Poetry and Gardening

Musings from the days of a creative writer/gardener with a true appreciation for nature, meditation, and poetry.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Amaryllises and Pots: Different Types of Gardens

Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to be in three museums within the span of two days. Eye candy. Heart fulfilling. Brain expanding. Nothing like a gray, rainy day in a light-filled space filled with great art. Surprisingly, both art museums (the North Carolina Museum of Art and the Nasher Museum at Duke University) filled their outside space with "gardens" of sculptures. I've already talked about the one at NC Museum of Art, but the one at the Nasher is just as impressive.

Mark Hewitt, a North Carolina based potter (we have GREAT potters in this state), has created some extremely large, beautifully fired pieces that combine the grace of symmetrical design with the unique salt glazes he can obtain in his firing process. Each one has small details (like touches of cobalt blue color in impressed squares) that draw you to examine them closer. But what is best about his work is that the arrangement of pots in a grassy outdoor setting creates a type of garden element that is both permanent and changing. With each shift of light, the glazes take on a varying shade and appear to shimmer like the tones of a mountain lake. I walked away wanting at least two of his pieces in my backyard woodland garden.

The other garden story that has happened this week is that my amaryllis bulbs have bloomed, and they are one of the best gifts I get from the earth every year. I've carried my pink and white amaryllis bulbs with me from house to house throughout the past twenty years. They started in Florida, where everyone told me they wouldn't grow in the hot summer weather. The flowers not only bloomed, but they were so large that people driving by would literally stop and ask me what they were. Shell pink with throats that appear coated in diamonds, my amaryllis are hardy, disease-free, and long-lasting. The only thing I don't like about them is that they're not year-round. I'm sure you'll agree that they are among the most gorgeous flowers I have published on this blog.

We have had a lot of rain lately, so both the back and front gardens are blooming and healthy. I'm hoping to go to a garden center this weekend with my daughter to find some plants that can deal with hot and dry weather since I think that's what we're heading towards, but for now, I leave you with this poem.


Once, when I wandered in the woods alone,

An old man tottered up to me and said,

“Come, friend, and see the grave that I have made

For Amaryllis.” There was in the tone

Of his complaint such quaver and such moan

That I took pity on him and obeyed,

And long stood looking where his hands had laid

An ancient woman, shrunk to skin and bone.

Far out beyond the forest I could hear

The calling of loud progress, and the bold

Incessant scream of commerce ringing clear;

But though the trumpets of the world were glad,

It made me lonely and it made me sad

To think that Amaryllis had grown old.

----Edwin Arlington Robinson