O the green things growing, the green things growing,
The faint sweet smell of the green things growing! ~Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (English poet)
Profuse rain and warm sunny days have turned the world green. Plants grew a foot overnight and the tender veil of new leaves in the spring woods was suddenly transformed into a verdant velvet curtain. O the green things growing indeed.
I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration . . . ~D. H. Lawrence
In a few weeks, flowers will fill the garden beds but for now, they are lush islands of leaves with a few sparks of floral color. Not all of the foliage is green though – deep reds, bright golds and warm bronzes have come into full leaf as well.
There are a few bright spots of contrasting colors as spring flowers give way to the early summer blooms of alliums and flowering shrubs. (Click on any photo to see a larger image)
Deutzia ‘Chardonnay Pearls’
Azalea near the garden gate
White azalea flower
Variegated Weigela flower
Some of the perennials have begun to bloom, bridging the floral gap between spring and summer.
Columbine ‘Wiliam Guinness’
Japanese fern ‘Regal Red’
Geranium ‘Joan Baker’
Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Album’
Geum x ‘Peach Daiquiri’
In a few days, the garden will change again as the roses and peonies and foxglove add their drama to the scene, but for now I will treasure the blessing of green things growing.
Chiaroscuro – Italian for the play of shadow and light, most often referring to tonal relationships in visual art (Wikipedia)
Walking through a garden or a forest is a much different experience than looking at it from afar. When seen from a vantage point, no matter how beautiful a view, only your eyes see the beauty before you and you are separated from it – it and you. But walking in it and through it, that is a different experience altogether. You and it become a “we” – fused together by a play of shadow and light, transient shifts of color and tone that enfold you as a part of nature’s spectral ballet.
Chiaroscuro is a term that painters used to describe the use of shadow and light to create the illusion of three dimensionality on a two dimensional plane. Photographers embraced it as a reminder that they were photographing light, not things. As I walked through the garden this week, each step became an experience of shadow and light. Every plant and flower took on a golden glow, filtered through the autumn leaves above. Standing below a fiery maple tree became a transcendent experience of standing in liquid gold; the deep umber and burgundy hues of light traveling through oak leaves captivated me for long moments. The beauty of autumn is transitory, all the more treasured for that short period of time when we look upward at a canopy of color that is unmatched in any other season.
Here is French singer Juliette Greco singing Les Fuielles Morte (Autumn Leaves) in French in a live concert in Berlin (1967) in a simple arrangement of voice and guitar. Sartre said of her that she had “. . . millions of poems in her voice.” (Wikipedia)
Where there is much light, the shadow is deep. ~ Geothe
For a translation of the original French lyrics (by Jacques Prevert) to Les Feuilles mortes/Autumn Leaves (not the Johnny Mercer English lyrics) – see this translation by Coby Lubliner.