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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Details to delight

Sometimes one is too busy living life to document it, and the end-of-semester rush is like that, even for those of us working largely from home as I have been these last few weeks. But all the papers have now been read and duly commented-upon, and all student grades are now posted in the online student information system, and I am taking a break before finishing the talk I will be giving at a conference on the 29th. Much has been happening in the yard, as is always true of mid-spring, and my brief wanderings-with-camera have revealed details of the sort that make me happy. (Okay, so I'm easily amused.)

Physocarpus may be my favorite shrub. It has no scent to speak of, but this eastern US native is utterly indestructible and has beautiful bark, foliage, blooms, and seed pods. 

 This little beauty is the cultivar "Dart's Gold," growing alongside our driveway. Until this week, I had never really noticed the tiny red centers of the flowers.
The dark-leaved cultivars"Coppertina" (l) and "Summer Wine" (r) grow in the hell strip along the street in front of our house.

For scent, our native sweetshrub, calycanthus floridus has enough to make up for its neighbors' lack. This is the cultivar "Athens," blooming next to the screened porch. (One must allow oneself some decadent pleasures, and the scent of sweetshrub is one of them.)    

But my (perhaps) favorite detail of the year is on a plant that I was talked into acquiring by the owner of a native plant nursery.
I had visited the nursery intending to bring home gray dogwood to start a hedge in our shady area but of course came home with various other plants, some of which I had never heard of. One of these was acer pennsylvanicum, striped maple, an understory tree generally grown for its attractive bark. Our specimen is still only about three feet high, so its bark isn't terribly exciting yet, but I've fallen in love with its crinkled foliage and tiny blossoms.
And I do mean tiny.

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