where more and more street trees have succumbed.
Yanked out? The privet hedge, which was never as nice as the carefully manicured short privet hedge in my current yard. The one here never received enough sunlight.
Of the perennials, the big winners are the hosta, daylilies, and 'Autumn Joy' sedum.
The gardens are no where near as exuberant. In the spring, I have heard that the tulips have perennialized and sometime put up a show 500-strong.
This garden is a garden without a garden, but a garden still.