Monday, October 17, 2011

Thoughts Inspired by the Back Door Butler

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.
~Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

A copy of The English Garden Magazine and flowers brighten the otherwise dark color

In the age of self-service and attached garages with automatic openers, it is the seldom-used bar near the garage entry that serves as our butler. Turning the corner from away from home duties to back at home, on its surface the welcome spirit of reading materials and flower arrangements is laid our for our return.

Stems of  Julia Child, Betty Boop, Pink Flower Carpet Roses turn a service area into a welcoming entry. Red valerian plumes pop out with the flourish of a feather pen. A mystery mauve rose is like a fairy godmother. In her nameless state, her goodness will not be denied.

A plume of red valerian provides a playful flourish.
This lusciously plummy number was given a chance to finish her apprenticeship in the garden,  even though her early years were filled with disease and straggly performance. In her youth, the mystery rose bloomed but once a year; and that I think she did only because she sensed the spade and trash can were coming for her. 

Our mystery rose had few things to recommend her. While experience with the frequency of an eclipse- her bodacious blooms are bathed in the most heavenly scent. The intensity of these two qualities saved her life. She lived long enough to try a move to a different part of the garden stage.  She spread her arms and flourishes. If this rose were an actress, she grew up to be a Helen Mirren.

Outside, it is bragging weather. 68 °degrees. 66% humidity. This time of year the sun sets for early, a mercy for those of us who spend the day in the garden doing just one more thing before we head in. To cook. To eat. To read. To write. To do a bit of housework. But mostly, to dream of the next day in the garden.


  1. Oh Lydia, when I think back to my beautiful roses at my home in Torrance, I miss them so. I have one yellow rose bush that gets just enough summer sun to bloom a little. The rose tree planted in the container that you gave me advice on is thriving again. Still w/only the two, it's not enough. Suffice to say, I have so much shade most of the days that I don't have much color. Suggestions other than impatients?


  2. Good Day Judy-

    Just a couple thoughts on shade color-

    pansies and violas, cyclamen, clivia and abutillon. A newer favorite of mind is Iris Nada- they look like little white butterflies hovering over the light green sword shaped leaves.

  3. GORGEOUS Pictures of Exquisite Flowers...! Lydia---you have the true Green Thumb, PLUS all the love of everything in your garden---It is no wonder they florish...!!!

  4. You captured the rose in your story so perfectly--full, lush, passionate, and beautiful!

  5. Ah, yes, the old put-the-shovel-next-to-the-under-performing-rose trick. Usually works pretty well in my garden. Maybe you need to sink that spade in next to your rose for a little extra "encouragement." Betty Boop is such a fun rose, isn't it? And your Julia Child is glorious. Mine isn't getting enough sun, so it's struggling a little.


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