remember, nothing lasts (part 2)

REMEMBER, NOTHING LASTS. I have mentioned this before, and probably will not shut up about it anytime soon (unless forces bigger than me silence me for good). Taking my instruction from the tradition of Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan, a reverence for the ephemeral nature of things, I mark each major passing in the garden, each fallen hero, and not just each arriving bloom. Recently it was the giant rhodie out back who said farewell for at least another year. To make its point, it drops its lavender flowers in the garden pool beneath, creating a serendipitous color play with the midribs of the Japanese painted ferns at the water’s edge. Nothing lasts, which makes it all the more precious, no?

Categoriestrees & shrubs
  1. margaret says:

    Welcome, Jim, and yes, Tibetan prayer flags, with all their shredding threads (each a prayer) flying off in the wind in someone else’s direction. I have miles of them. Just cannot seem to help myself. You?

  2. Jim says:

    Nothing lasts. Might as well Cultivate. Were those Tibetan prayer flags I noticed in one of the pictures in the NYT article Thursday?

  3. Michelle says:

    When my children were young I would take them out to the lilac bushes and have them smell them before the flowers were gone. I would let them know that it would be the last chance until next year. If we could have lilacs everyday would we appreciate them as much?

  4. Ken Smith says:

    When leaves and needles fell in the fall, we kids had the chore to rake them. It seemed like such an awful task; but, the highlight was jumping in the biggest pile. Then when dad came home he would supervise and let us light the matches to burn them. The cool fall air would mingle with smoke. We would huddle up to feel the flame’s warmth. Standing next to the smoldering piles, we shifted with the wind to avoid the eye-smoke. That is the closest memory I have of celebrating or memorializing the seasonal passages. Good memories are gifts.

  5. Andrew Ritchie says:

    This post has me thinking about seasons and geography. My partner is originally from Puerto Rico, which basically enjoys one endless tropical summer. And while things certainly bloom and fade there, it doesn’t seem quite as ‘ephemeral’ as it does up here in the northeast. I feel quite blessed to have seasons, and to enjoy the spiritual effect they have on me…

    And the seasons
    They go round and round
    And the painted ponies go up and down
    We’re captive on a carousel of time
    We can’t return
    We can only look behind
    From where we came
    And go round and round and round
    In the circle game
    – Joni

  6. Matthew says:

    You’ve captured the mood perfectly, Margaret, which the Japanese call “wabi:” beauty in the transient and impermanent, beauty in sadness. And this is why I find your garden writings so compelling, for you always reveal the essence of living and life.

  7. margaret says:

    @Andrew: Welcome to A Way to Garden, and I am flattered at your words. I write this in the surgical waiting room “wifi hotspot” while my sister has an operation, and so all this…the range of emotion this week from Times article to this very minute…seem very exaggerated and strange. Like you say, the essence of living and life.
    As Andrew so aptly “sings” in his comment…we go round and round. Yikes.
    Or as Ken says in his: “Good memories are gifts.” Today I am filled w/old ones and new ones.

  8. tom zabriskie says:

    I cannot help but respond to a lovely name: mine is Thomas Roach Zabriskie – my mother’s name was Margaret Roach; her mother an immigrant from Wales to Utah when joining the Mormon Church. I live in New York, not a Mormon, but very very proud of my name ( my grandfather was Thomas Roach. ( I am 68 )

  9. margaret says:

    @Tom: Mormons or otherwise, all are welcome if they share the spirit of the garden. I am touched to hear of our shared lineage. My grandmother was Margaret Roach, from Southport, England, and over to NYC she came at the turn of the 20th century.
    @Cheryl: Welcome, and thank you for the kindnesses. If you really want to live my dream you could come help mow today ’cause I have fallen a bit behind. ;-)

  10. Cheryl says:

    I’m a new reader due to Anne Raver’s article in yesterday’s NYT. Your garden is beautiful and I’m enjoying your blog.You are living my dream.

  11. Terri Clark says:

    As I attack an invasive campanula in my front garden, surrounded by my scented “madame” old fashioned roses, I savour every moment as they are so ephemeral. By weeding under their feet at this moment in their short-lived season, I can inhale their glorious scent undone all around me. I will be sending your sister good thoughts all the way from the balmy west coast.

  12. Dee/reddirtramblings says:

    I think that is so true. That’s one of the reasons I love so to garden. I love watching each passing phase until the end of fall, which is glorious in Oklahoma, btw. We get the cooler temps after the hot summer, and all the mulching was worth it.

    I love when the garden reawakens in the spring. That particular color of green against the dark earth.

  13. margaret says:

    Hey Terri, Dee, Kenn…familiar faces all. Glad to have you here. And thanks for the good wishes.
    Update at 2pm-ish, sister got out of surgery and we are all relieved at the good news.

  14. margaret says:

    Oh my, the week just got even wilder. My friend and longtime blogging expert Sarah McColl wrote a VERY sweet story about me today on Pink of Perfection. You can learn about some stuff Anne Raver didn’t tell you there…

  15. GardenGuyKenn says:

    With each passing of another bloom I ask myself, “why? why can’t you last just a little bit longer?” Within a moment, I answer my own question. “Because.. it’s the way it’s suppose to be.” Cherish and appreciate what you have when you experience it. Love the memory of the joy it brought to you until it returns next year to fulfill you once again.
    You and your sister are in my thoughts today.

  16. margaret says:

    Welcome, JimD. On both counts, the beauty of wisteria carpets and the early heat, I agree whole-heartedly. Come again soon.

  17. JimD says:

    I’m in northeastern Pennsylvania, so we share a similar climate. One of my favorite things to look at this past spring was the wisteria blossoms after they had fallen to the ground creating a very fleeting pink carpet. I did not like the way the 2 hot weeks forced all of my irises to bloom and then turn brown before I could appreciate them.

  18. Carol, May Dreams Gardens says:

    Yes, in the garden everyday we see the last of something, like the blooms on the rhododendrons, but we also experience the beginning of something else to take its place.

    I read the blog article on Pink of Perfection, well done!

  19. margaret says:

    Good morning, Carol and Curtis…I see you are up, too. So let’s go outside and see what’s next: One door closes, another opens.

  20. margaret says:

    Welcome, Nancy. As for picking deadheads (as they are called) off a rhodie, yes, the theory is that then the plant can put its energy into new growth vs. seed production. But mine still flower really completely even when I don’t do the deadheading, so I do as you hint at: Spend the time where it will make things look cleaner, for my enjoyment, but otherwise skip this task. I wrote about this recently in our Urgent Garden Question Forums.

  21. Nancy says:

    Margaret, What a wonderful discovery when I read the New York Times on Thursday! Congratulations on finding a great opportunity to do what you have a passion for and are willing to share with lucky readers. I thought of your beautiful photo of your rhodie flowers in your pond as I was out this a.m. picking off the spend flower “remains” (for lack of a better word) on my rhodies . . . had been told that task produces more flowers for the following year. True or False? I do this yearly to the bushes directly around the house, however two much larger ones remain and I am unsure of any difference other than looking cleaner. Thanks!

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