Random Images From My Shrubbery

Every three months I take a week off and inevitably my clients ask me — somewhat fatuously, I can’t help noting — “where I am going to go.” “Out back,” I say.

I have outgrown all desire to put my fate in the hands of random strangers and reverted to the disposition of my youngest years, when the layers of differently colored soil strata in the vacant lot behind my house suggested an infinite universe of possibilities. I like my little plot of ground, full of species that I could not begin to catalog.

I spent yesterday and today wrestling the overgrowth, assisted part of the time by sweated teenage labor (it’s amazing what kind of  dedication you can get for a few bucks an hour and a big bowl of raspberries).  Every spring brings a new adventure and there is a long way to go, but as of last evening I can at least report with delight that the bats are back. Dusk is a good moment for my little jungle.

These are on the same bush

At some point, my white azalea cross-pollinated with the pink ones a short distance away. The result is eclectic and original.

I am grateful for the opportunity these living things offer me to work in the open air until my back locks up. I don’t know if I can explain it or if you had to be there.


17 thoughts on “Random Images From My Shrubbery

  1. Azaleas – how beautiful. I love seeing photos of other’s gardens from states that aren’t in the high desert. We are heading into major bloom time here in Idaho now. My garden is full of yellow and orange flower bearing plants. Love the feeling I get when I look out the window and see the oenothera blooming! Thank you!

    • I’ve become partial to orange flowers, though my yard says it doesn’t want any right now. There’s a place I pass on my travels with a slope of orange pansies and a little bower of citrus-colored roses at the top. The homeowner is probably wondering if I’m a stalker because I stand there and look.

  2. Bats infested our turn-of-the-century frame house in Pennsylvania every year when I was growing up. I don’t really want to tell you how my parents got rid of them.

    When we first moved to Illinois (our first year here) we had a bat in the house. My daughter (I swear to god, SP, that you would like her, though she is still something of child) remembered that she had learned at the Museum of Natural History that bats hate light and loud noise. Our solution: we turned on all the lights in the house, except in one bedroom. And in that room, we opened the window and removed the screen. Then, we played loud rock-n-roll music throughout the house. (I remember that you hate rock-n-roll, Sled, but, look here, it has its uses.) By morning, the bat was gone.

    Just give me old-time rock-n-roll…

    And we didn’t even have to “stun” it with a tennis racket, throw a towel on top of it, and then pick it up throw it outside, as my parents had taught me.

    Now, your reluctance to put your fate in the hands of random strangers reminds me of John Mortimer’s description of his father in Voyage Round My Father. He (the father) used to holler, evidently (and we now quote him):

    “Nothing narrows the mind like foreign travel. Stay at home, that’s the best way to learn about the world.”

    Happy digging!

    • I’ve heard of the tennis racket method; it may have been the origin of batminton.

      I tried that traveling thing, Jenny, believe me. But you have to have a certain amount of money and clout to avoid being utterly dependent on the goodwill of people who are probably delighted at the chance to stick it to other human beings with impunity.

      I didn’t even have to get out of the US to be treated like dirt by a succession of airline employees between the West Coast and here, abandoned in two airports with fifty-seven stitches in my gut (the surgeon had been good enough to inform me) to get my own luggage to the the connecting flight gate IN A BIG HURRY, and smarted off at by counter agents when I was the last person in the terminal trying forgodsake to get help finding the people who were supposed to be picking me up. Same trip, same gut full of stitches.

      I never want to be in some part of the world where no one knows me and I don’t speak the language, having an experience like that. Or sitting on a train for five hours when the trip was supposed to take two, or presented with a rental car I can’t drive, or thrown out of a hotel for a tow-truck convention and stranded by the “best buddy” of a traveling companion who was supposed to rescue us and decided to go shopping instead.

      Nope, nope, nope. Maybe some day fate will make me rich and I will be able to pay people to keep life from being hell away from my own home; till then, I don’t care how broadening travel is supposed to be, I’m not paying to suffer.

  3. I know exactly what you mean about why it feels so good to be out in the garden in Springtime. Impossible to explain, you either get it or you don’t, I think.

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