Why Foxglove Corner?

20150730_125643Once upon a time – about five years ago – my garden had a foxglove year.

Has your garden ever decided that this year one particular species of flower will do exceedingly well? Not kinda well or very well but sensationally well. It’s like you hit the jackpot of that particular species that year.

Five years ago for me it was foxgloves. For no reason I can fathom foxgloves grew and flourished all over my garden. I had foxgloves in every corner, foxgloves across the back, foxgloves standing sentry at every corner of the house. I was overwhelmed with foxgloves.

I wanted them to last forever. They were so glorious, such an improvident splurge of pink. Bees loved them and it  was then I realized that bees have to completely disappear inside the flower to reach the pollen. I’d see a bee then it would be gone, only to reappear a few moments later to continue its task.

There were so many bees appearing and disappearing that I thought I might set up as a sort of bee traffic cop. “You, the bee that just arrived, over to the left, and start at the bottom, then work upwards.”

“You, start on the tall foxglove over there, but watch out for the big bee half way up – you can’t see him right now but he’s been working the stem for the last ten minutes.”

Somehow they managed their own system without my assistance. There was no bee quarreling and the plants stood still and tall, allowing their pollen to be harvested.

I thought with all this pollination there would be even more foxgloves the following year, but no. A few grew, but no glorious excess. However, I had already named my garden “Foxglove Corners”. The year of the foxglove is permanently etched in my memory.

With time, of course, even that splendiferous display faded. The flowers died. I pulled the plants up and consigned them to the compost. I wished that glory could have lasted forever.

But glory that lasts for ever is no longer glory – it becomes standard issue. You see a beautiful rose and it leaves you breathless with its perfection. So you go to a display of the local rose society and you see hundreds of perfect roses. Rose perfection becomes standard issue. You go home and realize that your own roses are nice but a long way short of perfection. The magic has vanished.

I believe that nature occasionally gives us a glimpse of her magic. When I was a child my grandfather would once in a while open up his big old-fashioned watch and show me the workings ticking away. It was like magic to me, so much happening in such a tiny space.

Once in a while nature allows us a peek at her magic. If you spend time in your garden you increase the odds of seeing the magic – you’re around it more and you become sensitized to it.

Sometimes it’s big, flamboyant magic, like a garden full of pink foxgloves. Sometimes it’s tiny magic, like a hummingbird bathing. It’s not woo-woo magic. It’s magic like someone lifted a corner of an invisible curtain and you alone were able to see what lies behind it.

I was privileged to have my foxgloves for a whole summer. ‘Foxglove Corner’ keeps the magic alive for me.

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