Monday, May 19, 2008

My Garden Shall Wear Purple

Allium and wild columbine

Lambs ears and purple garden phlox

Crane's bill geranium


Cool bright May days have been kind to my garden run wild. The past week has been filled with shades of purple. The giant allium, related to chives and onions, are blooming where their seeds fell last year. The Ajuga is sending up purple spires from burgundy rosettes along the gravel path, and the beautiful hanging flowers of the columbine seem to be making a bid to take over every spare spot. The last of the grape hyacinths the there, and the ancient lilacs still scent the morning. Under the tree the cranes bill geraniums are at their best, before they grow so tall and lanky they must be cut back. There are the periwinkle stars of vinca on the hill by the driveway, and the pansies are thriving in the spring cool weather. In the front of the house where there is plenty of sun, the creeping phlox is coming into its own, while the cat mint already needs pruning.

I posted this poem by Marge Piercy before, but the spring palette in my garden makes me want to revisit it..

Colors passing through us
by Marge Piercy

Purple as tulips in May, mauve
into lush velvet, purple
as the stain blackberries leave
on the lips, on the hands,
the purple of ripe grapes
sunlit and warm as flesh.

Every day I will give you a color,
like a new flower in a bud vase
on your desk. Every day
I will paint you, as women
color each other with henna
on hands and on feet.

Red as henna, as cinnamon,
as coals after the fire is banked,
the cardinal in the feeder,
the roses tumbling on the arbor
their weight bending the wood
the red of the syrup I make from petals.

Orange as the perfumed fruit
hanging their globes on the glossy tree,
orange as pumpkins in the field,
orange as butterflyweed and the monarchs
who come to eat it, orange as my
cat running lithe through the high grass.

Yellow as a goat’s wise and wicked eyes,
yellow as a hill of daffodils,
yellow as dandelions by the highway,
yellow as butter and egg yolks,
yellow as a school bus stopping you,
yellow as a slicker in a downpour.

Here is my bouquet, here is a sing
song of all the things you make
me think of, here is oblique
praise for the height and depth
of you and the width too.
Here is my box of new crayons at your feet.

Green as mint jelly, green
as a frog on a lily pad twanging,
the green of cos lettuce upright
about to bolt into opulent towers,
green as Grand Chartreuse in a clear
glass, green as wine bottles.

Blue as cornflowers, delphiniums,
bachelors’ buttons. Blue as Roquefort,
blue as Saga. Blue as still water.
Blue as the eyes of a Siamese cat.
Blue as shadows on new snow, as a spring
azure sipping from a puddle on the blacktop.

Cobalt as the midnight sky
when day has gone without a trace
and we lie in each other’s arms
eyes shut and fingers open
and all the colors of the world
pass through our bodies like strings of fire.


Teri C said...

Beautiful and gorgeous!!

Rebecca said...

Wonderful photos! What are the tiny flowers in the second photo?