I was sitting in a rehearsal today thinking about what music and flowers have in common. They’re both beautiful (mostly) and they have the power to make people happier; I also enjoy having both in my life. I was listening to our piano soloist, André Laplante, playing the Grieg piano concerto; I was mesmerized by his phrasing and his sensitive touch on the piano. I have the same feeling when I walk out into the Tranquil Garden (or any garden) when flowers are in bloom. I’m carried away with the enjoyment of being surrounded by beauty. I’m extremely fortunate to be in a position to listen to great soloists (not the least of whom play in my orchestra every week) live, on stage, not twenty feet away. I’m also lucky to have a wonderful garden that I can work in, nurture, and enjoy all the summer long.
Did I mention lavender? Oh, yes, I was thinking about my previous post where I talked about pruning perennials. When I was in the garden yesterday I looked at my lavender plants and remembered that they can be quite puzzling for a novice gardener. They look as dead as anything in the spring, completely grey, etc.; but, looks are deceiving. They will regenerate and it’s better not to prune them back very much. A little trim is okay, but wait and see what little shoots start to come before you give up on those dead-looking branches. The same goes for thyme; but I’m not sure about sage. I’m going to wait and see on my sage plant. It looks pretty dreadful, but I can’t remember whether it will produce new leaves on the old branches or on new growth. Better safe than sorry.
I decided to get in there and risk trampling on the still somewhat damp earth because I wanted to prune a big branch off the lilac tree that was damaged and sagging. I think the heavy snow did a number on a few of the trees. In the front yard one of my cedars is sagging in a similar way. I also raked some leaves off the front beds to see what was coming up underneath. I probably should have left them there for compost, but I couldn’t resist. It’s so much fun to see the little heads of the perennials and bulbs coming up.
Another good chore for the early spring is to pull grass, creeping charlie and other weeds out that might be growing in your flower beds where you don’t want them. It’s much easier to do this before the plants really get going. Grass tends to get a head start on growth compared to many plants, so yank out as much as you can by the roots. I’m actually thinking I might have to dig out entire beds of perennial phlox because there’s so much grass growing in it. Sigh! I might have to cut back the periwinkle pretty aggressively this spring too. That stuff is about to take over!
I probably whetted your appetite for piano music so I’m going to find some André Laplante for your listening pleasure.
Here’s a piece by Ravel: “Alborado del Gracioso” played by Laplante. What a master!